By Samuel Adegoke
A notice of any allegation in writing alleging gross misconduct on the part of the Deputy-Governor. This notice must be signed by not less than one-third of the members of the State House of Assembly is presented to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
Gross misconduct is defined by the Constitution as ‘…a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.’
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly must within 7 days, serve the Deputy-Governor of the State and each member of the State House of Assembly with a copy of the notice of allegation.
The Deputy-Governor has a right of reply (he/she does not have to reply however), and any such statement in reply to the allegation must be served on each member of the State House of Assembly.
Within 14 days of the presentation of the notice to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the State House of Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated. This motion needs to be passed by at least two-thirds majority of all members of the State House of Assembly.
If the motion fails to reach the required majority, the process immediately stops, and no further action will be taken. However, if the required majority is obtained and the motion is passed, then the Speaker of the State House of Assembly will within 7 days of the passing of the motion, request the Chief Judge of the State to appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity to investigate the allegations. The members of the Panel cannot be members of any public service, legislative house or political party.
The Panel is to report its findings within three months of being appointed. The findings will be reported to the State House of Assembly. During the proceedings of the Panel, the Deputy-Governor shall have a right to defend himself, and shall also have the right to be defended by a legal practitioner of his/her choice.
Where the Panel reports that the allegation has not been proven, there will be no further action. However, if the report is that the allegations against the Deputy-Governor have been proven, then the State House of Assembly will consider the report, and a resolution for the adoption of the report shall be moved.
For the resolution to be adopted, it must be supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all the member the State House of Assembly. Once adopted the Deputy-Governor shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.