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Olaniyan kicks as ex-Oyo AGF, Lawal takes over as Makinde’s new deputy

By Seye Olumide, Rotimi Agboluaje and Moyosore Salami (Ibadan)
19 July 2022   |   4:25 am
After months of intrigues and legal tussle, including relocation of his office to an annex building and defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Oyo State House of Assembly, yesterday, announced the removal of the deputy governor...

Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola (right); Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde and his new deputy, Bayo Lawal during the swearing-in of Lawal as the new deputy governor in Ibadan… yesterday.

• Let state interest be paramount, says Makinde
• New deputy governor to supervise Housing Corporation, Justice ministry, others
• Lawal: I’ll be absolutely loyal
• Those who removed me were paid to do so, impeached deputy governor says
• Folarin, Gbolarumi, others fault removal, urge Olaniyan to appeal

After months of intrigues and legal tussle, including relocation of his office to an annex building and defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Oyo State House of Assembly, yesterday, announced the removal of the deputy governor, Rauf Olaniyan, and immediately approved Barrister Abdulroheem Adebayo Adeleke Lawal as his replacement.

In a swift move, the new deputy governor was sworn in at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan. Until his appointment, Lawal was the Executive Chairman of Oyo State Housing Corporation and a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state.

The Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office was administered by the state’s Chief Judge, Munta Abimbola, in presence of Governor Seyi Makinde; the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin; Deputy Speaker, Abiodun Fadeyi; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun; Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, Executive Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, CP Sunday Odukoya (rtd), among others.

Speaking after the swearing-in, Makinde charged his new deputy to see the position as a responsibility to deliver good governance to the people of Oyo. He also admonished Lawal to put the interest of the state first and serve Oyo diligently in his new capacity.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted him as saying that the Housing Corporation, Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency (OYSTROMA) and the Ministry of Justice will be under the supervision of the new deputy governor.

The governor said: “I want to start by welcoming our new deputy governor to the Oyo State Executive Council. I know you operated from this Exco chamber from 1999 to 2003 and I am sure a lot of things have changed between then and now.

“As we all know, you are already a part of this administration as the chairman of the Oyo State Housing Corporation. Your new position is evidence that you excelled in your role. But for us, as the saying goes, the reward for hard work is more work, and that is why we are giving you more work.

“The position is that of trust. Our masters are the people of Oyo and our responsibility is to continue to serve them to the best of our abilities and deliver good governance to them.

“Our people expect so much from us because to whom much is given, much is expected. This is the campaign season but here in Oyo, we will continue to work for the good of our people throughout this season.”

The governor added that the administration is looking forward to benefiting from the wealth of wisdom and experience of the new deputy governor, so that together, they could continue the task of moving Oyo people from poverty to prosperity.

While speaking with newsmen shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, Lawal appreciated Makinde for nominating him as his running mate for the 2023 governorship election, saying that his debt of gratitude is limitless.

He promised to remain absolutely loyal to the Constitution and Governor Makinde, while vowing not to abuse the privilege given to him as the position of deputy governor is meant to advise and assist the governor.

“This is a challenge to me as a person and to all of us in Oyo, to cooperate with our governor, with the view of moving the government forward in all ramifications.”

MEANWHILE, the sacked deputy governor, Olaniyan, has broken the silence over his impeachment by the House of Assembly following allegations of misconduct and a series of infraction levelled against him.

Speaking through his lawyer, Olaniyan faulted the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Abimbola, over the constitution of the seven-man panel that recommended his removal from office.

His lawyer, Afolabi Fashanu (SAN), alleged that the panel raised to investigate the allegations raised against him was paid to do what they did.

Describing that panel as a charade, he said it could not stand the test of time. He said it was unfortunate that the panel members allowed themselves to be compromised and used to do a dirty job.

The statement read: “The investigation by the committee set up by the Chief Judge is a charade that cannot stand the test of time. In the first instance, the Chief Judge, with respect, breached his oath of office by ignoring the service of notice of appeal and application for injunction pending appeal when he proceeded to constitute the investigation committee.

“This is against established law and practice. On the part of the panel, they were appointed and paid to do the job, which is contrary to good conscience.

“They served the Deputy Governor on Friday around 10:45a.m. and asked him to appear at 11:00a.m. We wrote to inform them that His Excellency needed time to prepare for his defence, in their desperation to do the job for which they were paid, they rejected the letter, sat on Saturday and completed their task the same day.

“Where is the fairness here? The members of the committee are supposed to be men above board. You have a Reverend father, a Jerusalem Pilgrim, and an Alhaji among them. This is a clear evidence that we are not yet ripe for democratic practice.”
A former Deputy Governor of the state, Hazeem Gbolarunmi, who contested the PDP 2023 governorship ticket with Makinde but lost and Senator Teslim Folarin, flagbearer of APC for the next governorship election faulted Olaniyan’s impeachment.

In separate telephone conversations with The Guardian, the duo said the lawmakers’ action was against the law. They urged Olaniyan to proceed to the Appeal Court, saying he has a good case before the law.

Teslim, who spoke through his aide, Yekini Olaniyi, appealed to APC members to remain calm and allow the impeachment of Olaniyan to be tested before the law.

EARLIER, the House of Assembly announced the impeachment of Olaniyan following the adoption of recommendations in the report of the seven-man panel set up to investigate allegations levelled against the deputy governor. The panel report was read by the Majority Leader, Sanjo Adedoyin.

Besides, the Assembly approved Lawal as replacement in accordance with his nomination sent by Governor Makinde for consideration.

The House, which went on a short recess after removing Olaniyan from office, reconvened at about 12:15p.m. to approve Lawal’s nomination.

The Speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin, while reading the letter from the Executive, said it was in response to an earlier letter sent by the lawmakers to the governor, dated July 18, to inform him of the removal of the deputy governor from office. The House later adjourned till July 21, 2022.