10th December, 2023
By Taiwo Okanlawon
A civil society group, The Osun Masterminds, TOM, has hailed the decision of the National Judicial Council in affirming Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo as the substantive Chief Judge of Osun State.
In a statement signed by Prof. Wasiu Oyedokun-Alli, on Saturday, TOM said the news of the affirmation of Justice Ojo as Osun Chief Judge by the NJC was received with delight and rekindling of confidence in the Judiciary as the last hope of the people.
The NJC, in its 104th meeting, chaired by Justice Kayode Ariwoola, its chairman, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, affirmed Justice Ojo as the recognized Chief Judge of Osun State.
The NJC also rejected the resolution of the Osun State House of Assembly, which suspended Justice Ojo for alleged maladministration and asked her to appear before an investigative committee.
The NJC, in rejecting the petition by the Osun State Government, also emphasised that it is the only constitutional authority empowered to investigate Judicial Officers and recommend actions to the governors.
In a statement released on Saturday, TOM said, “The decision affirms our belief in the tenets of separation of power and that no individual or arm of government can laud it over another either to cow or to intimidate for whatever reason.
“While we are not saying the Osun CJ is clean or the best thing to happen to Judiciary in the state, we believe that the route taken by the Osun State government and the state house of assembly is wrong, condemnable and should not be allowed to serve as a precedence for the future of the state and the nation at large.”
The group insisted that for a society to be just, the independence of the judiciary must be sacrosanct.
“We commend the Council for affirming that Justice Ojo remains the recognised Chief Judge of Osun State and ordered that the state should revert to the status quo,” the statement said.
TOM also expressed hope that both the state government and the House of Assembly had learnt from the impasse as the rule of law had prevailed.
“We hope that the state government and the legislature would have learnt the needed lesson and understand for the sake of the future that only the rule of law reigns supreme and the independence of the Judiciary is not one to be toiled with.”