Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, have raced to a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the 19 All Progressives Congress members of the state House of Assembly from impeaching them.But they met a brick wall as the judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, turned down their request and granted only the prayers contained in their ex parte application relating to the service of the court processes on the defendants.
Fayose and Olusola, in the ex parte application, asked for an interim order stopping the impeachment notice served on them and the moves to remove them from office.
Rather than granting the prayers for interim injunction, Justice Mohammed ordered the defendants in the suit, including the Speaker of the House, Adewale Omirin, and the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, to appear in his court on April 16.
They are to show cause why the order of interim injunctions being sought by the plaintiffs should not be granted.
Apart from Omirin and Daramola, the other defendants in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The plaintiffs, apart from Fayose and Olusola, are the House of Assembly and Olugbemi Dele, who was appointed by seven Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers as their speaker.
Counsel for the plaintiffs, Ahmed Raji, had in the ex parte application dated April 7 urged the court to set aside the impeachment notice and restrain the defendants from taking any further steps in that direction.
The lawyer argued that the impeachment notice signed by Omirin amounted to impersonating the “incumbent speaker (Dele).’’
He said, “The kernel of our complaint is that a former speaker of 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.”
Part of the orders sought by the plaintiffs are: “An injunction restraining the 1st defendant (Dele) and other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff (House of Assembly) from further taking any step or engagining in unlawful activities relating to the impeachment of Ayodele Fayose and Kolapo Olusola as governor and deputy governor of Ekiti State.
“An interim order of injunction restraining the Chief Judge 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 Fayose and Olusola.
“An interim order 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 House of Assembly.
“An interim order 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 Fayose and 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.
Raji urged the court to grant the prayers “in the interest of justice, public order, peace and safety of the people of the state.”
But the judge rather than granting the interim injunctions ordered the parties to appear in court to convince him on why the plaintiffs’ prayers should not be granted.
Justice Mohammed ruled, “The order is hereby made directing the 1st to 4th defendants (Omirin, IG , 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 court granted leave to serve Omirin and Justice Daramola, who reside in Ekiti State, outside jurisdiction.
It also ordered that Omirin and the CJ be served through advertisement in a national newspaper.
It also made a separate order that the CJ be served with processes of court through the office of the Chief Registrar of of the Ekiti State High Court.
In their main suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/302/2015, the plaintiffs are seeking nine prayers among which is “an order setting aside the purported notice of impeachment and all steps taken by the 1st defendant (Omirin) with other errant members of the 2nd plaintiff in relation to the purported issuance and service of the said notice of impeachment for the purpose of commencing and concluding the impeachment proceedings against Fayose and Olusola, except and until there is absolute compliance with provisions of section 36(1) and section 188(1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”