Members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over a Federal High Court order restraining them from performing their functions as an arm of government.
They described an ex-parte granted by the court on the 26th of September, 2023, restraining the Assembly from impeaching the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as “unconstitutional and clearly malevolent”.
In a petition addressed to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and signed by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Olamide Oladiji, it accused Justice Emeka Nwite, who granted the order for allegedly compromising his office and violating the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The lawmakers alleged that Justice Nwite was “heavily and/or compromised his office to grant an unconstitutional ex parte in favour” of the embattled Deputy Governor.
The petition read, “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 and 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.”
The assembly recall that on “September 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) & (b) of the Constitution. I hereby attach a copy of the notice as Annexure ODHA.
“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 a 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.”
“However, in spite of the above provisions of the Constitution, the Deputy-Governor approached Justice Emeka Nwite with an ex parte application on 21st September, 2023, just a day after I received Annexure ODHA1 (the notice of allegations of gross misconduct) against him at the plenary of the House, to procure an order to stop the legislative process of his impeachment.”
“My lord, as a Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice Emeka Nwite knows or ought to know that there are extant Circulars and Practice Directions prohibiting Federal High Court Judges from granting ex parte injunctions in political cases and/or taking cases that did not originate from their immediate Judicial Divisions.”
The House, however, resolved that Hon. “Justice Emeka 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 mete 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.”
Meanwhile, the Assembly yesterday said the deputy governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, had failed to respond to the Letter of Notice served on him on September 25 over allegations of gross misconduct.
Speaker Oladiji said the Letter of Notice was received on behalf of Aiyedatiwa by his Chief Protocol Officer.
Speaking at the plenary session in Akure, yesterday, Oladiji said the House resolution that the deputy governor should be duly served a Notice of the allegations, was in line with Section 188 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“Concerted efforts were made to serve the Notice on the deputy governor, who for some time was not available for the service, prompting the House to approach the court for a substituted service on the deputy governor.
“On 25th of September, a substituted service of the Notice of allegations was made on the deputy governor duly signed by more than one-third Honourable Members of the House as required by the Constitution in Section 188 Sub-section 2,” he stated.
According to him, the Constitution stipulates that the assembly should wait for seven days for the embattled deputy governor to respond which has lapsed.
The speaker directed the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Olusegun Odusola, to immediately set up a seven-man panel to investigate the deputy governor on the allegations levelled against him.
“Distinguished colleagues, Section 188 of the Constitution states further that the deputy governor has 7 days within which to reply to the allegations levelled against him.
“The Constitution states further that within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, the Chief Judge of the state shall at the request of the Speaker of the House of Assembly appoint a panel of seven persons.
“Distinguished colleagues, I, therefore, wish to seek your opinion to direct the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Hon. Justice Olusegun Odusola, to in line with this section of the Constitution, set up a seven-man panel to investigate the deputy governor on the allegations levelled against him,” he said.
The House, with available 23 out of 26 members at the plenary session through voice vote, gave a nod for the Chief Judge to constitute the panel.
Earlier, the Majority Leader, Mr Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, (Owo 1-APC), moved the motion for the Notice on the Ondo State Impeachment Panel Procedure Rules that the panel be constituted by the Chief Judge of the State.
The motion was seconded by Mr Felix Afe (Akoko North West 2-PDP).
Protest Rocks Kano Over Appeal Court Judgment
Protests erupted in Kano city and its environs on Monday afternoon with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the state Governor, Abba Yusuf.
The Tide’s source reports that uneasy calm pervaded the state capital following a contradictory Certified True Copy of the Appeal Court that affirmed the prayers of both the appellant and the respondent in the contentious Kano governorship, though the judiciary had since cleared the air.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, huge crowd of protesters had stormed strategic positions in the city as it visited temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Kano- Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
Some of the placard read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “ Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023″.
The protest came on the heels of discovery by the Police that “some faceless group are bent on unleashing violence in Kano”, stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
Cp Hussaini Gumel told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already 7 suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact. In view of that, therefore, any one found outside this arrangement will be treated as common criminal”.
However, normalcy had since returned to the ancient city following the peaceful protest that lasted several hours.
NASS To Receive Tinubu’s 2024 Appropriation Bill, Today
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today, present the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Secretary, Research and Information of the National Assembly, Dr Ali Barde Umoru, confirmed this on Monday to journalists while requesting the list of those to be allowed into the chamber during the budget presentation.
This will be the first budget estimate President Tinubu will present to the National Assembly in person.
He had earlier transmitted two supplementary budgets, 2022 and 2023, to the National Assembly, which the parliament speedily approved.
President Tinubu had, weeks ago, also forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly, the 20224-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) where the sum of N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, following the recommendation of its joint committee, which scrutinised the document, approved the MTEF/FSP.
It approved the N26.1trn proposed as the 2024 budget and other parameters as proposed by President Tinubu.
It approved the new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, pegged the benchmark of oil price for 2024 at $73.96, and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.
Other parameters approved are a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, an inflation rate of 21.40%, an exchange rate of N700 to $1 dollar, and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Muslim Clerics Offer Prayers For Tinubu, Kwankwaso In Kano
Over 1,000 Islamic clerics have offered special prayers for President Bola Tinubu and the NNPP national leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Abdulmumin Kofa (NNPP-Kiru/Bebeji) hosted the ulamas at Kiru for the success of Governor Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court, according to a statement by the lawmaker’s media aide, Sani Paki, on Monday.
During the prayer session, the clerics recited the Qur’an 1,101 times and prayed for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
Mr Kofa said his relationship with the president was no secret, noting that Mr Kwankwaso is his mentor. He said he would continue to support and promote a harmonious relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Kwankwaso.
Mr Kofa described NNPP as a promising party open to collaboration, alliance and merger with the APC and even with the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party or any other party that showed interest, so long as it is for the good of Nigerians.
He also promised to deploy his modest political network to reach out to gladiators in Kano politics towards resolving all resolvable issues and to de-escalate the current tension in the state due to the Kano governorship seat.
Also, after the prayer session, the legislator hosted 5,000 primary school kids across his constituency, as he often does, and provided them with school kits.
According to the statement, Mr Kofa assured the pupils of the good plans of the federal and state governments, especially on free education and free school feeding programmes.
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