Court refuses to stop impeachment proceedings against Fayose, deputy

(PUNCH) Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, on Wednesday failed in their legal bid to stop the impeachment moves being made against them by the All Progressives Congress members of the state House of Assembly.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday rejected their prayers contained in an ex parte application seeking interim injunction to set aside the impeachment notice served on them and halt further moves to remove them from office.

The court only granted prayers contained in the ex parte application relating to service of the court processes on the defendants.

Rather than granting the prayers for interim injunction, Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered the defendants in the suit, including the APC factional Speaker of the House of ‎Assembly, Adewale Omirin, and the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, to appear in court on April 16.

The court ordered the defendants to appear in court to show cause why the order of interim injunction being sought by the plaintiffs halting the impeachment proceedings should not be granted.

‎Apart from Omirin and Justice Daramola, other defendants in the suit are the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The plaintiffs in the suit are the Speaker of the House of Assembly (described as being occupied by the Peoples Democratic Party factional Speaker, Olugbemi Joseph Dele); Ekiti State House of Assembly, Fayose and Olusola.

Counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr. Ahmed Raji, had sought ‎the interim injunctions halting the impeachment moves through an ex parte application dated and filed on April 7, 2015.

He had urged the court to grant the interim injunction setting aside the impeachment notice already served on the governor and the deputy and also restraining the defendants from taking any further steps in the impeachment moves.

The lawyer argued that the act by Omirin to issue an impeachment notice and serve same on the governor and the deputy governor as Speaker of the House of Assembly amounted to ‎impersonating the incumbent Speaker.

“The gravamen of our complaint is that a former Speaker of the parliament, the Ekiti State House of Assembly, in the person of the 1st respondent (Omirin) is trying to impersonate the 1st plaintiff (Dele) who is the current Speaker of the parliament,” Raji said.

Part of the orders sought in the ex parte application are “An order of injunction restraining the 1st defendant (Dele) and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff (Ekiti State House of Assembly) from further taking any step or engaging in unlawful activities relating to the impeachment of Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Kolapo Olusola as governor and deputy governor of Ekiti State.

“An interim order of injunction restraining the Chief Judge of Ekiti State from taking any step or action in relation to the request of the 1st defendant (Omirin) for the purpose of appointing a panel of seven persons to investigate the purported allegations of gross misconduct against Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Kolapo Olusola.

“An interim order of injunction restraining the police from continuing to abet, give cover, protection or lend credence to the activities of the 1st defendant and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff for self-help in disruption of legislative proceedings in the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

“An interim order of injunction setting aside the purported notice of impeachment and all the steps taken by the 1st defendant and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff in relation to the purported issuance and service of the notice of impeachment for the purpose of commencing. And concluding impeachment proceedings against Peter Ayodele Fayose. And Dr. Kolapo Olusola.”

The plaintiffs had urged the court to grant the prayers and make the interim injunctions to subsist pending the determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunctions seeking the same set of prayers.

Raji urged the court to grant the prayers “in the interest of justice, public order, peace and safety of the people of the state”.

‎But the judge in his ruling rather than granting the interim injunctions ordered the parties to appear in court to convince the court why the plaintiffs’ prayers for interim injunction should not be granted.

Justice Mohammed ruled, “The order is hereby made directing the 1st to 4th defendants (Omirin, IGP, INEC and Ekiti CJ), ‎to appear before this court on April 16, 2015 and show cause why the interim order sought by the plaintiffs via an ex parte motion dated April 7, 2015 should not be made by this court.”

But the court granted other prayers contained in the ex parte motion relating to service of the court processes, including the main suit) on the defendants.

The court granted leave to serve Omirin and Justice Daramola, who reside in Ekiti State, outside jurisdiction.

It also ordered that Omirin and the Ekiti State Chief Judge be served through advertisement in a national newspaper.

It also made a separate order that the Chief Judge be served with processes of court through the office of the Chief Registrar of of the Ekiti State High Court.

In their main suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/302/2015, ‎the plaintiffs are seeking nine prayers among which is “an order setting aside the purported notice of impeachment and all steps taken by the 1st defendant (Omirin) with other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff (Ekiti State House of Assembly) in relation to the purported issuance and service of the said notice of impeachment for the purpose of commencing and concluding the impeachment proceedings against Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Olusola Kolapo, except and until there is absolute compliance with provisions of section 36(1) and section 188(1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

Other prayers being sought by the plaintiffs include, “An order prohibiting the 1st defendant (Omirin) and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff (Ekiti State House of Assembly) from further taking any step, or engaging in unlawful activities relating to the impeachment of Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Olusola Kolapo, except and until there is absolute compliance with provisions of section 36(1) and section 188(1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“An order prohibiting the Chief Judge of Ekiti State from taking any step or action in relation to the request of the 1st defendant (Omirin) for the purpose of appointing a panel of seven persons to investigate and purported allegations of gros misconduct against Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Olusola Kolapo, except and until there is absolute compliance with provisions of section 36(1) and section 188(1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).‎”

Justice Mohammed on Wednesday ordered that hearing notices be served on all the defendants and adjourned the matter till April 16.

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