Osun State Government has denied appointing Justice Olayinka David Afolabi as the Acting Chief Judge of the state, clarifying that Governor Ademola Adeleke had only forwarded the resolution of the House of Assembly and recommendation for an acting appointment to the Chief Justice of the Federation for decision and action.
It would be recalled that government had on Thursday, November 16, announced the appointment of Afolabi, as Acting Chief Judge in a statement signed by the spokesperson to the Governor, Mallam Olawale Rasheed.
The statement read that, “Governor Ademola Adeleke has appointed Justice Olayinka David Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge of Osun state with immediate effect following the approval of the resolution of the House of Assembly.”
However, in a retraction on Sunday, the government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, denied that it appointed an Acting Chief Judge, pending the conclusion of investigations into allegations of gross misconduct, corruption and abuse of office by Justice Adepele-Ojo.
The government explained that Governor Adeleke did not appoint Justice Afolabi in acting capacity but as a recommendation to the National Judicial Council, which is responsible for handling matters involving judicial officers in the country.
Alimi stressed further that what happened was that the petitions against Justice Adepele-Ojo were forwarded alongside the recommendation that the most senior Judge in line be in acting capacity, till the NJC determines the issues before it.
The statement reads in part, “The government of Osun state has denied news reports that Governor Ademola Adeleke has removed the Chief Judge and appointed an acting Chief Judge, clarifying that the Governor had only forwarded the resolution of the House of Assembly and recommendation for an acting appointment to the Chief Justice of the Federation for decision and action.
“With all sense of responsibility ,it is important to set the records straight that Governor Adeleke has only duly notified the Chief Justice as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) in writing about the resolutions of the House of Assembly following a series of petitions made against the sitting Chief Judge of Osun State.
“In the communication, Mr Governor intimated the CJN of the recommendation of the House that the Chief Judge should step aside and included his own submission for an acting appointment to fill the vacuum while the NJC reviews and decides on the petition.
“To that end, the Governor in the same letter recommended to the CJN ,the appointment of the most senior judicial officer, Hon.Justice Olayinka David Afolabi for thorough consideration and further processing by the same NJC through the CJN
“We urge the public to note that while the House of Assembly recommended the appointment of a replacement to the Governor in its resolution, the Governor however toed the line of law by writing the CJN on the entire development and submitting all materials for NJC as mandated national agency.
“We therefore wish to state categorically that Governor Adeleke has not appointed any judicial official as Acting Chief Judge and nobody has been sworn as Acting Chief Judge of Osun state.
“Governor Adeleke is a man of due process and rule of law with a deep level of respect for the bar and the bench, the NJC and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We assure the public that Mr Governor is fully aware of the limit of his powers as well as the responsibilities of the various agencies of government and will therefore not act in any way to violate the constitution and rule of law,” the statement added.