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Impeachment: Supreme Court issues Akala red card

Posted by By GODWIN TSA, Abuja on 2006/12/08 | Views: 675 |

Impeachment: Supreme Court issues Akala red card


The curtain was on Thursday drawn on the reign of Adebayo Alao-Akala as governor of Oyo State, when the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division, nullifying all the process leading to the impeachment of Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

The curtain was on Thursday drawn on the reign of Adebayo Alao-Akala as governor of Oyo State, when the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division, nullifying all the process leading to the impeachment of Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

In affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeal, six justices of the apex court gave a summary judgment dismissing the appeal filed by 18 members of the Oyo State House of Assembly as unmeritorious.

The court has, however, fixed January 12, 2007 to give reasons for its judgment.
Wild jubilation by supporters of Governor Ladoja, who thronged the court premises, greeted the judgment.
However, one of the justices, Justice George Oguntade declined to volunteer an opinion on the appeal, insisting to have a critical look at the constitutional issues raised in the appeal before taking a position.

He said: "This appeal raised very important constitutional issues. Also involved is the right to fair hearing. I have pleaded unsuccessfully with my colleagues on this bench that the matter be adjourned for a week to enable us consider the judicial authorities cited by counsel.
"I am unable to express a view on that judgment without first taking a look at the judicial authorities cited and fully digest the law on the matter and since the matter has been adjourned till January 12, I intend to react to the judgment given," he said.

Notwithstanding, the presiding justice, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, who delivered the lead judgment with which five other justices agreed, said: "Having looked at the briefs, the record of this case and the oral submissions of counsels, in view of the fact that time is of essence in this case, I am of the opinion that judgment should be given immediately.

"I hereby dismiss the appeal in its entirety as it is unmeritorious. The judgment of the Court of Appeal is hereby affirmed. I will give the reason for the judgment January 12, 2007."
He called on his fellow justices one after the other and each said that he agreed with the judgment, except Justice Oguntade.

The judgment of the apex court was a novel one as it took journalists, lawyers and others who had come to listen to arguments by surprise. The expectation was that the case would be adjourned after hearing for judgment.
The apex court had gone on recess for about 45 minutes only to return to give the judgment.
Meanwhile, counsel to Ladoja has written to the Inspector General of police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero asking him not to only restore fully the security details of Governor of Oyo State, but to also "ensure that a conducive atmosphere is created to enable him immediately resume the duties of his office as governor of Oyo State without any let or hindrance."

The letter reads in part: "We are happy to inform you that the Supreme Court of Nigeria, sitting as a full constitutional court comprising seven eminent justices today, December 7, 2006, instantly dismissed the appellants’ appeal as unmeritorious and without any substance. The apex court went further to uphold in its entirety the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on November 1, 2006."
Earlier, while canvassing arguments before the court, counsel to the 18 lawmakers who led the appeal, Ayanlaja, said that there was a motion to amend the notice of appeal, adding that the brief was based on the amended notice of appeal.

Wole Olanipekun (SAN) contended that his brief was based on the amended notice and grounds of appeal. There was no objection to the amended notice of appeal since his brief was based on it.
Although the court could not find the motion it still agreed that it was properly filed.
Responding to the position of the lawyers, Justice Dahiru Musdapher stated: "We all agreed to hear the appeal today. You cannot now be applying for leave to appeal. That means there is no appeal before us. You filed the appeal relying on incompetent grounds and now you are asking us to grant you leave to appeal."

The following arguments ensued among counsels in the matter;
Olanipekun: "After we raised objections, he is now asking for leave to appeal."
Ayanlaja: This appeal is an important one. We are still within time to file our appeal. We are in problem because of the abridgement your lordships made."

Ayanlaja was asked to move his application. He so moved.
Olanipekun, who said he was opposing the move because the application constituted an abuse of court process, later withdrew the opposition.

The court that said that if anyone opposes, the appeal would be adjourned to January. Ayanlaja adopted the appellant briefs and the reply briefs saying: "I have nothing more to add. I urge your lordship to allow the appeal. The brief is comprehensive enough."

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.