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ODHA petitions NJC over court ruling against the impeachment of deputy governor

The Ondo State House of Assembly (ODHA) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over an ex-parte order restraining the Assembly from impeaching the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

Olamide-Oladiji, speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly (ODHA)
Olamide-Oladiji, speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly (ODHA)

Akure, Nigeria

The Ondo State House of Assembly (ODHA) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over an ex-parte order restraining the Assembly from impeaching the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

September 26, an Abuja federal high court granted an ex-parte order stopping the house from impeaching Aiyedatiwa over alleged abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.

The speaker, Olamide Oladiji, in a petition addressed to the chairman of the NJC, accused Justice Emeka Nwite, who granted the order, of compromising his office and violating the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He said: “As the Speaker of the 10th Ondo State House of Assembly, and on behalf of the entire members of the House of Assembly (hereinafter referred to as “ODHA”).

“I write to your lordship to formally lodge a complaint against Hon. Justice Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, for compromising his office, violating the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), ignoring judicial decisions of the appellate courts and extant Practice Directions and/or relevant Circulars of the Federal High Court, to grant an unconstitutional, clearly malevolent, and ostensibly procured ex parte order on 26th September, 2023 in Suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1294/2023 restraining ODHA as an arm of government from exercising its constitutional powers.

“On September 20, 2023, eleven (11) members of the Ondo State Assembly presented a notice of allegation(s) of gross misconduct (impeachment notice) against the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, to me as the Speaker, in line with Section 188(2)(a) and (b) of the Constitution.

“As your lordship would observe, Annexure ODHA contains 14 allegations, many of which relate to alleged financial improprieties running into hundreds of millions of naira.

“My Lord, as a ranking member of ODHA and based on the benefit of detailed legal advice which the House has sought on the subject matter, I know as a fact that impeachment is a purely legislative affair.

“Section 188 (10) of the Constitution clearly provides that: ‘No proceedings or determination of the House of Assembly or an Impeachment Panel or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court’,” the petition reads.

Oladiji called for the investigation of Justice Nwite for “abuse of ex parte injunction and/or his office to gratify the Ondo State Deputy-Governor, and if found liable, the National Judicial Council should carry out the appropriate sanction against him as required by the dictates of judicial fidelity and the protection of the rule of law and our nascent democracy.”

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