•• Asks APC to stop disparaging Babalola
By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti Justice Group (EJG), an association of elites of Ekiti State origin comprising professionals and non-professionals alike who are apolitical, has written to the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the letter purportedly written by some All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers, directing the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, to constitute a Panel to investigate the impeachable offences against the state Governor Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Dr Olusola Eleka.
The group, while addressing journalists in Ado-Ekiti, described the action of the former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin, as bizarre, ignoble, irresponsible and downright unlawful, calling on the CJN to prevail on Justice Daramola not to allow his respected office and personality to be dragged unduly into any illegality and the murky waters of politics.
EJG said in the letter signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Gbenga Babawibe, and addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who is the chairman of NJC that “Omirin is still contesting the legality or otherwise of his impeachment in suits Nos FHC/ABJ/CS/885/2014 and FHC/L/CS/1823/2014 respectively, and a decision is yet to be delivered on same.
“It is elementary that once an action is subjudice, a party to the suit is not expected to take any action capable of overreaching any decision the court of law may make in relation to such a suit,” the group said.
The letter read further: “We are aware that following the inauguration of Ayodele Fayose as the Governor of Ekiti State on the 15th of October 2014, some members of the State House of Assembly abdicated their responsibility as elected Assemblymen, which led to the impeachment of the former Speaker Dr. Adewale Omirin and some other Principal Officers of the Assembly. The state Assembly continued to function effectively and constitutionally even without the absentee lawmakers, while the impeached Speaker of the House proceeded to the Law Courts to challenge his impeachment. The actions in Suit Nos FHC/ABJ/CS/885/2014 and FHC/L/CS/1823/2014 respectively, are still pending and undetermined.
“Unfortunately, a recent and most distressing, harrowing and disturbing development occurred early April 2015, when the impeached Speaker purported to serve a Notice on Allegations of Impeachable Offences on Governor Ayodele Fayose and his Deputy, which the duo did not receive, and followed it up with a Letter to the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, directing him to constitute a Panel to investigate the said Impeachable Offences.
“Sir, this bizarre, ignoble, irresponsible and downrightly unlawful action of the impeached Speaker and his cohorts is not only illegal and unsustainable, but also portends grave danger to the peace and stability of our dear State for the following reasons:
“The incumbent Speaker and the Members of the House of Assembly, who have chosen not to abdicate their constitutional duties and responsibilities, have been performing their legislative duties diligently following the impeachment of Adewale Omirin. This includes, but is not limited to, the Passage of the 2015 Budget of the State.
“The impeached Speaker and his cohorts have never stepped into the hallowed Chambers of the House of Assembly to join their colleagues in the discharge of their legislative duties, since they were removed from their respective offices; rather their claim is that the purported resolutions addressed to the Chief Judge were passed in the premises of a public Secondary School.
“Since 1962, in the case of Aderemi vs. Adegbenro 1962, 2 ALL NLR 440, Ademola CJF emphasised that it is important and imperative that the decisions of the House of Assembly should emanate from the Floor of the House of Assembly, and nowhere else. His Lordship stated “. . . the answer to the first question therefore is that the Governor cannot validly exercise power to remove the Premier from office under Section 33 Subsection 3 of the Constitution of Western Nigeria, except in consequence of proceedings on the Floor of the House”. This has been followed in recent times by the Supreme Court in the Case of Inakoju vs Adeleke (2007), 4 NWLR Pt. 1025, Pg. 423, particularly at Pgs. 599 – 600, where Tobi JSC (rtd) stated as follows; ‘it appears to me, from the intention of the Constitution, that the House of Assembly will sit in the building provided for it, and for that purpose. . . In my humble view, a community reading of the two sections shows that the intention of the Constitution is to make the House of Assembly sit physically in the building provided for that purpose. . .’
“The purported Sitting and Resolution at Maryhill Junior Secondary School or anywhere else leading to the Letter to the chief Judge of the State is clearly unlawful.
“The overwhelming majority of the good people have clearly and irrevocably expressed their support for Governor Ayodele Fayose and his Government and their desire for peace and stability in the State under him; hence the consistent and resounding approval of the Governor in the June 21, 2014 Election where he won in all the sixteen (16) Local Government Areas, and 155 out of 177 Wards in the State.
“At the Presidential Election held on March 28, 2015, the Governor again won all the Senatorial and House of Representatives seats in the State by an overwhelming majority along with a majority in the Presidential Poll.
“More recently, in the April 11, 2015 House of Assembly Poll, the Governor won all the available 26 seats in the State House of Assembly. One then cannot but wonder how else the support of the people for the Governor and his Government can manifest.
“We are aware that the impeached Speaker and his cohorts are claiming that the purported Notice has been served on the Chief Judge, Ayodeji Daramola. We are hard put to reconcile this with the ongoing strike by the workers of the Judiciary. We wish to state however that this Petition to the NJC is not borne out of a distrust or any doubt of the integrity of the Chief Judge (since thus far, there is no reason for such), but out of our conviction that the NJC, as the supreme regulatory body of the Judiciary, should be abreast of these developments in order to avert any untoward occurrence.
“In the light of the foregoing salient and incontrovertible facts, we humbly plead with you Sir to use your good office to prevail on Hon. Justice Ayodeji Daramola not to allow his respected office and personality to be dragged unduly into any illegality and the murky waters of politics. The experience of 2006 in Ekiti State and the consequences on the judicial officers involved are still fresh in our memory. Due and constitutional process is sacrosanct, and anything short of it will engender chaos, violence and breakdown of law and order.”