Osun: Adeleke, Assembly lose as court affirms Justice Ojo as Chief Judge

The National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan has affirmed Justice Adepele Ojo as the Chief Judge of Osun State.

The decision was contained in a judgment delivered by Justice Peters in a suit numbered NICN/IB/62/2023, on Wednesday in Ibadan.

The court granted all the reliefs sought by the Osun Chief Judge against the Osun State Government and Osun State House of Assembly, including an order of perpetual injunction restraining both the executive and legislative arms of government from removing her as the number one judicial officer in the state.

Matters came to a head between the Osun State Government and Justice Ojo in 2023 when the Osun Assembly passed a motion suspending her as Chief Judge of the state.

An acting Chief Judge, Justice Olayinka Afolabi was appointed in her place but he refused to turn up the next day for swearing in.

Justice Ojo had dragged the state government and State Assembly to National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, and secured a restraining order barring Governor Ademola Adeleke from removing her as the substantial CJ of the state.

The court adjourned the matter till December 12, 2023, for hearing of the pending motion on notice.

Following barrage of criticisms from bodies like the Nigeria Bar Association and civil society organisations, the Osun State Government later denied that it sacked Justice Ojo.

The government spokesperson and Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, in a statement said that Adeleke “only forwarded the resolution of the House of Assembly and recommendation for an acting appointment to the Chief Justice of the Federation for decision and action”.

Alimi also described Adeleke as “a man of due process and rule of law with a deep level of respect for the bar and the bench, the NJC and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Also, in November 2023, members of the Osun State chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union, JUSUN, embarked on an indefinite protest against the Justice Ojo continued stay in office as the state Chief Judge.

The strike which was declared by the state chairman of JUSUN, Gbenga Eludire, was based on allegations that Justice Ojo mismanaged the affairs of the judiciary in the state.

Eludire had accused Ojo of “suspending workers without following due process, adding that the Chief Judge had put a stop to statutory training for workers to improve their productivity”.

The strike which paralysed judicial actives in the state was formally called off in March, 2024.

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