Ondo State House of Assembly has set machinery in motion to impeach the state Deputy Governor, Alli Olanusi, over alleged non-performance brought about by ill health.
The Deputy Governor’s state of health was a subject of concern to his boss, Olusegun Mimiko, and other stakeholders in the state mid-way into the first tenure of the Labour Party-led government.
However, the pressure to dump the ailing Olanusi, a septuagenarian, gained momentum in the build-up to the last governorship election after Mimiko declared his intention to seek re-election in the October 20, 2012 poll.
Mimiko was allegedly approached by some leaders of the LP in the state to replace Olanusi as his running with a more vibrant and younger politician of Akoko extraction like Olanusi, to boost his chance at the poll.
But after much intrigues and politicking, Mimiko named Olanusi as his running mate for the poll at an elaborate rally at Democracy Park, Akure, to kick-start his campaigns.
But, two months after the Governor and Olanusi took oath of office on February 24, 2013, Olanusi was reportedly advised by Mimiko to resign and take a deserved rest due to his deteriorating health and lack of strength to perform his daily responsibilities.
According to a Government House source, Mimiko offered Olanusi the privilege of naming his own successor from his political group.
But the succession plan was said to have hit a brick wall after Olanusi allegedly insisted that his son should take over the position or he would rather continue and die in office.
The state of health of the Deputy Governor has continued to worsen even after several trips to an undisclosed hospital in Germany where he has been receiving treatment on the bill of the state government.
After the succession plan failed and the Supare-Akoko-born politician refused to resign, fresh moves are now in top gear to use the only constitutional option left through impeachment by the State House of Assembly to show him the way out of government, sources said.
The 71-year-old Deputy Governor was born on February 28, 1942.
Daily Independent investigation revealed that the leadership of the Assembly has been informed about the impeachment plan, while execution would be done immediately the lawmakers resume after their current recess.
However, State Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, has described the story as false, insisting that there was no rift between Mimiko and his Deputy.
In a statement on Sunday, Akinmade said there was no plan by the Governor or anybody in government to replace “an elected Deputy Governor.”
“It is on record that the late Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin and the late Chief Ade Adefarati, both former helmsmen in Ondo State, became Governors at the age of 71 and 70 respectively.
“Pa. Ajasin laid the foundation for the economic emancipation of the old Ondo State. There should be no reason therefore for the constant harassment of Alhaji Olanusi for being Deputy Governor at 71.
“In any case, impeachment processes are clearly spelt out in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). To be impeached as a Deputy Governor, one has to be convicted of gross misconduct.
“The relationship between the Deputy Governor and his principal, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, is very cordial,” the statement added.