The Ondo State House of Assembly has condemned an ex-parte order granted by a Federal High Court in Abuja on September 26, 2023, over the restraining of the Assembly from impeaching the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
In a petition signed by Speaker of the Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, addressed to the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Assembly accused Justice Emeka Nwite, who granted the order, of compromising his office and violating the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“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 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 read.
The Assembly added that Justice Nwite should be investigated 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.”