An eminent Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa, has described the refusal by Chief Judge of Ondo State to set up investigation panel at the request of the Speaker of House of Assembly of the State as a good step in the right direction.

He said:

“The refusal of the Hon the Chief Judge of Ondo state to set up a seven man panel to investigate the Deputy Governor of Ondo State at the instance of the Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly is a good step in the right direction and in obedience and fidelity to constitutional duty which his lordship sworn to defend and uphold.”

He said the Chief Judge of Kogi State lacked the courage to do something similar when the then Deputy Governor of Kogi State had a pending matter challenging his impeachment

“That is what a good judicial officer should do.That is a CJ that knows his onions. This was what the late CJ of Kogi State my state had lacked the courage to do when the Kogi State House of Assembly requested that a seven man Panel be set up to investigate the then Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba, who had gone to court to challenge the removal process being put in place then by the Kogi State House of Assembly.”

Okutepa (SAN) commended the Chief Judge. He said though the political class will not be happy with the decision of the CJ, the right members of the legal profession must applaud the boldness of the Honourable CJ.

“His lordship CJ of Ondo State, Hon Justice Oluwatoyin Akeredolu will go down in history as the first CJ that refused to set up a panel to investigate the Deputy Governor when litigation was pending. He said it was sub-judice.

“That is what a good judicial officer should do. Kudo to Akeredolu CJ.
There is no doubt that the political class who want the Deputy Governor removed may not find the decision of his lordship palatable and acceptable. But all right thinking members of the legal profession must stand by and applaud the bold decision of Akeredolu CJ.”

He said by law when a matter is pending in court, no party to it is allowed to do anything to undermine the judicial process.

“It is only the judiciary that can instil sanity into the political class. While the political class sworn to uphold and defend our constitution, practical conduct on their parts shows mockery of our constitutional democracy.” he said

Okutepa therefore urged other heads of courts to copy Akeredolu CJ and that electoral justice system requires bold statements as well

“The example of Akeredolu CJ must be copied by all heads of courts and other judicial officers when faced with decisions to defend our constitution.

“Our electoral justice too requires bold statements to put an end to political rascalities before, during or post elections disputes. For me Akeredolu CJ has done the right thing even if heaven falls even though heaven has never fallen and it will not fall.”

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