Adeleke, Assembly Lose As Court Affirms Justice Adepele Ojo As Osun Chief Judge


Apr 26, 2024

In a landmark ruling, the National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan has reaffirmed Justice Adepele Ojo as the Chief Judge of Osun State, granting all reliefs sought by her against the Osun State Government and the Osun State House of Assembly. The court’s decision, delivered by Justice Peters on Wednesday under case file NICN/IB/62/2023, includes a perpetual injunction restraining both the executive and legislative arms of Osun State from removing her as the state’s top judicial officer.

This judgment brings an end to the protracted legal battle between Justice Ojo and the state authorities, which began in 2023 when the Osun State Assembly passed a motion to suspend her from office. The assembly’s action was widely criticized by legal experts and civil society groups, who argued that it was an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

Following the assembly’s motion, Governor Ademola Adeleke forwarded a recommendation to the Chief Justice of the Federation, seeking the appointment of an acting Chief Judge. However, Justice Ojo approached the National Industrial Court, seeking a restraining order to prevent her removal from office. The court granted the order, and Justice Ojo has remained in office despite the attempts to remove her.

In its ruling, the National Industrial Court held that the Osun State Assembly’s motion to suspend Justice Ojo was unlawful and unconstitutional. The court also declared that the governor’s attempt to appoint an acting Chief Judge was null and void, as it was made without the required consultation with the National Judicial Council.

The perpetual injunction issued by the court restrains the Osun State Government and the Osun State House of Assembly from taking any further steps to remove Justice Ojo from office. The injunction also prohibits the governor from appointing an acting Chief Judge without following the proper procedures laid down by law.

The ruling has been hailed as a victory for the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Osun State. Legal experts have praised the National Industrial Court for its courage and decisiveness in upholding the Constitution and protecting the rights of Justice Ojo.

In a statement, the Osun State Government spokesperson and Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, said that the government respects the court’s decision and will not appeal the ruling. Alimi praised Governor Adeleke for his commitment to the rule of law and his respect for the judiciary, and assured that the government will continue to work with Justice Ojo and the judiciary to ensure the effective administration of justice in Osun State.

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