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Impeachment: Court dismisses suit against Aregbesola

An Osun State High Court sitting in Iwo, has struck out the suit filed by a High Court judge in the state, Justice Folaranmi Olamide, seeking to set aside the dismissal of her petition against the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola by the state House of Assembly.

The High Court in Iwo, presided over by Justice Moshood Adeigbe, dismissed Justice Oloyede’s application for lack of jurisdiction.

Oloyede had approached the State High Court to challenge the recommendation of Osun House of Assembly asking the state Judicial Service Commission to recommend to the National Judicial Council that Oloyede should be sanctioned on the account of judicial misconduct.

Justice Oloyede had petitioned the House of Assembly, calling for the impeachment of Governor Aregbesola and his Deputy, Grace Laoye-Tomori, over alleged corruption.

The Judge had in the petition called on the lawmakers to examine and investigate the governor and his deputy over the corruption allegations and impeached if found guilty.

On receipt of the petition, the House set up an Ad hoc/Fact-finding committee with Speaker Najeem Salaam giving the committee one week to submit its report.

The House later considered the report of the panel, and dismissed Oloyede’s petition and recommended sanctions against her.

The judge, not satisfied with the decision of the lawmakers filed a motion on notice before the court.

Her lawyer, Lekan Ogunlesi, while addressing the court recently on the motion stated that his client was ready to challenge the illegality of the action of the House of Assembly.

Ogunlesi had listed the respondents in the motion to include the Speaker, the investigating committee Chairman, Adegboye Akintunde, six legislators and Clerk of the House.

Also joined in the suit is the Osun Judicial Service Commission.

Oloyede had also filed a motion ex-parte asking the court to grant her permission to institute a legal action against the state lawmakers over their recommendation that she should be sanctioned by the National Judicial Commission (NJC).e

In her application, she asked that the recommendations of the ad-hoc committee be quashed and that their actions be declared illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

The presiding Judge, before dismissing the suit had reviewed the submission of counsel to Oloyede on the issue of fair hearing, observed that a party who was given the opportunity to be heard but chose not seize the opportunity cannot complain of not being given fair hearing.

He stated that the contention of the respondent that she was denied fair hearing by the committee was not shown anywhere on the face the Exhibit FA1, which is the proceedings of the Ad-hoc committee, cannot by any stretch of imagination see how the right of fair hearing can be breached in the proceedings where a legal practitioner represented the applicant at the sitting of the Ad-hoc committee.‎

The defendants lawyer, Wale Afolabi, the former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in the state praised the court for the judgement, saying justice Oloyede should not have petitioned the governor and his deputy since she is an employee of the state government.‎

Afolabi had challenged Oloyede’s suit on the grounds that it is incompetent having violated the provision of order 40 rule 5(5) of the state high court rules, saying an act of parliament cannot be subjected to judicial review.

He held that the application does not contain grounds as envisaged by the rules of court and that what is being asked to be quashed was a mere recommendation and not binding decision which can be reviewed by way of certiorari, and that the action was filed in total disregard to both substantive and procedural laws relating judicial review.

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