Shaibu: Seven-member panel begins sitting

Edo Deputy Governor dared his boss, declared for 2024 poll

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The impeachment process of the Deputy Governor of Edo State Philip Shaibu has commenced Newsspec learnt.

The seven-member panel appointed by Justice Daniel Okungbowa, the Chief Judge of Edo State, started its sitting on Wednesday, 03 April 2024.

The panel is looking into the accusations of wrongdoing made against the Deputy Governor.

Following the resolution by the House of Assembly that started the impeachment process against Shaibu, Justice Okungbowa established the panel, which is chaired by retired Justice S. A. Omonuwa.

Prof. Oladoyin Awoyale (SAN) represented Shaibu at the panel on Wednesday while Mr. Joe Ohiafi, Deputy Clerk, Legal, represented the House of Assembly.

The impeachment procedure is the latest in the dispute between Shaibu and his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki, which is said to have started when Shaibu declared his desire to contest for Edo Governorship on September 21.

A statement by the administrative secretary of the panel, George Odidi, last Thursday reads: “Take notice that consequent upon the inauguration of the above panel by His Lordship the Hon. Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice Daniel Okungbowa, in line with Section 188 Subsection 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the said panel shall commence sitting at Judges Conference room, New High Court Complex, Benin City on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 10am prompt.

“Parties and/or their counsel are expected to be present on that day while the complainant is expected to be ready to present its case on that day.”

Meanwhile, Shaibu, has prayed the seven-member investigative panel to obey an interlocutory injunction of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

Shaibu, through his lawyer said the panel’s sitting to investigate him would amount to fait accompli.
He argued that there was a subsisting order of interlocutory injunction granted by an Abuja Federal High Court and further hearing had been adjourned to April 8.

Awoyale argued that with the court’s order, all parties are advised to obey the ruling.

However, counsel to the House of Assembly and Deputy Clerk, Legal Department, Joe Oaifi, argued that the panel’s sitting was supported by Section 188 (10) of the constitution which foreclosed any court from preventing the House of Assembly and the panel from discharging its constitutional responsibilities.

Justice Omotosho turned down Awoyale’s request for an order for parties to maintain status quo.

“Counsel, you know that it is not possible,” he said

The judge held that the previous case cited by the lawyer was not applicable in the instant suit.

He said that in the authority cited about military administrator of Lagos State, all the parties in the suit had been served, but in the present case, some parties were yet to be served.

“Today, we are just seeking for leave to serve the parties by substituted means. So can this court grant this, the answer is no,” the judge said.

Justice Omotosho, however, advised the lawyer to apply for a fiat, through the chief judge of FHC, so that their case could be heard during vacation as the court would commence its vacation on Friday.

The judge, who granted the leave for substituted service as prayed by the lawyer, adjourned the matter until April 15 for hearing.

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