Ondo Chief Judge on fresh warpath with Gov Akeredolu over court verdict

The face-off between the Chief Judge of Ondo state, Justice Oluwatoyin Akeredolu and the state Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) over the plot to unseat the former from office as Chief Judge has taken a new dimension.

This is because a lead lawyer to the Chief Judge, Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) has lashed out at Governor Akeredolu and the state government over their bitter comment against the Friday judgment of the Federal high court in Abuja which barred the governor from taking any negative action against the Chief Judge.
Governor Akeredolu had, in a sharp and bitter reaction by his government to the court verdict, described the suit by the Chief Judge as “an ego trip which the government refused participation”

The government reaction was contained in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Donald Ojogo.

However, the government reaction has drawn the anger of the lawyer to the Chief Judge, Mr Jibrin Okutepa who described the government position as most unfortunate and uncivilised

Okutepa, an Abuja based lawyer who led the legal team for the Chief Judge and secured the judgment against governor Akeredolu described the government reaction as contemptuous.

Okutepa’s press statement released on Saturday and copied our Correspondent reads in part “My attention has been drawn to 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.

“In the press statement titled:
“Re: Court Bars Ondo Govt From Probing CJ suit was an ego trip which the government refused participation” and signed by one Donald Ojogo, commissioner for information, it described the suit by CJ as ego trip for which he claimed the government refused to participate.

“It is sad and unfortunate that the government of Ondo State could authorise 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 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 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 after-thought 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 is sad that the government of Ondo State can suffer memory loss of why the 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.

“Second, 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 the record straight. It is appalling to see 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 Ondo State Government to the press statement issued by the Hon the Attorney General of Infomation; 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 investigation of allegation 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 which 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 who swore to uphold and defend Nigerian constitution, I will not have accepted brief that was rooted in moot point,” he added.