Fayose's Impeachment: Omirin asks court to drop anti-impeachment suit
Estranged Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin, has challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop 19 Ekiti State All Progressives Congress, APC, lawmakers from impeaching the governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
Omirin, has therefore, asked Justice Evoh Chukwu to hands off the anti-impeachment suit that was lodged before the court by seven members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
The plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/3612015, are the seven- Dele Olugbemi Joseph, Ajibola Samuel Oyedele, Israel Olowo, Hon. Alex Ade Ojo, Adeyinka Adeloye, Adunni Modupe Olayinka and Ayoka Fatunmbi.
Aside, Omirin, the Inspector General of Police, the Ekiti State House of Assembly itself, and 20 others also joined as defendants in the suit.
However, only Omirin (the 2nd defendant) and the Clerk of the Ekiti State House of Assembly (the 21st defendant) entered appearance before the court over the matter yesterday.
Challenging the competence of the suit vide a preliminary objection yesterday, Omirin, through his lawyer Mr. Terence Vembe,insisted that the FHC in Abuja lacks the territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate on an issue that pertains to the desirability or otherwise of Governor Fayose to remain in office as the governor of Ekiti state.
The embattled Speaker further contended that the provisions of section 97 of Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act, which mandates that the plaintiffs ought to have firstly seek the leave of the Court before filing such suit out of jurisdiction.
Addressing the court through his lawyer, Omirin, maintained that neither himself nor his other APC brothers in the Ekiti State House of Assembly are bound to comply with any order from a court that ab-intio has no jurisdiction to entertain the primary case.
The high court had on April 23, 2015, ordered Omirin and the other 22 defendants in the suit to appear before him yesterday to show cause why the impeachment moves against governor Fayose and his deputy, Mr. Kolapo Olusola, should not be aborted.
Though counsel to the plaintiffs' Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), urged the court to go ahead and issue a restraining order against the APC lawmakers from taking further steps with regards to the moves to impeach Fayose, the court yesterday said it would hear and determine Omirin's preliminary objection first.
Justice Chukwu had earlier directed all the parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum, as at 23 April, 2014, pending the hearing and determination of the '' The APC lawmakers are learned enough to understand what the court is saying and because their duties are to the state and their people, the ruling will be correctly interpreted so that nobody offends Nigerian Constitution .''
The judge was quoted as saying that it will be contemptuous for any of the parties to the case to anything that will affect the merit of the matter, citing the case of Ojukwu vs. Gov Of Lagos State (1985).
During the hearing of the Suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/361/15 before Justice E. S. Chukwu yesterday,
Counsel to Dr Adewale Omirin and the 18 other APC lawmakers, Mr Vembere filed preliminary objection, challenging the court jurisdiction to hear the case.
Olugbemi and six others had filed the suit, seeking an order of injunction restraining the Clerk of the House from further according legislative privileges to Omirin and the other APC lawmakers in view of their continuous absence from meeting and legislative business of the State House of Assembly, and an order restraining the IGP from continuing to give cover, protection and shield to the APC lawmakers.
Olugbemi also sought from the court, an interim order setting aside all the activities, actions or steps taken by the APC lawmakers till date, including the purported commencement of impeachment proceedings and notice alleging misconduct against Governor Ayodele Fayose and his Deputy, Dr Olusola Eleka pending determination of the Motion on Notice and Interlocutory Injunction