An Ondo state high court has struck out the suit filed by Lucky Aiyedatiwa, deputy governor of the state, seeking to stop his impeachment.
The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit, describing it as an abuse of court processes.
Aiyedatiwa had approached the court to stop the Ondo state house of assembly from impeaching him over alleged gross misconduct.
The deputy governor sought a declaration that the house of assembly was not competent to proceed with the impeachment move against him because his right to a fair hearing was breached.
Aiyedatiwa averred that his office, tenure, status, rights and privileges “are protected, secured, guaranteed, governed and regulated under and by the relevant provisions such as sections, 188, 189, 190 and 191 of the Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)” and should not be hindered “except and in a manner permitted by law”.
He also sought an order to stop the chief judge of Ondo from accepting or acting upon any request from the house of assembly to set up any panel to investigate any allegation of gross misconduct against him.
He asked the court to declare that as the deputy governor of Ondo, he “is entitled to the rights and privileges attached to his office, including but not limited to his media details and other aides attached to his office”.
Aiyedatiwa said the dismissal of all the media aides and press crew attached to his office without prior notice “is unreasonable, vindictive, malicious, unconstitutional, illegal” and should be declared “null and void”.
However, the Ondo assembly filed a motion, challenging the competence of the substantive suit by relying on section 188(10) of the constitution.
The assembly said the suit was premature since the house was yet to conclude the impeachment proceedings especially when there was no request before the chief judge to constitute a panel of investigators.
The house also contended that the suit constituted an abuse of court processes, noting that a similar suit was filed in Abuja by the deputy governor.
In the judgment, Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, the presiding judge, agreed that the suit was an abuse of the court process.
The judge held that it was a gross abuse of the court process to engage in “forum shopping, by instituting the same case in Akure and Abuja high court.
ABUJA SUIT WITHDRAWN
Meanwhile, Aiyedatiwa has withdrawn the suit pending before the Abuja federal high court.
At the Monday hearing, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, lawyer to the deputy governor, told the court that his client wished to withdraw the suit following the intervention of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the matter.
Adegboruwa noted that Abdullahi Ganduje, the national chairman of the APC, had set up a reconciliation committee on October 6, to mediate the dispute between some of the parties to the suit.
The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said going ahead with the court proceedings could frustrate the reconciliation efforts by the APC leadership.
He also mentioned that the Ondo state house of assembly wrote a petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC) on October 3, against Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge.
Responding, Femi Emodamori, counsel for the assembly, said the petition had already been withdrawn.
Nwite adjourned the matter till October 6 for a ruling.
By Bolanle Olabimtan
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