Counsel to the Ondo State House of Assembly, Femi Emmanuel Emodamori, esq on Friday filed a preliminary objection asking an Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure to dismiss a suit instituted by the State Deputy Governor, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
The Ondo State High Court had earlier granted leave to the Deputy Governor, to serve all processes filed in the suit on the State House of Assembly, Speaker of the Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, and the Clerk, Benjamin Jaiyeola.
Justice O. Akintan-Osadebay ordered that all processes filed in the suit be served on the defendants by posting on the front side wall/fence or entrance gate or any conspicuous area of the Assembly Complex.
However, in the preliminary objection filed on 29th September, 2023 shortly after the Court Bailiff carried out the substituted service on his clients, the Assembly’s lawyer submitted that the case filed by the Deputy Governor at the State High Court through his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN is incompetent on the grounds that no court has the jurisdiction to entertain any case trying to stop an impeachment process at the stage when the plaintiff filed the suit, since he had not even been served the notice of allegations of gross misconduct when he rushed to the court.
Emodamori relied on S188 (10) of the Constitution and the decisions of the appellate courts in similar situations, including Abaribe v. Abia State House of Assembly, where he said the appellate court ruled that no court has jurisdiction to entertain any case of alleged breach of fair hearing when the process has not even reached the stage when the Chief Judge sets up the 7-man impeachment panel to hear the allegations of gross misconduct as required by S. 188 (5) of the constitution.
Emodamori said the House of Assembly has not breached any impeachment procedure stipulated in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The Assembly’s Counsel also noted in the preliminary objection that the State High Court should dismiss Hon Aiyedatiwa’s suit based on the fact that the same Deputy Governor had earlier filed another suit at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja against the same persons/parties and seeking the same reliefs, thereby turning the suit at the Ondo State High Court to multiplicity of action, forum shopping, and a gross abuse of judicial process.
The case at the Ondo High Court has now been fixed for hearing on 6th October, 2023 before Hon. Justice Akintan Osadebay.
On a letter he wrote to the State Chief Judge, Emodamori said “Just like Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN wrote the Chief Judge to refrain from setting up an Impeachment Panel on the ground that the case is already in court, we also wrote the Hon. Chief Judge citing relevant laws why he must ignore any purported injunction granted by the Federal High Court Abuja and set up the panel if and whenever his lordship is required to do so, since the purported injunction is illegal by numerous decisions of the apex court in similar situations, and all authorities and persons, including both the Federal and State High Courts, the Hon. Chief Judge himself and the State House of Assembly, must follow and enforce the decisions of the apex courts as stipulated in section 287(1) & (2) of the Constitution.”