EXCLUSIVE: Osun Govt reacts as alleged plots by Gov Adeleke to remove Chief Judge thickens

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The alleged brewing war between the Executive and Judicial arms of government in Osun State might take a negative toll on governance in the state if a truce is not immediately brokered between both parties. 

NewsClick Nigeria gathered that in what appears a rare priviledge, both the Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke and the State Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo are from Ede town in Osun West Senatorial District.

According to insider sources, the Chief Justice was appointed by former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, now Minister of Marine and Blue Economy and is perceived as a mole by the Adeleke-led government.

‘The embattled Chief Judge and Gov Adeleke have always not been cordial even before becoming governor though both are from Ede. She was appointed by former Governor Oyetola and is alleged not to be on same page with the Adelekes, hence the alleged removal plots against her,’ an insider source told NewsClick Nigeria.

Confirming the political developments in Osun, another impeccable source confided in this medium that barring any unforeseen developments, Gov Adeleke might announce suspension of the Chief Justice anytime soon.

‘I learnt that Gov. Adeleke is perfecting plans to announce the suspension of the Chief Justice of Osun State anytime from this week. They are likely to accuse her of mismanagement of the funds under her care as an excuse to get her out of the way,’ the source said.

A lawyer, Josiah Ogunrinde, Esq in an opinion piece titled ‘Why is Osun Government after Chief Judge Ojo’ accused the Governor-Adeleke-led administration of wanting to remove the embattled Chief Judge for not being a willful manipulative tool.

“Why is Osun Government after the Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo? Why do they want her sacked by all means? Is it because she has not made herself pliable to the plot of the state government to get freedom for all associates of Governor Adeleke either serving jail terms or facing criminal charges in the state? Or is the witch-hunting truly connected, as speculated, with her judgement on Adeleke’s friend, Dr Ramon Adedoyin in respect of the late OAU master’s student, Timothy Adegoke, said to have been killed in Adedoyin’s Ile-Ife hotel?

“Why are the Adelekes all out to destroy Osun judiciary in order to satisfy their mundane appetite?

“After their Abuja jamboree where they tried unsuccessfully to pressure some members of the NJC to act against Justice Ojo, the Adelekes are all out again to bully her by scheming to co-opt some members of the state assembly.

“According to sources, a petition is planned to be read on the floor of the state assembly tomorrow aimed at frustrating the CJ out of her seat. The government has found the juvenile speaker, Adeleke’s lapdog, amenable to the devious plan.

“Whether this evil plan will be hatched tomorrow is yet to be seen, it is important all good people of the state are kept informed of the thick plot of the Adeleke government to castrate the judiciary.

“If truly the CJ has queries to answer, why can’t they petition the National Judicial Council as prescribed by the law of the land, rather than resorting to self-help?”

Another lawyer, Oluwanishola Alao told this medium that neither a sitting governor nor a state assembly can remove a chief judge without the approval of the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC).

“This is not the first time we are having this kind of political development in Nigeria and it might hopefully not be the last. A sitting governor feels he has the power to remove a Chief Judge, the head of another arm of government like his employees or appointees. That is not so. The Nigerian constitution allows for separation of powers and no head of a particular arm of government can unilaterally remove the order without recourse to lay down processes. In this case, the NJC must have a say and decide if allegations brought against a Chief Judge warrants being removed. It has never being a one-man show and will never be,” he said.

Attempts by NewsClick Nigeria to reach Gov Adeleke’s spokesperson, Mallam Rasheed Olawale for comments was unsuccessful as at press time.

Another lawyer, Oluwanishola Alao told this medium that neither a sitting governor nor a state assembly can remove a chief judge without the approval of the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC).

“This is not the first time we are having this kind of political development in Nigeria and it might hopefully not be the last. A sitting governor feels he has the power to remov

 

CSOs tackle Gov Adeleke

In another development, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Osun State on Wednesday accused Governor Ademola Adeleke of allegedly submitting a petition against Justice Adepele Ojo to the National Judicial Council.

Addressing journalists in Osogbo on behalf of the group, Mr Ayo Ologun, claimed that the initial plan of the governor was to remove the Chief Judge through a motion by the House of Assembly, but the plan was allegedly dropped for the option of dragging the CJ before the NJC.

Ologun said the group had written a counter-petition to NJC, warning that any attempt by public officeholders to disregard the rule of law would be resisted.

He called on Adeleke to respect the independence of the judiciary and immediately cease any attempt to remove the CJ based on her principled stance.

He said, “The coalition of civil society groups committed to upholding the principles of justice, transparency, and the rule of law, strongly condemns the recent attempt by the Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, to illegally remove the Chief Judge of Osun State, Honorable Justice Adebola Ojo. This move is particularly troubling as it appears to be a reprisal against the Chief Judge for her principled stand against attempts to manipulate the judiciary in the state.

“As we speak, a petition has been written against the judge to the National Judicial Council and we have a counter-petition to the same body regarding allegations against Ojo. The independence of the judiciary is a cornerstone of any democratic society, and any attempt to undermine or interfere with the judiciary compromises the very foundation of the rule of law.

“The Chief Judge, in her capacity, has a constitutional duty to uphold justice and ensure the fair and impartial administration of the law. Her commitment to these principles should be celebrated, not met with attempts at removal for political reasons.

“We hereby call on Governor Ademola Adeleke to respect the independence of the judiciary and immediately cease any attempts to remove the Chief Judge based on her principled stance. The judiciary must be allowed to operate without fear of reprisal or political interference, ensuring that justice is served impartially and without bias.

“The Chief Judge, in her capacity, has a constitutional duty to uphold justice and ensure the fair and impartial administration of the law. Her commitment to these principles should be celebrated, not met with attempts at removal for political reasons.

“We hereby call on Governor Ademola Adeleke to respect the independence of the judiciary and immediately cease any attempts to remove the Chief Judge based on her principled stance. The judiciary must be allowed to operate without fear of reprisal or political interference, ensuring that justice is served impartially and without bias.

 

We are not aware of any plots against the Chief Judge – Osun Government

Meanwhile, the Osun State Government has denied knowledge of any plot against the embattled Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo.

In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi on Wednesday in Osogbo, the state government also affirmed its commitment to due process and stipulated regulations across the arms of government.

“The State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke and his team are preoccupied with delivering on good governance to the citizenry with no time for diversionary conducts,” the statement said.

While stressing that the Constitution and the state’s laws clearly spell out responsibilities of state officials, the government added that the same laws laid out rules for accountability and transparency across government sectors.

“The Governor and all government officials whether elected or appointed into any arm of government are not immune from the accountability process.

“The Governor is therefore not in a position to stop the legislature from doing her statutory job and neither can the Governor hamstring the judiciary in the performance of its duties.

“The Governor is however committed to supporting all arms of government to operate within the ambit of the law and constitution.

“We have stated it persistently that those holding social media briefs for the Chief Judge are not doing the Judiciary any good. The sponsored civil society groups that failed to acknowledge the good that the Adeleke-led Administration is doing for the Judiciary are those running sponsored lies against the present administration in Osun.

“It is from the above premise that the state government was taken aback by the allegations from the coalition of civil society groups.

“We urge the public to take note that the Governor will not be involved in anything against the law, due process and constitution of the Republic of Nigeria.”