An Akure High Court, in Ondo state, has struck out a suit instituted by the embattled deputy governor of the state, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, challenging his impeachment by the state House of Assembly.
Justice O. Akintan-Osadebay, in his ruling , declined jurisdiction to avoid conflicting verdict between Ondo High Court and Abuja Federal High Court.
Akintan-Osadebay, ruled that it was a gross abuse of court process to engage in “forum shopping, by instituting same case in Akure and Abuja High court.
It will be recalled that Aiyedatiwa, approached, the court in a suit delineated AK/348/2023 filed on September 25, 2023, to stop the House of Assembly from impeaching him.
The deputy governor sought for a declaration that “the House of Assembly is not competent to proceed on his impeachment in breach of his constitutional and fundamental rights to fair hearing and that the sacking of his media aides and subjecting him to the Ministry of Information headed by a Commissioner amounts to a breach 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, and the declaration that in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as a Deputy Governor of Ondo State by the House of Assembly, he is entitled to a fair hearing and that given the utterances and conduct of the House of Assembly so far, there is likelihood of bias against him in the impeachment process.
According to him, in conducting media trials against him without serving him with any notice of gross misconduct, the House Assembly has constituted itself into accuser, investigator, prosecutor and judge.
Aiyedatiwa then sought orders of injunction to stop the House of Assembly from initiating, continuing or proceeding with the process of his removal from office as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
He also seeks an order to stop the Chief Judge of Ondo State from accepting or acting upon any request from the House of Assembly of Ondo State to set up any panel to investigate any acts of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor.
Aiyedatiwa named as defendants in the suit filed by human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, are the Ondo State Government, the Governor of Ondo State, Ondo State House of Assembly, Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Clerk of Ondo State House of Assembly and Chief Judge of Ondo State.
In the affidavit in support of the originating summons, it was stated that the House of Assembly embarked upon a media trial of the Deputy Governor purely to scandalize him and incite public opinion against him when indeed no notice of acts of alleged gross misconduct was served on him.
He also accused the House of Assembly of persecuting him without lawful basis in conspiracy with certain persons who are gladiators in political circles.
Dep gov not ready for reconciliation- group
Meanwhile, a group under the aegis Ondo Masses Solidarity Movement (MSM) has alleged that the deputy governor, has not withdraw the lawsuit he filed against his impeachment by the Ondo State House of Assembly.
The group recall that Aiyedatiwa’s lawyer, Mr. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa (SAN), informed the court that the deputy governor wished to withdraw the suit following the intervention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the matter.
It’s coordinator, Chief Ogunyemi Jeremiah,in a Statement in Akure, said that “the story was planted in the newspaper to delay the court case and mislead the public about a reconciliation effort.
Jeremiah said that ” In light of the ongoing developments in the impeachment process of Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, we find it necessary to address the spread of fake news as published in today’s newspaper.
“We urge the public to disregard the false news claiming that Aiyedatiwa has withdrawn his lawsuit against his impeachment. This story, as published, was the work of individuals attempting to delay the case and extend the impeachment process.
“In fact, if anything, the deputy governor has shown that he is not ready for reconciliation.
“His consistent reference to the reconciliation committee appears to be an act of deception and pretense. It is disappointing that the deputy governor professes reconciliation while actively pursuing legal actions.
“Just moments ago, the deputy governor appealed the ruling of the Akure High Court that declined jurisdiction on the suit challenging his impeachment.
“This contradicts Aiyedatiwa’s reconciliation stance. One cannot advocate for reconciliation while simultaneously initiating court proceedings.
“As stakeholders in Ondo State, we have lost confidence in the deputy governor’s ability to continue holding public office.
Jeremiah said that ” Resorting to legal measures to halt impeachment proceedings, especially when facing serious allegations related to taxpayers’ money without providing any response, is a disservice to the people of the state.