…we’re unaware of any plot against chief judge, says Osun government
The Coalition of Civil Society organisations in Osun State has cautioned the executive arm of Government and the legislature with the judiciary in the State.
Specifically, the groups warned the Governor, Ademola Adeleke to cease any attempt to remove the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adebola Adepele-Ojo.
It also warned then State House of Assembly not to allow herself to be used as an instrument in illegality.
Besides, the groups condemned the appointment of Hashim Abioye, as the Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC).
At a press conference in Osogbo, jointly addressed by Ayodeji Ologun, Osun Masterminds, Emmanuel Olowu, Committee for Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Ismaheel Adedokun, Dialogue 360 and Wole Folaranmi, Vice Chairman, OSCSC, noted that the independence of the Judiciary is a cornerstone of any democratic society, and any attempt to undermine or interfere with the judiciary compromises the very foundation of the rule of law.
According to them, the Chief Judge, in her capacity, has a constitutional duty to uphold justice and ensure the fair and impartial administration of the law. Her commitment to these principles should be celebrated, not met with attempts at removal for political reasons.
They stated that the move to remove the CJ is particularly troubling as it appears to be a reprisal against the Chief Judge for her principled stand against attempts to manipulate the judiciary in the state.
The groups called on the Governor to respect the independence of the judiciary and immediately cease any attempts to remove the Chief Judge based on her principled stance.
“The coalition of civil society groups committed to upholding the principles of justice, transparency, and the rule of law, strongly condemns the recent attempt by the Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, to illegally remove the Chief Judge of Osun State, Honorable Justice Adebola Adepele Ojo.
“As Civil Society Organizations, we are deeply concerned about the implications of this action on the integrity of the judiciary in Osun State. The judiciary plays a crucial role in maintaining the checks and balances essential to a well-functioning democracy. Any interference in its operations erodes public trust and undermines the constitutional framework that guarantees the separation of powers.
“We hereby call on Governor Ademola Adeleke to respect the independence of the judiciary and immediately cease any attempts to remove the Chief Judge based on her principled stance. The judiciary must be allowed to operate without fear of reprisal or political interference, ensuring that justice is served impartially and without bias.
“The Assembly should know that nowhere in the world does the legislature have power to suspend nor remove a judicial officer like a chief justice of the state, only the National Judicial Council has such power and in this case, we have taken the matter to them for proper investigation of the issues that might have been raised.
“The Executive arm of Government in the state and the Legislature should be guided by Chapter 7, section 292 of the Nigerian Constitution which is the grand nom.”
Speaking on the appointment of OSIEC chairman, the groups said it was disgusting to appoint a card-carrying member of PDP to occupy such an independent office.
They stated that the appointment of a partisan figure to head an independent electoral commission contradicts the fundamental principle of ensuring a non-partisan, impartial, and transparent electoral process.
In a swift reaction, the state government said that it was unaware of any plot against the state Chief Judge, even as it affirms its commitment to due process and stipulated regulations across the arms of government.
The commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Oluomo Kolapo Alimi, in a statement said: “The State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke and his team are preoccupied with delivering on good governance to the citizenry with no time for diversionary conducts.
The statement partly reads: “The government also wishes to state that the constitution and the state laws clearly spell out responsibilities of state officials. The same laws lay out rules for accountability and transparency across government sectors. The Governor and all government officials whether elected or appointed into any arm of government are not immune from the accountability process.
“The Governor is therefore not in a position to stop the legislature from doing her statutory job and neither can the Governor hamstring the judiciary in the performance of its duties.
“The Governor is however committed to supporting all arms of government to operate within the ambit of the law and constitution.
“We urge the public to take note that the Governor will not be involved in anything against the law, due process and constitution of the Republic of Nigeria.”