Ondo state House of Assembly has rejected a letter written by the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa’s lawyer (Ebun Adegboruwa), claiming that the Chief Judge should not set up a panel to probe the deputy governor.
The Assembly through its lawyer, Barr. Femi Emodamori informed that the lawmakers are not part of the APC reconciliation and only awaiting the ruling tomorrow Tuesday.
ONDO ASSEMBLY NOT PART OF APC RECONCILIATION —Lawyer tells court
I have read some grossly distorted and tendencious online reports about the proceedings of the Federal High Court, Abuja today 9th October, 2023 in the case instituted by the Ondo State Deputy Governor to stop his impeachment. Because of the huge public interest in the case, I feel obliged to correct the distortions.
The respected learned Counsel for the Plaintiff had urged the Court to adjourn the case sine die (indefinitely) on two grounds. His first ground was that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had set up a Reconciliation Committee to look into some of the issues, and that there was need for the Court to also promote reconciliation by adjourning indefinitely.
His second ground was that the Ondo State House of Assembly (my Client) had written a petition to NJC against the Judge, signifying loss or lack of confidence in his lordship, consequent upon which the Judge ought to adjourn indefinitely to await the determination of NJC. The Counsel alleged that the House used derogatory words against the Judge in the Petition.
In response, I submitted on behalf of my Client, just like all the other respected Counsel for the other Defendants in the case, that we had actually prevailed on our Client to withdraw the Petition, and the Petition had been withdrawn on Friday 6th October, 2023; in which case, it cannot be used as an excuse to seek an indefinite adjournment. I fully apologized to the Court for any wrong choice of words in the Petition, which was authored and signed by my Client.
On the reported APC reconciliation Committee, our submission was that the State House of Assembly was not privy to it, since media reports state that the Committee is to reconcile the Ondo State Governor and his Deputy, whereas impeachment is a pure legislative proceedings. In any event, I submitted further, Ondo State House of Assembly comprises members from different political parties, and not just APC.
Again, we submitted that based on Section 188 (1)-(9) of the Constitution, every stage in the impeachment process is time bound, and that adjourning the case indefinitely with an ex parte order in place would amount to an invitation to constitutional anarchy.
Based on various submissions of Counsel, His lordship agreed that the issue of jurisdiction must first be decided. His lordship refused the application to adjourned sine die, and instead adjourned the case till 16th October for applications challenging the Court’s jurisdiction to be heard and determined.
Interestingly, it was in the open Court today that the Claimant served my client (the State House of Assembly) the Originating Summons filed as far back as 21st September, 2023 and the ex parte order made by the Court as far back as 26th October, 2023, thereby confirming my repeated public assertions that my Client was never served any of those processes.
Happily, the Court duly noted the fact that we were just served in the open Court today in it’s record. We have applied for the Certified True Copy of the record of proceedings.
Instructively, the Court also failed to renew the ex parte order for injunction. Under the Federal High Court Rules, the ex parte order would lapse 14 days after service, unless the Judge renews it, particularly in this case against the Chief Judge of Ondo State. The 14 days, in the case of the Chief Judge of Ondo State, from my simple arithmetic, expires tomorrow 10th October, 2023.
Femi Emmanuel Emodamori. (ASSEMBLY LAWYER)