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.Court injunction won’t stop your impeachment, says Ondo Assembly
A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Tuesday, restrained the Ondo State House of Assembly from impeaching the Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, over alleged gross misconduct.
Justice Emeka Nwite gave the interim order in a ruling shortly after Aiyedatiwa’s counsel, Kayode Adewusi, moved the ex-parte motion to the effect.
The judge also restrained Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu from nominating a new deputy governor and forwarding same to the lawmakers for an approval as the state’s deputy governor based on a letter of resignation purportedly authored or signed by Aiyedatiwa, pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory application.
Justice Nwite held that after listening to Adewusi, he was of the view that the interest of justice would be served by granting the application.
“Therefore, the application of the applicant succeeds,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the embattled deputy governor had, in the ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1294/2023, sued the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police and the the Department of State Services (DSS).
Others are Gov. Akeredoku, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chief Judge of Ondo State and the House of Assembly as 1st to 6th respondents respectively.
In the application dated and filed by Mr Adelanke Akinrata on Sept. 21, Aiyedatiwa sought for four reliefs.
Ruling, the judge made an order of interim injunction restraining Akeredolu, his servants or privies from harassing, intimidating, embarrassing and preventing Aiyedatiwa from carrying out the functions of his office as deputy governor of Ondo State pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory application.
He further gave an order of interim injunction restraining the state’s chief judge or any other person’s acting for or on his behalf from constituting any seven-man panel at the instance of the assembly’s speaker in respect of the complaint(s) against Aiyedatiwa.
Nwite restrained the chief judge from swearing-in any new deputy governor of Ondo State nominated by Akeredolu and the appointment approved by the speaker and state’s assembly pending the hearing and determination of the Interlocutory application.
The judge, who granted all the reliefs adjourned the matter until Oct. 9 for hearing of the motion on notice.
Earlier, Adewusi said that the application, filed on Sept. 21 was brought pursuant to Order 26, Rule 1, 2, 3 and 6 of the FHC Civil Procedure Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The lawyer said the applicant was the incumbent deputy governor, who was elected into office on October 2020, and took oath of office on Feb. 24, 2021 alongside Gov. Akeredoku.
According to him, the plaintiff has been discharging his role as deputy governor of Ondo State as assigned to him by the 3rd defendant/respondent (Akeredolu) towards the development of Ondo state.
He said a 27-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Aiyedatiwa himself was filed with a written address in compliance with the rules of the court on Sept. 21 as their argument in urging the court to grant their prayers.
“This application is that the right of the applicant as deputy governor is being infringed upon by the defendants/respondents.
“The 3rd defendant/respondent is instigating the officer of the 1st and 2nd defendants/respondents, and the 5th and 6th defendants/respondents.
“As we speak, he has been prevented from meeting, accessing the 3rd defendant)respondent on urgent matters that will allow the applicant to discharge his duty as deputy governor for the overall interest of the state,” he alleged.
The lawyer, who told the court that currently, “Ondo State is on a standstill,” alleged that the officers of the police and DSS, acting under the instruction of Akeredolu, prevented Aiyedatiwa from seeing him, even to the extent of harassing the deputy governor from meeting the governor on pending urgent matters of the state.
“There has been attempt to remove and replace him and as a law abiding citizen, he comes before your lordship as his last hope.
“We pray your lordship to grant our application in the interest of justice,” he said.
NAN reports that Aiyedatiwa had, also in another suit marked: AK/348/2023 prayed the High Court in Akure to stop the state’s house of assembly from proceeding with the impeachment proceedings against him pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed in the court on Monday.
Court injunction won’t stop your impeachment, Ondo Assembly tells Deputy Governor
Despite a court order, the Ondo State House of Assembly has said it would not be stopped from carrying out its legislative duties of investigating the allegations levelled against the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
A court had earlier issued an ex parte order halting the Assembly from impeaching the deputy governor.
But the Assembly said it can’t be stopped by the court order.
It said the impeachment notice served the Deputy Governor outlined 14 specific allegations of gross misconduct which he is required to respond within 7 days from the day of being served.
The allegations encompassed financial mismanagement, misuse of authority with potential harm to the Ondo state government, and publicized statements in the print media that tarnished the Governor’s reputation.
Speaker of the Ondo Assembly, Oladiji Olamide Adesanmi, in a statement issued Tuesday evening, September 26, said the Assembly would strictly follow due process of law as outlined in Section 188(1) – (9) of the Constitution.
According to him, “The House is not unaware of media reports that His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, has rushed to Court to stop the impeachment process. Media reports even claim he has secured an injunction from a certain Judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to halt the process.
“The House is shocked that rather than wait to be served with notice of the allegation of gross misconduct, and react to same as required by the Constitution, the Deputy Governor has been running from pillar to post and filing multiple suits in both at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court and the Ondo State High Courts in a bid to stop the legislative process.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the House is fully conscious of Section 188 (10) of the Constitution which clearly states that “No proceedings or determination of the panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
“The House has directed its team of Lawyers to investigate the purported injunction secured by the Deputy Governor and report any judicial officer who might have abused his office in granting the unconstitutional ex-parte injunction to the appropriate institution for necessary disciplinary action.
“In conclusion, the House wishes to assure the general public that it would proceed with the legislative process to a logical conclusion, but in doing so, will strictly follow the Constitutional procedures. The House will not abdicate or compromise its sacred constitutional duty to hold elected public officers accountable, particularly where there are prima facie serious allegations of corruption and abuse of power levelled against the Deputy Governor in this case.”
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