Why I Cannot Probe Ondo Deputy Gov – CJ

Daud Olatunji

In a surprising turn of events, the impeachment process against the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has faced an unexpected obstacle. 

The state Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, has declined to respond to the request from the state House of Assembly to establish a probe panel, further complicating the proceedings.

The House of Assembly, during its plenary session last week, had directed the Chief Judge to assemble a panel to investigate allegations of gross misconduct leveled against the deputy governor, who had previously refused to respond to the notice of allegations served to him.

Reports indicate that Justice Odusola communicated his inability to establish the panel to the Assembly on Wednesday. This development hints at potential delays in the impeachment process.

The Chief Judge cited a significant reason for his decision. 

He pointed to a subsisting court’s ex parte order that restrained him from executing the Assembly’s directive. This legal constraint appears to be the chief obstacle in the proceedings.

A reliable source within the Assembly confirmed the situation, stating, “The Chief Judge has informed the Speaker that he cannot set up a seven-member panel to investigate the deputy governor, as directed by the House. 

He claims his hands are tied by the ex parte order issued by Justice Emeka Nwite, which halts the impeachment process.”

The Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, emphasized the commitment to upholding the law and due process in the matter. He declared, “No matter the hindrance, we are going to follow the process.”

This development stems from Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja, who, on September 27, issued an injunction preventing the Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment process against Aiyedatiwa. 

The order also restrained Governor Rotimi Akeredolu from nominating a new deputy governor and submitting the nomination to the lawmakers for approval until the underlying legal dispute is resolved.

Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), Aiyedatiwa’s lawyer, confirmed that Justice Nwite’s order remained in effect despite the deputy governor’s attempt to discontinue the case. 

Aiyedatiwa had initially moved to end the suit, citing the formation of a panel by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress to mediate the differences between the Ondo governor and his deputy.

It was also reported that the Ondo State High Court in Akure had, on Tuesday, dismissed a second lawsuit filed to halt the impeachment proceedings. Justice O. Akintan-Osadebay termed the suit an abuse of the court process, considering the existing case before Justice Nwite in Abuja. 

Dissatisfied with this judgment, Aiyedatiwa, through Adegboruwa, has chosen to proceed with an appeal.

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