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Ondo CJ declines assembly order to probe deputy gov

The Ondo State Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, has declined the order of the state House of Assembly to set up a panel to probe the allegation of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.


The state assembly had directed the chief judge to constitute a seven-man panel within seven days to probe the deputy governor.


According Vanguard, the majority leader of the state House of Assembly, Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, said that due process would be followed in the impeachment of the deputy governor.


He said, “The House would respect the law and due process would be followed on the matter.


”No matter the hindrance, we are going to follow process.”


It was gathered that the chief judge had intimated the speaker of the assembly, Olamide Oladiji, that he would not be able to carry out the directive of the assembly until the order of an Abuja Federal High Court, which stopped the impeachment process against the deputy governor was vacated.


The chief judge position was communicated to the speaker following the expiration of the seven-day deadline handed down to him by the assembly.


A member of the assembly who spoke with Vanguard in confidence, said that the chief judge has advised the speaker “to muster concerted efforts to vacate the order of the Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Emeka Nwite, as an irreducible precondition for him to obey the Assembly’s directive”.


The assembly member said, ”The CJ has reached out to Mr. Speaker that he cannot set up a 7-member panel to probe the deputy governor as directed by the House, claiming that his hands are tied by the interim order issued by Justice Emeka Nwite, stopping the impeachment process.”


The state assembly at its plenary on October 3, ordered the chief judge to set up a 7-member panel to investigate 14 allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor within seven days.


An Akure High court had struck out the suit instituted by him challenging his impeachment by assembly.


Justice O. Akintan-Osadebay, in his ruling, declined jurisdiction to avoid conflicting verdict between Ondo High Court and Abuja Federal High Court.


Akintan-Osadebay, ruled that it was a gross abuse of court process to engage in “forum shopping, by instituting same case in Akure and Abuja High court”.


However, the deputy governor in a swift response, appealed against the ruling of the Akure court.


Also, his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, in a statement reminded the assembly that the order of the Federal high court Abuja remained in force.


Adegboruwa said that it had become necessary to emphasiae the fact that the orders of the Federal High Court, Abuja made on 26th September 2023 remain in force, valid and subsisting.


“The various orders of injunction were made pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. The motion on notice is still pending.


”It is not correct that an order of the federal high court automatically expires after fourteen days.


“This may be the case if the judge that granted the order did not direct otherwise.


“In this case, the judge directed otherwise by stating that the ORDERS will be in force until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.


“Furthermore, there are two applications filed by the defendants in the suit against the orders of the court, one by the Governor of Ondo State to set aside the orders and the other by the Ondo House of Assembly to stay execution of the orders.


”In law, an ex-parte order made pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice remains in force, valid, binding and subsisting until the said motion on notice is heard and determined.


”In any event, the pendency of the suits against the impeachment proceedings effectively tie the hands of the defendants from proceeding with or taking any step that may jeopardize the hearing of the cases on the merits. We must learn to respect the rule of law, the authority of the court and due process.”

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