The query issued by the National Judicial Council to the Osun State Chief Judge to Justice Folahanmi Oloyede, has pitched two major civil society organisations in the state – Civil Society Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State and Osun Civil Societies Coalition – against each other.
The query by the NJC followed a petition to the Osun State of House of Assembly by the later NGO protesting the conduct of Justice Oloyede.
But the Civil Society Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State has described the query by the NJC as “misleading and grossly bias” and based on a petition written by people with questionable character.
“Those who authored the purported petition which the National Judicial Council relied on to issue the fresh query to Justice Oloyede are people of questionable character and aids to Governor Aregbesola, but hiding under civil society organization,” Mr. Adeniyi Suleiman, Chairman of the group said.
He said the Osun Civil Societies Coalition, which wrote the petition to the NJC is an agent of Mr. Aregbesola, and was sent out to set the NJC against the “courageous judge”.
He said Waheed Lawal, the leader of the three-person group that signed the petition to the NJC, is the immediate past Senior Special Assistant to Mr Aregbesola on Public and Civil Matters.
Mr. Suleiman said all the signatories to the petition to NJC had cases to answer and had questionable characters, and ought to have been investigated by the NJC as required by the 2014 National Judicial Council Disciplinary Regulations.
The Publicity Secretary of the group, Ismail Uthman, later told our reporter that Osun Civil Societies Coalition was not pro-Aregbesola and was only concerned about the sanctity of the judiciary.
“The judiciary is the last hope of the common man. If there is a crisis in the government, the judiciary as an arm of the government is the last hope for all, it should not be partisan,” Mr. Uthman said.
“We want the NJC to find out what necessitated the petition, because we feel strongly that it is politically motivated.”
In the petition, titled Request for Investigation of Justice Oloyede Olamide Fahanmi, addressed to the Secretary of the National Judicial Council, Osun Civil Societies Coalition held that the petition and action of the judge attracted a media frenzy derogatory to the esteem position and status of a judge of a high court.
The group informed the NJC that Ms. Oloyede’s petition “contained political statements, unsubstantiated allegations and accusations aimed at deriding, demeaning and undermining the government of the Stste of Osun, the person and character of the governor (as one who is cruel, a liar, and a traitor), his deputy and aides”.
It noted that the language and words used by Ms. Oloyede in the petition were unbecoming, maladroit and ungainly for the high standard of conduct expected of a ups judicial officer in the country.
“It is our belief that petitioner’s act constitutes gross misconduct and/or misbehavior that runs contrary to the code of conduct for judicial officers in the country and requires disciplinary action,” the OCSC stated.`
“We further believe that if the appropriate sanction is not meted on her, a floodgate will be opened and every willing and available judicial officer would soon become an instrument of use for the purpose of partisan politics.”
Ms. Oloyede’s petition is generally viewed within government circles as being sponsored, since it echoed the allegations of those in the opposition that the governor’s mismanagement of the state’s resources had resulted in the financial crisis in the state.
She had promptly urged the House of Assembly not only to investigate the governor, but also to proceed to impeach him and his deputy for alleged profligacy.
Justice Oloyede’s petition was thrown out by the House of Assembly on the grounds that she failed to substantiate her allegations.
The house also recommended her for sanctions, saying her allegations ridiculed the judiciary.