June 11, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Court halts process to remove Ondo deputy gov as NGO advises against witch-hunt

JUSTICE Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has restrained the Ondo State House of Assembly from removing Deputy Governor, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, over alleged acts of gross misconduct.
Justice Nwite issued the restraining order on Tuesday while ruling in an exparte application brought by Aiyedatiwa.
Besides the state lawmakers, the judge also restrained Governor Rotimi Akeredolu from nominating a new deputy governor or forwarding the same to the lawmakers for approval pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
The deputy governor had, in a motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1294/2023, sued the state assembly, as well as the governor over moves to remove him from office as deputy governor.
Respondents in the suit are the Governor; Speaker; members of the House of Assembly; Chief Judge of Ondo State; the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police and the Department of State Services (DSS).
However, pending the hearing of the substantive suit, Aiyedatiwa through his lawyer, Mr Kayode Adewusi, filed and argued the ex-parte motion to forestall his removal from office.
After listening to Adewusi, the court held that the application has merit, adding that it would be in the interest of justice to grant the application.
“Therefore, the application of the applicant succeeds,” the court held.
Besides halting the removal of the deputy governor, the court made another order of interim injunction restraining Akeredolu, his servants or privies from harassing, intimidating, embarrassing and preventing Aiyedatiwa in carrying out the functions of his office as Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
Justice Nwite, who granted all the reliefs, adjourned the matter until October 9 for hearing in the main suit.
Ayedatiwa 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.
Meanwhile, Ondo State Conscience Movement (OCM), a non-profit organisation on Tuesday urged the state assembly not to allow itself to be tainted with political witch-hunts or targeted vendettas.
The charge came on the heels of the house’s plan of impeachment against the deputy governor of the state, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
OCM chairman Shalom Olaseni in a statement issued in Akure said that actions regarding the impeachment process must be in strict compliance with Constitutional provisions.
According to Olaseni, the group represents the voices of concerned citizens and is deeply committed to upholding the principles of democracy and the rule of law in Ondo State and beyond.
He stated that the group deemed it appropriate in the interest of justice and posterity to present its position on the political drama and debacle that had engulfed the state lately.
“We insist that the grounds for the impeachment of Aiyedatiwa must in itself be unimpeachable.
“The impeachment process must also be firmly rooted in identifiable ultra vires actions that the Constitution explicitly outlines as legitimate grounds for impeachment.
“It is our unwavering belief that the legislature should not allow itself to be tainted with political witch-hunts or targeted vendettas as has been rumoured in various quarters in the state.
“We believe that the lawmakers’ powers must be wielded with utmost consciousness of their representative capacity on behalf of the people of Ondo State, rather than being exercised flimsily and on a whim.
“We implore the Assembly to consider that the speed, focus, and determination with which the impeachment agenda is being pursued could have been effectively channelled to address genuine issues of governance,’’ Olaseni stated.
He added that the movement remained committed to ensuring that justice, transparency, and the rule of law prevailed in Ondo State.
“We call on all stakeholders within and outside Ondo State to join in this noble cause to safeguard democracy and ensure that Ondo State thrives as a beacon of good governance,” he stressed.