By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Oluwatoyin O. Akeredolu has faulted the reaction by the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to the June 17 judgment stopping the state’s move to probe her.
In a statement issued on Saturday by her lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), Justice Akeredolu described Ondo governor’s reaction, published in the media on Saturday, as infantile and contemptuous of the court.
“It is appalling to see a childish display of adolescent behaviour in the press statement issued on behalf of the government being led by a learned gentleman of the highest distinction at the Bar like this,” the statement said.
The Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Donald Ojogo had, in the statement, he issued on behalf of the state government and the governor, described the suit filed and prosecuted for the Chief Judge by Okutepa, and on which the June 17 judgment was given, as an ego trip in which the government refrained from participating.
Part of the statement by Okutepa reads: “My attention has been drawn to a press statement said to have been issued by the Government of Ondo State on the judgment delivered by the Hon Mr Justice Eden Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja, in favour of the Hon the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Oluwatoyin O. Akeredolu.
“It is sad and unfortunate that the government of Ondo State could authorised such contemptuous statement to be issued against a judgment that was delivered after all the parties were served with hearing notices on many occasions and the government led by an eminent senior Advocate did not deem it fit to respect the processes served on the government.
“As a lawyer to the Hon CJ in the matter, I consider the press statement as insulting to my person as it portrays me as accepting brief to take the matter that was purely academic to court for judicial determination.
“It is important to remind the Ondo State Government that the press statement is certainly an afterthought and face-saving measures to cover the plots that gave the Hon Chief Judge of Ondo State the cause of action which led his Lordship to brief me to go to court.
“It sad that the government of Ondo State can suffer memory loss of the reasons why the Hon CJ went to court. Let me repeat again that the press statement is an afterthought and as face-saving measures after the evil plot was denounced by proper judicial decision.
“In the first place, the Government Ondo State and parties involved were duly served the originating Processes and hearing notices.
“If the government has respect for judicial process as it claims, it should have appeared in court and inform the court that the issues and concerns raised were not true or not being pursued by the government. Ondo State government did not do so.
“Secondly, the Ondo State Government forgot that legal letters were done to the Governor, State House of Assembly and the Attorney General of Ondo State on the matter.
“We must set record straight. It is appalling to see a childish display of adolescent behaviour in the press statement issued on behalf of the government being led by learned gentleman of the highest distinction at the Bar like this.
“So sad. Perhaps, I will need to draw the attention of the Ondo State Government to the press statement issued by the Hon the Attorney General of Ondo State on 18th February 2021, which led the Hon the CJ to brief me to go to court.
“This was widely reported as: ‘Attorney General of Ondo State, Sir Charles Titiloye has released his report on an investigation of the allegation against Ondo State Chief Judge as contained in the video clip circulated on social media by one Olupelumi Fagboyegun.
“Judging from the above. one then wonders how the government of Ondo State that contemptuously refused to appear before the court to defend itself can resort to self-help in the form of the press statement to say it did not envice the intention of removing the CJ and that the suit was an ego trip.
“Certainly as senior lawyer and one who swore to uphold and defend Nigerian Constitution, I will not have accepted brief that was rooted in moot points.”