An Akure High Court yesterday voided the appointment of Mr Samuel Aderoboye as Deputy Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly and ordered the reinstatement of Ogundeji Iroju as the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.
The Court, presided over by Justice Adetan Osadebey, described as illegal, null and void the purported removal of Ogundeji as the Deputy Speaker on November 24, 2020 by some members of the Assembly.
The leadership of the House in 2020 had removed Ogundeji following his disagreement with the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr David Oleyeloogun over the plan to remove from office, a former Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Agboola Ajayi.
The Assembly later appointed Aderoboye as the Deputy Speaker, the position he was occupying as at the time of the court judgment yesterday.
Displeased with the action of the Assembly, Ogundeji through his lawyer, Mr Wale Omotoso (SAN) approached the court describing the decision of the Assembly as nullity since the purported impeachment did not follow the constitutional requirements.
The lawmaker said his purported removal contravened order two section 9(1-10) of the rules and standing order of the State House of Assembly saying the law required two thirds majority of the members before any of the principal officers of the Assembly could be impeached.
However, the Assembly through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Titiloye said the impeachment followed due process as the impeachment proceeding was served through substituted means.
In her verdict, Justice Osadebey said the lawmaker was not given a fair hearing as the purported impeachment had been carried out before a panel to investigate him was set up by the Assembly.
This, she held, was like putting the cart before the horse. She said the claimant was not personally served by the impeachment proceedings, which made it a nullity.
Also, the judge said there was no parliamentary resolution before the purported impeachment was carried out and that not all members were present during the impeachment as required by the rules of the Assembly and the 1999 Constitution.
The court held that signing of parliamentary meeting attendance was not tantamount to consent as nine out of 26-member Assembly dissociated themselves from the purported impeachment.
Subsequently, the court ordered that Ogundeji should be reinstated and all his entitlements paid up-to-date while his paraphernalia of office should be restored immediately just as the appointment of Aderoboye was described as nullity.
Justice Osadebey awarded N10 million as damages for the humiliation suffered by the lawmaker during his purported impeachment and suspension from the Assembly.
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