More facts emerged Friday on why the swearing in ceremony of Justice David Olayinka Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge of Osun State slated for Friday was put on hold.....CONTINUE READING
CityMirrorNews recalls that the state Chief Judge, Adepele Ojo, was on Thursday asked by the Osun State House of Assembly to step aside to allow for an investigation into petitions against her.
Justice Afolabi, who is the next in line on the order of seniority was immediately appointed as the acting Chief Judge by the governor, Ademola Adeleke, with his swearing-in slated for Friday.
The Deputy Governor, Mr. Kola Adewusi, was directed by the Governor to perform the swearing-in ceremony.
But the medium learnt that no such event took place at the Government Secretariat in Abere on Friday.
According to sources, Adewusi was in Abuja when announcements that suspended Ojo and appointed Afolabi were made.
The Deputy Governor was however said to had arrived in the state and was in his office before the close of work on Friday.
But Afolabi was however not seen around the Governor’s Office till the close of work today.
CityMirrorNews gathered on Friday that
the NJC has been notified of the resolution of the State House of Assembly, as part of due process requirement, and therefore awaits the response of the NJC before the swearing-in ceremony of the Acting Chief Judge.
Reacting, the state commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. Kolapo Alimi, when contacted, said the event did not hold because certain procedures must be followed.
Alimi said a resolution of the House of Assembly suspending Ojo had been sent to the National Judicial Council.
He however said the swearing-in ceremony did not hold for all conditions to be fulfilled, adding that the deputy governor who was to perform the exercise was also outside Osun and would only return in the evening.
Alimi said he was unaware if Afolabi deliberately did not present himself for swearing-in.
He said, “I am unaware that the Acting CJ refused to take over. When the announcement was made, the deputy governor was out of Osun. He was in Abuja but he was instructed to carry out the function.
“As of 4pm on Friday, the Deputy Governor had not arrived in Ibadan. As we are speaking, the Deputy Governor will just be arriving the state. The deputy governor has sent the resolution of the House to the NJC informing the body of the development here. The event did not hold because we are trying to follow procedure.”
Meanwhile, The Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adewale Egbedun has justified the step aside resolution of the House against the state’s Chief Judge, affirming that House acted in accordance with provisions of Section 292 (1) (A) (1) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Olamide Tiamiyu declared that it is important to address and explain the action taken by the House regarding the recommendation to the Governor to ask the Chief Judge of Osun State to step aside.
“The unwavering commitment of the Osun Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Adewale Egbedun to upholding the Constitution and ensuring the proper functioning of the judiciary can never be over-emphasised. However, the situation at hand concerns the integrity of our judicial system and it must be safeguarded, and the principles enshrined in the Nigerian constitution must be upheld. The decision, which was reached after careful consideration and consultation, is rooted in the utmost respect for the rule of law and the principles of justice.
“Section 292(1)(a)(ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides the circumstances under which a Chief Judge can be removed from office before reaching the age of retirement. It stipulates that the Governor may remove a Chief Judge, acting on an address supported by a two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State. For ease of reference, I have reproduced the provisions of section 292 (1) (a) (ii) below:
“(1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances-
“(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State by the Governor acting on an address supported by a two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State.”
“In line with this constitutional provision, the Osun State House of Assembly passed a resolution, supported by a two-thirds majority, recommending to the Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke, that the Chief Judge be requested to step aside pending the outcome of the investigation of the allegations against the Chief Judge by both the House of Assembly and the National Judicial Commission. This recommendation comes after careful consideration of a petition referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, Public Petitions and Legal Matters, and the National Judicial Commission for investigation. Indeed, the two-thirds majority support from the House of Assembly signifies the collective determination to ensure transparency, fairness, and due process throughout this investigation.
“It is important to emphasize that the House of Assembly’s action is not a hasty or partisan decision but one made to prevent the Chief Judge from using her influence and power to interfere with the investigation process or muscle the petitioners from presenting evidence supporting their allegations. The Osun Assembly strongly believes in the principle of fair hearing and due process, and the decision to request the Chief Judge to step aside is necessary to ensure an unbiased investigation into the allegations raised. The Osun Assembly has also invited the Chief Judge to appear before the House so that Her Lordship can respond to the grave allegations in the petition.
“Furthermore, it is crucial to reiterate that the resolution passed by the House of Assembly does not imply guilt or a final decision regarding the allegations levied against the Chief Judge. The objective is to enable a comprehensive investigation and allow due process to take its course.
“The Osun State House of Assembly stands firm in its mission to uphold the principles of justice, transparency, and accountability. The Osun State House of Assembly will continue to be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people of Osun State while maintaining the integrity and independence of our judicial system.
“In conclusion, I call upon all the people of Osun State to have faith in the process and trust that the Osun House of Assembly will discharge its duties with utmost diligence and integrity.”