An Akure High Court has given the Ondo State House of Assembly, the leeway to proceed with the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of the state, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa who is facing charges of gross misconduct levelled against him by the Assembly.
The Court presided over by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadeybay held that the case filed by the Deputy Governor, through his lawyer, Mr EbunOlu Adegboruwa SAN constituted an abuse of court process having filed a similar suit in Federal High Court, Abuja.
Aiyedatiwa had dragged the Ondo State Government, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the Assembly, Clerk, and the Chief Judge to court over the plan to impeach him from office.
In the first application, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa had sought the leave of court to amend the Originating Summons, by striking out the name of the Governor and also amending the reliefs sought in the Originating Summons.
In the affidavit in support of the application deposed on October 3, 2023, by an aide to the Deputy Governor, it was stated that there is a need to amend the Originating Summons to bring the real issues in controversy between the parties before the Court.
Although the Defendants through their Counsel, Emmanuel Emodamori did not file any counter-affidavit to the said application, they however opposed it on points of law.
Emodamori said the claim of Aiyedatiwa against the defendants is to prevent them from discharging their constitutional functions as enshrined in section 188 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
Also, he challenged the competence of the substantive suit of the Deputy Governor, relying on section 188(10) of the Constitution which was said to oust the jurisdiction of the court. He contended that the suit was premature since the Assembly is yet to conclude the proceedings of removal especially when there is no request before the Chief Judge to constitute a panel of investigators.
The Assembly also contended that the Akure case constitutes an abuse of the process of the court because a similar suit was also filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja presided by Justice Nwete.
In her ruling, Justice Akintan-Osadeybay rejected the amendment to the originating summons which sought to remove the name of the governor and amend the reliefs before the court. She held that no amendment can cure an incompetent suit.
Her words “An incompetent process cannot be amended. The original case is fundamentally bad.”
The judge said the reliefs sought before the Federal High Court, Abuja are the same as the ones before her court. Since Federal and State High Courts have coordinated jurisdiction, the suit of the Deputy Governor constituted an abuse of the court process.
The judge however said she would not entertain the case as regards section 188 (10) of the 1999 constitution. She dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction and abuse of court process.