Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke has backtracked on his earlier announcement, refuting the suspension of the State Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Ojo.
The Governor clarified that he merely conveyed the resolution of the House of Assembly, which requested the Chief Judge to “step aside” pending the investigation into allegations of corruption against her.
Recall that last Thursday, the Governor’s spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, had issued a statement disclosing the Governor’s approval of the CJ’s suspension pending the investigation.
Another statement on the same day announced the appointment of Justice Olayinka Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge, with a swearing-in scheduled for the following Friday.
In a statement released by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, on Sunday, it was clarified that the Governor had not appointed any judicial officer as the acting Chief Judge. Instead, the Governor had recommended the judge to the National Judicial Council, being the most senior in line.
“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 in 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 limits 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”.