A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the APC factional Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, the state Chief Judge, the Inspector-General of Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission to appear before it on April 16 in a suit seeking to stop the impeachment of the State Governor, Ayo Fayose.
The PDP factional Speaker of the House of Assembly, Olugbemi Joseph Dele, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Fayose and Olusola are joined as co-plaintiffs in the suit.
APC factional Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adewale Omirin, the state Chief Judge, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, and the Independent National Electoral Commission are joined as co-defendants.
Fayose and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, had in the main suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/302/2015, dated April 7, sought to stop the impeachment proceedings commenced against them by the All Progressives Congress members of the state House of Assembly.
Delivering ruling on the ex-parte application, Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered the four defendants to appear in court to show cause why the application for an order of interim injunction brought by the plaintiffs seeking to halt the impeachment proceedings should not be granted.
The judge ordered: “The order is hereby made directing the 1st to 4th defendants (Omirin, IGP, INEC and Ekiti CJ), to appear before this court on April 16, 2015 and show cause why the interim order sought by the plaintiffs via an ex parte motion dated April 7, 2015 should not be made by this court.”
The judge also refused to grant the plaintiffs’ prayers seeking to set aside the impeachment notice served on them and halt further moves to remove them from office.
The court, however, granted the plaintiffs’ prayers contained in the application vis-a-vis the service of the court processes on the defendants by granting leave to serve Omirin and Justice Daramola, who reside in Ekiti State, outside Abuja jurisdiction.
It also ordered that Omirin and the Ekiti State Chief Judge be served through advertisement in a national newspaper and made a separate order that the Chief Judge be served with processes of court through the office of the Chief Registrar of the Ekiti State High Court.
Raji had urged the court to grant the interim injunction setting aside the impeachment notice already served on the governor and the deputy and also restraining the defendants from taking any further steps in the impeachment moves.
He had argued that the act by Omirin to issue an impeachment notice and serve same on the governor and the deputy governor as Speaker of the House of Assembly amounted to impersonating the incumbent Speaker.
“The gravamen of our complaint is that a former Speaker of the parliament, the Ekiti State House of Assembly, in the person of the 1st respondent (Omirin) is trying to impersonate the 1st plaintiff (Dele) who is the current Speaker of the parliament,” Raji said.
He had, therefore, sought, among others: “An order of injunction restraining the 1st defendant (Dele) and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff (Ekiti State House of Assembly) from further taking any step or engaging in unlawful activities relating to the impeachment of Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Kolapo Olusola as governor and deputy governor of Ekiti State.
“An interim order of injunction restraining the Chief Judge of Ekiti State from taking any step or action in relation to the request of the 1st defendant (Omirin) for the purpose of appointing a panel of seven persons to investigate the purported allegations of gross misconduct against Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Kolapo Olusola.
“An interim order of injunction restraining the police from continuing to abet, give cover, protection or lend credence to the activities of the 1st defendant and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff for self-help in disruption of legislative proceedings in the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
“An interim order of injunction setting aside the purported notice of impeachment and all the steps taken by the 1st defendant and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff in relation to the purported issuance and service of the notice of impeachment for the purpose of commencing and concluding impeachment proceedings against Peter Ayodele Fayose and Dr. Kolapo Olusola.”
The plaintiffs had urged the court to grant the prayers and make the interim injunctions to subsist pending the determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunctions seeking the same set of prayers.
The plaintiffs’ counsel had urged the court to grant the prayers “in the interest of justice, public order, peace and safety of the people of the state”.
Justice Mohammed also ordered that hearing notices be served on all the defendants and adjourned the case until April 16 for hearing.