A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday granted an application filed by the former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, seeking urgent hearing in a fundamental rights enforcement suit challenging his impeachment.
Olanusi was impeached on April 27, by the Ondo State House of Assembly after being pronounced guilty of gross misconduct by a seven-man investigative panel headed by Mr. Olatunji Adeniyan.
Justice Mohammed Idris granted Olanusi’s application for urgent hearing after his lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, argued that the suit would be overtaken by events and become academic if it was not so heard.
Ogungbeje had informed the court that though the case was filed before an Akure Division of the Federal High Court, but had to be transferred to Lagos as the presiding judge in Ondo State, Justice I.N. Sanni, had proceeded on vacation which would last till September.
Idris, after hearing Ogungbeje, granted Olanusi’s application for urgent hearing and adjourned further proceedings till August 3.
Joined as first and second respondents are Olatunji Adeniyan, who headed the seven-man panel and the Inspector-General of Police, IGP.
In the fundamental application, Olanusi is seeking an order quashing the proceedings and the report of the Adeniyan-led seven-man impeachment panel which recommended him for impeachment.
He is also seeking an order nullifying his removal as the Ondo State deputy governor by the state House of Assembly on April 27.
The former deputy governor, through his lawyer is contending that “the sitting, conclusion of proceedings and submission of report by the panel within one day” denied him of his right to fair hearing as enshrined in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.
He is seeking a declaration that the failure of the first respondent to oblige the applicant adequate time and facility, as guaranteed under the constitution to defend the allegation of misconduct is a breach of his right to fair hearing and fair trial as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.”
He also alleged that the Adeniyan-led panel failed to personally serve him with the notice of the allegation of misconduct and thus urged the court to declare the notice null and void.