The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) on Friday in Osogbo urged Osun’s Gov. Ademola Adeleke to reinstate the suspended Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo, in recognition of Thursday’s decision by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The NJC on Thursday in Abuja rejected Adeleke’s request to remove Ojo from office and appoint the next most senior judge in the state, Justice David Afolabi, in acting capacity.
Adeleke had earlier suspended Ojo from office citing a resolution of the state’s House of Assembly.
The NJC also rejected the resolution of the House of Assembly.
“The NJC affirms that Justice Ojo is still the recognised Chief Judge of Osun and will not act on the resolution of a House of Assembly.
“Consequently, Osun should revert to the status quo,’’ the NJC ruled.
NJC’s decisions were reached at its 104th meeting chaired by the Chief Judge of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
APM’s chairman in Osun, Mr Wale Adebayo, stated on Friday that the NJC had fulfilled its duties as outlined in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution.
He commended the verdict of the NJC which nullified efforts to remove Justice Ojo from office over alleged misconduct.
“The NJC, being the only constitutional body empowered to investigate judiciary officers and take appropriate actions has recognised Justice Ojo, disregarding the House of Assembly’s resolution.
“We as a political party criticised the process that led to the suspension of Justice Ojo and appealed to Gov. Adeleke to return her to office,’’ Adebayo stated.
Osun chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on a peaceful protest on Nov. 20, picketing the office of Justice Ojo.
They demanded reasons for the delay in the payment of their wardrobe allowances since 2021, in spite of funding by the state government.
They also demanded reasons behind what they called unlawful suspension of some JUSUN members from office for upwards of 57 months without proper investigation, among other issues.
Chairman of the union, Mr Oluwagbemiga Eludire, had told newsmen that the picketing of Justice Ojo’s office had nothing to do with her suspension from office the previous Thursday and the reversal on Sunday.
Gov. Adeleke announced the suspension of Justice Ojo from office, but reversed himself after a public uproar condemning the action.
In a statement issued by Gov. Adeleke’s spokesman, Mr Olawale Rasheed, he said Adeleke approved the suspension of Justice Ojo after the resolution of the House of Assembly.
He stated that the house resolution was to give the legislature room to investigate its allegations of misconduct, abuse of power, corruption and disregard for the rule of law made against the chief judge.
Rasheed stated that Gov. Adeleke also approved the appointment of Justice Olayinka Afolabi as the Acting Chief Judge of the state.
He stated that Gov. Adeleke had directed his deputy, Mr Kola Adewusi to swear in Afolabi in acting capacity pending approval by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in Abuja.
The swearing in of Justice Afolabi did not hold, however, as Adewusi, scheduled to oversee the event, and Justice Afolabi himself did not show up at the venue of the exercise.
Justice Ojo’s travails reportedly began after she sentenced a popular hotelier in Ile-Ife, Osun to death by hanging over the murder of a guest in his hotel. (NAN)