There are some unpleasant stories surrounding Osun State’s Chief Judge’s suspension. Now a fact, the matter that was merely a rumor a few months ago. Upon the initial announcement of Ramon Adedoyin’s hanging sentence by the Chief Judge, the administration led by Adeleke refuted the news and placed the blame on activists and pressure groups for stirring citizens against the government.
Before the Adeleke-led administration was accused by a civil society organization of plotting to remove the Chief Judge from office three days ago, there was a comparatively calm state of affairs in the judiciary. Kolapo Alimi, the Commissioner for Information, stated on a radio show that the Governor does not plan to remove the Chief Judge from her position.
Just twelve hours after the radio interview, Governor Adeleke confirmed the Chief Judge’s suspension on Thursday through his spokesman. He also mentioned that Olayinka Afolabi will take over as Chief Judge the next day. Civil society organizations and attorneys, particularly the Nigeria Bar Association, criticized this declaration. They denounced the action and called for the decision to be immediately reversed.
Adepele Ojo is a victim of events and conditions. Legislators opposed her in 2012, even those who supported Rauf Aregbesola, when he nominated her for the position. The allegation was made that the nominee was not the most senior judge in the state’s judiciary. Additionally, they mentioned Sunday Ajewole, a former member of the state Judicial Service Commission, who filed a lawsuit against other commission members.
She eventually rose against all difficulties to become the state’s Chief Judge. Three years later, Aregbesola was instructed by Adepele Ojo to submit the state’s debt profile because she was concerned about the state’s financial situation. She did not get away with stepping on Phyton’s tail. Though she was barely bitten, she was saved from the agony of the phyton’s bite. It was Aregbesola who made her CJ who was planning her deportation. Years later, there were doubts about the removal procedure, and she was back in government. Here she is, as Chief Judge, going up against this same opponent three times in ten years.
It is impossible to categorically state that the beleaguered Chief Judge is a saint, but we must acknowledge that Governor Adeleke and his twenty-six (26) boys at the Osun State House of Assembly demonstrate a limited knowledge of the law, procedure, and governance. Should the Chief Judge be guilty of these allegations, she has been transformed to a heroine and victim of legislative error and executive rascality unknowingly.
Clever but not savvy are the persons in charge of Senator Ademola Adeleke’s affairs. They said that rather than the governor, the Assembly had suspended the Chief Judge. In order to support their resolution, they also assisted the Assembly in citing pertinent portions of the constitution. Should the Assembly ever convene to request clarifications regarding the state’s budget and projects, is it possible that the executive branch will give a similar level of cooperation to legislators and their constituents?
The Chief Judge was suspended by the “harsh” legislature, but the “nice and understanding” administration is the one who gave the justifications and pertinent constitutional passages that were pertinent to the resolution. Were they hoping that the public would praise the close ties between the legislative and executive branches? Obviously not.
Instead than harassing, intimidating, or oppressing the head of another branch of government, the executive and legislative branches should work together to implement the budget and improve its performance for the prosperity of the state. The power struggle and plot by the executive and legislative branches against the court is similar to the biblical “hand of Esau” and “voice of Jacob.” While the Chief Judge was suspended by Senator Ademola Adeleke, Osun Assembly was subjected to criticism and verbal violence.
Following the release of a statement attributed to Wale Egbedun, I thought that the sharer had contributed to the disseminating of misleading information on the matter about the head of the Osun assembly. My subsequent assumption was that this assertion was the product of a malicious or politically inebriated apologist hoping to gain acceptance within the governor’s group. Even after the assembly and the speaker signed it, I was still not convinced. Before a chief judge can be fired or dismissed from office, I reasoned, the head of an arm charged with establishing laws and whose job it is to read the constitution every day could not be that annoyingly ignorant of the legal positions.
Why does the Speaker have the audacity to remove the Chief Judge from office? Further investigation revealed that Egbedun’s problem stems from his lack of knowledge and comprehension of House business. He was forced in and set up as a puppet. We ought to feel sorry for the Assembly of young men, as they lack autonomous viewpoints regarding matters of state. Did the public anticipate that Wale Egbedun would defy the views of those who had imposed him on others? The legislature does not need a justification from Senator Adeleke to send Adepele Ojo away in order to appease him.
The administration and those who put him in charge of the legislature took advantage of his inexperience, lack of familiarity with House procedures, and naiveté—he had never studied law and was unaware of his responsibilities as leader of the body. Had he been a seasoned legislator, he would have been aware that the National Judicial Council plays a crucial role in the removal or suspension of a Chief Judge.
The administration’s attempt to disgrace the judiciary would not have succeeded if the Assembly had been filled with capable, brave, and nationalistic legislators. Most importantly, they would have prevented Senator Adeleke from sinking into political graves he had dug, and saved the state from disgrace. It is imperative that Rt. Hon. Wale Egbedun stops characterizing his colleagues as narrow-minded people or errand boys who are easily swayed by executive orders. Additionally, he must be aware that he is in control of an Assembly tasked with keeping an eye out for executive abuses.
The Osun Assembly has never had a better opportunity to demonstrate to the public that it is capable of carrying out its legislative obligations. The Osun people demand answers on everything from the N100 billion infrastructure fund to the N10 billion supplemental budget to the excesses seen in the 2024 budget, and the state assembly is the only place they can obtain them. In their attempt to stroke some people’s egos, the Osun Assembly must quit making constitutional mistakes and assist the governor in removing Adepele Ojo from the courts. The speaker and his associates should concentrate on their responsibilities and assist the indigent governor in navigating the state.
It follows that constitutional books should be mandated for the Governor, his advisors, and Assembly members. A comprehensive book that covers each and every provision of the constitution would be the best gift one could give Senator Adeleke and Assembly members. Better governance and true democratic dividends are highly desired by the people of Osun. It’s unlikely that any person would rather read speeches on legal procedures from their governor or Assembly members given by renowned national organizations or constitutional attorneys.
Unfortunately, the Adeleke-led administration concedes that she made a mistake. The statement announcing Olayinka Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge has been withdrawn. They have also decided that a chief judge cannot be removed or suspended by two thirds of the Assembly without the National Judicial Council’s consent. Senator Ademola Adeleke refuses to abide by the National Industrial Court’s judgment, which prevented him from dismissing or suspending the Chief Judge. I implore Senator Ademola Adeleke to give way to knowledge and reason. If not for him, then for the state’s reputation.
Dear Senator Ademola Adeleke, allow Adepele Ojo to breathe. Please, let Osun citizens breathe too.