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Court Stops Akeredolu, Others Over CJ Probe, As Governor Knows Fate In April

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Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu

A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the House of Assembly, Attorney General (AG) and three others from taking any further step in relation to the alleged probe of the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, over a viral video by Olupelumi Fagboyegun.

Also to be affected by the order are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), who are listed as defendants in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/2016/2021, filed by Justice Akeredolu.

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order yesterday in a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by Justice Akeredolu, who alleged, among others that the decision by the state government, through the former Attorney General, Charles Titiloye, to refer the allegations made against her and the state’s judiciary by Fagboyegun in the viral video to the House of Assembly for investigation, was an illegal act designed to remove her from office.

Justice Ekwo restrained the Governor, the AG and the House of Assembly from proceeding with the planned probe, and equally barred the AGF, NJC and the IGP from acting on any report submitted to them by the Ondo State Government pending the determination of the main suit.

The judge, who granted the four principal reliefs contained in the application, moved by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), ordered the service of all originating processes in the suit on the defendants and adjourned till March 5 for hearing of the plaintiff’s motion on notice.

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Governor Akeredolu will know his fate in April in the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last year’s governorship election, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede.

The Chairman of the Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal, Justice Umar Abubakar, yesterday fixed April as the month to deliver judgment on the petition.

Jegede is asking the tribunal to declare him winner based on alleged irregularities and that Governor Akeredolu was not validly nominated by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He, however, failed to call any of the 400 witnesses listed in the petition, as he testified for himself.

Justice Abubakar gave the month to deliver judgment after counsel to the parties adopted their written addresses.

Counsel to the petitioner, Onyechi Ikpeazu, said the defence counsel tried to trivialise a constitutional matter.

He insisted that Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, were not validly nominated by their party.

Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Charles Edosomwan, prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

Akin Olujimi, counsel to Akeredolu, said the petitioner failed to prove that Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa were not validly nominated for the election.

He said Jegede’s petition was chasing shadows and wasting the time of the tribunal.

Justice Abubakar, however, hailed the cooperation of the counsel, saying the date for judgment would be communicated to the concerned parties.

NATION

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