Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, on Thursday, told the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, that parties had reached a “political solution” to the crisis of leadership rocking the state, hence his withdrawal of the appeal against the Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
This was as an Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the state capital, on Thursday, restrained the state government from inaugurating a Caretaker committee for the newly created 33 Local Development Council Areas (LCDAs) and the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
Meanwhile, the Ondo State Executive Council, on Thursday, after several months, held its meeting after the political crisis among members was resolved and presided over by the deputy governor.
The deputy governor had dragged the state assembly, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and others to court over moves to remove him from office following alleged acts of gross misconduct.
He however, secured an interim order from the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, restraining the assembly from initiating impeachment proceedings against him.
But, the assembly, citing lack of jurisdiction, appealed the order of the court and prayed it to set aside the order of the Federal High Court.
Thus, at the resumed hearing on Monday, the speaker, represented by Dr Remi Olatubora, SAN, informed the court that he had the authority of his client to withdraw the appeal.
“Parties to this dispute have found political solution to the problem. They have sign an Armistice,” he said, adding: “On behalf of my client, we are here to enforce our own part of the armistice to withdraw the appeal.”
The senior lawyer informed the three-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani that the motion was “in the interest of peace and in furtherance of the agreement to withdraw the appeal.”
According to Olatubora, the instruction to withdraw the appeal was given to him on November 29, while the Notice of Withdrawal was filed November 30.
In their separate responses, lawyers to the respondents who confirmed receipts of the motion for withdrawal, however, told the appellate court that they were not opposed to the withdrawal.
In a short ruling, Justice Tsammani held that, “the appeal having been withdrawn, is hereby dismissed.”
Meanwhile, the assembly, had Tuesday confirmed the appointment of interim management committee chairmen and vice chairmen for the 18 local governments areas and newly created 33 Local council development areas of the state.
Granting a prayer for interlocutory injunction by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the court restrained the inauguration of any person or persons as caretaker committee in any local government or local council development area pending the determination of the substantive suit.
In a suit NO: AK/390/2023, the party through its lawyer, Oluseye Olujimi, sought “an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the defendants from inaugurating any person or persons not democratically elected as member(s) of caretaker committees to administer the affairs of Local government councils and local council development areas in Ondo State pending the determination of the interlocutory Injunction in this suit.”
Joined as defendants in the order were Ondo State Governor, the State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the Assembly and Attorney General of the state.
The Presiding Judge, Yemi Fasanmi, after hearing Counsel to the Claimant ordered that the application was granted as prayed.
Justice Fasanmi restrained the respondents from inaugurating any person or persons not democratically elected as members of caretaker committees to administer the affairs of Local government councils and local council development areas in Ondo State pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction in this suit.
Nevertheless, the EXCO meeting was held at the executive chamber of the governor’s office, Alagbaka, Akure, and presided over by Aiyedatiwa, who returned to the state on Wednesday.
Shortly after the meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, said several issues were discussed at the meeting.
According to her, among the issues discussed was the issue of the resolutions of the crisis, which was reached at the meeting of the gladiators with President Bola Tinubu last Friday in Abuja.
“We discussed the issue of the key decision (resolutions reached at the meeting with the president) that there must be peace, that the status quo must remain, that there would be no dissolution of the exco members, that the deputy governor should write an undated letter of resignation, that the House of Assembly must not be tampered with, that the party executive must remain. We all agree to embrace peace,” she said.
Among other decisions made at the meeting, the commissioner said was the issue of distribution of palliatives to the people of the state. She confirmed that 1200 bags of rice had been distributed to the people at each of the 18 local government areas of the state while the local governments with larger populations got more.
Reacting to the alleged forgery of Governor Akeredolu’s signature, as reported on some social media platforms, the commissioner denied the allegation and warned the mischief makers to stop causing crisis in the state.
“Nobody forges the signature of Mr Governor. As at today, we have to work for the progress of the state. Those mischief makers should desist from doing so,” Ademola-Olateju warned.
Alex Enumah in Abuja and Fidelis David in Akure