Court Reinstates Iroju And Dismisses Deputy Speaker Ondo


Yesterday, the Ondo State House of Assembly’s deputy speaker, Mr. Samuel Aderoboye, was removed from his position by an Akure High Court, which also mandated the reinstatement of Hon. Ogundeji Iroju.

The supposed expulsion of the state assembly member representing Odigbo Constituency 1 as deputy speaker by some Assembly members on November 24, 2020, was deemed unconstitutional, null, and void by the court, which was presided over by Justice Adetan Osadebey.

Ogundeji was impeached in 2020 as a result of a crisis that broke out in the House of Assembly leading up to the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, during which he fought an attempt to remove the then Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi. Aderoboye was subsequently appointed by the parliament to the role of deputy speaker, which he was holding yesterday when the court’s decision was announced.

Ogundeji, through his attorney Mr. Wale Omotoso (SAN), then expressed his displeasure with the assembly’s decision by approaching the court and claiming that the supposed impeachment did not adhere to the constitution’s criteria, rendering the assembly’s decision null and void. The legislator claimed that his expulsion violated Order Two, Section 9(1-10) of the rules and standing order of the state’s House of Assembly and that the law required a two-thirds majority of the members in order to impeach any of the senior officers of the assembly.

The impeachment proceeding was served through alternative means, according to the assembly, which was represented by the state’s attorney general and commissioner for justice, Mr. Charles Titiloye. Justice Osadebey concluded that the member did not received a fair trial because the alleged impeachment was made before the assembly appointed a panel to look into the matter.

,This, in her opinion, amounted to placing the wagon before the horse. The impeachment proceedings, according to her, were invalid because the claimant was not personally served by them. As required by the assembly’s procedures and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the judge further said that no legislative resolution was passed before the alleged impeachment was carried out, and not all members were present.

Nine out of the 26 members of the assembly disassociated themselves from the alleged impeachmen, and the court ruled that presence at legislative meetings was not equivalent to assent.
The court then ruled that Ogundeji should be reinstated, have all of his benefits paid up to date, and have his paraphernalia of office restored right away. In contrast, Aderoboye’s appointment was declared to be invalid.

As compensation for the humiliation the law maker  went through during his impeachment and suspension from the legislature, Justice Osadebey granted N10 million to be paid for damages.

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