- Faults CJ for swearing in Onoja
Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja
A Kogi State High Court, sitting in Lokoja, thursday declared the impeachment of former Deputy Governor of the state, Simon Achuba, null, void and unconstitutional.
Delivering his judgment, Justice John Olorunfemi declared the decision of the state House of Assembly to proceed with the impeachment of Achuba last October as an act of “legislative rascality, devoid of reasoning.”
The judge noted that he could not understand why the legislators whose responsibility it is to make laws for the state now turned out to be law breakers, choosing to proceed with the purported impeachment even when the seven-man committee set out by the state chief judge to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the former deputy governor had cleared him.
He, therefore, granted all the prayers of the defendant to the effect that the impeachment and subsequent swearing in of Chief Edward Onoja on October 18, 2019 is null, void and therefore is of no consequence.
Justice Olorunfemi said the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajana, should not have gone ahead with the swearing-in of Onoja as no further action should have taken place after the “no guilty verdict” of the seven-man committee set up to investigate the deputy governor.
Justice Olorunfemi also ordered that all the reliefs sought by the claimant be granted without further delay.
Some of the reliefs include recognising him as deputy governor of the state and the payment of all his entitlements.
Reacting to the judgment, Ojonimi Apeh who represented Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), counsel to the plaintiff, described the court’s decision as a victory for democracy and rule of law.
He commended the judge for the well-researched judgment and the industry put into writing it, adding that they are prepared to meet their opponents at the Court of Appeal should they not be satisfied with decision of the court.
Also speaking on the court’s decision, Yemi Mohammed, who represented the Justice Ajana, commended the judge for the judgment but absolved his client from blame, adding that Justice Ajana only discharged his administrative duty as there was no court injunction for the new deputy governor not to be sworn in at that time.