The Ondo State High Court in Akure adjourned an impeachment case initiated by the ousted Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, for a substantive hearing on November 3rd, 2015.
Mr. Alhaji Olanusi is seeking the nullification of his impeachment by the State House of Assembly on the grounds that the process did not follow constitutional law.
Mr. Olansui's Counsel, Jide Ajana told journalists that the procedure used to impeach the former Deputy Governor was against the intent of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Mr. Ajana also claimed that the Lead Prosecutor of the impeachment, Olatunji Stanley Adeniyan, did not provide Mr. Olanusi a fair hearing prior to the commencement of the impeachment proceedings.
An investigation panel was organized to examine the various allegations of misconduct leveled against Mr. Olanusi. Mr. Ajana noted that this panel did not provide Mr. Olanusi with sufficient time to appear before it.
Zeril Akinsola, the Counsel to the defendants, raised an objection against Mr. Ajana representing Mr. Olanusi. Mr. Ajana was the former Attorney General of Ondo State, and therefore Mr. Akinsola argued, his representation of Mr. Olanusi was a conflict of interest.
However, Justice Olamide ruled that the counsel of Mr. Olanusi was fit to represent the complainant, and added that the objection lacked merit.
In an interview with reporters, Mr. Ajana noted that the Constitution is clear on the process of the impeachment adding that the impeachment process of his client did not follow the law.
"They [the Impeachment Panel] didn't even attempt to follow the letter and spirit of the Constitution in this so called ‘impeachment’. When this is done, where there is such failure to abide by the constitutional process, the court has jurisdiction to intervene and to restore order. By restore order, I mean the court has the jurisdiction to restore the purportedly impeached person back to his seat. And that is the situation in this case.”
Mr. Ajana continued, “The constitution spells out a time frame within which this process should be completed. When this particular impeachment was conducted the Deputy Governor [Mr. Olanusi] was not available, and was not even served personally.Even during a summons for impeachment you are provided eight days to respond. My client [Mr. Olanusi] was not even provided this time. Therefore the panel failed to follow the law.”