An Akure High Court in Ondo state has dismissed a complaint filed by the state’s embattled deputy governor, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, challenging his impeachment by the state House of Assembly.
In his judgement, Justice O. Akintan-Osadebay refused jurisdiction to prevent a contradictory verdict between the Ondo High Court and the Abuja Federal High Court.
Akintan-Osadebay found that engaging in “forum shopping” by filing the identical lawsuit in Akure and Abuja Federal High Courts constituted a blatant misuse of the legal system.
It will be remembered that Aiyedatiwa sought the court on September 25, 2023, in an action denoted AK/348/2023, to prevent the House of Assembly from impeaching him.
The deputy governor requested a declaration that “the House of Assembly is not competent to proceed on his impeachment in violation of his constitutional and fundamental rights to a fair hearing” and that “sacking his media aides and subjecting him to the Ministry of Information headed by a Commissioner constitutes a violation of his rights and privileges as a deputy governor.”
Aiyedatiwa is also seeking a declaration that his office, tenure, status, rights, and privileges are protected, guaranteed, and secured by the Constitution, as well as a declaration that in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as Deputy Governor of Ondo State by the House of Assembly, he is entitled to a fair hearing and that, given the House of Assembly’s utterances and conduct thus far, there is a likelihood of bias against him in the impeachment process.”
According to him, the House Assembly has positioned itself as accuser, investigator, prosecutor, and judge by holding media trials against him without serving him with any notice of gross misbehaviour.
Aiyedatiwa then requested an injunction to prevent the House of Assembly from commencing, continuing, or progressing with the process of removing him from his position as Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
He further seeks an injunction prohibiting the Chief Judge of Ondo State from accepting or acting on any request from the Ondo State House of Assembly to establish any panel to probe any acts of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor.
The Ondo State Government, the Governor of Ondo State, the Ondo State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, the Clerk of the Ondo State House of Assembly, and the Chief Judge of Ondo State are named as defendants in the complaint filed by human rights lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN.
According to the evidence in support of the originating summons, the House of Assembly launched a media trial of the Deputy Governor only to scandalise him and provoke public opinion against him, despite the fact that no notice of acts of alleged gross misconduct was served on him.