By Adenitan Akinola
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Osun State have warned Governor Ademola Adeleke against any attempt to remove the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adebola Adepele-Ojo.
The group described the move as undue interference and an attempt by the executive arm of the government to coerce the judiciary.
At a press conference jointly addressed by Mr Ayodeji Ologun of Osun Masterminds, Mr Emmanuel Olowu, Committee for Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Mr Ismaheel Adedokun, Dialogue 360 and Mr Wole Folaranmi, Vice Chairman of Osun Civil Society Coalition, the groups maintained that it was dangerous for democracy in Osun State should the government go ahead to remove the State Chief Judge.
“This move is particularly troubling as it appears to be a reprisal against the Chief Judge for her principled stand against attempts to manipulate the judiciary in the state.”
“The independence of the judiciary is a cornerstone of any democratic society, and any attempt to undermine or interfere with the judiciary, compromises the very foundations of the rule of law.”
“The Chief Judge, in her capacity, has a constitutional duty to uphold justice and ensure the fair and impartial administration of the law. Her commitment to these principles should be celebrated, not met with attempts at removal for political reasons.”
“We hereby call on Governor Ademola Adeleke to respect the independence of the judiciary and immediately cease any attempts to remove the Chief Judge based on her principled stance. The judiciary must be allowed to operate without fear of reprisal or political interference, ensuring that justice is served impartially and without bias.”
Similarly, the groups condemned the appointment of Mr. Hashim Abloye, as the Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, OSIEC, saying it was unconstitutional to appoint a card-carrying member of the governor’s political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to such an independent office.
Reacting, the state government declared that it was unaware of any plot against the state Chief Judge, even as it affirms its commitment to due process and stipulated regulations across the all arms of government.
Osun State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr Kolapo Alimi, in a statement said: “The state governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke and his team are preoccupied with delivering good governance to the citizenry with no time for diversionary conducts”.
“The governor is therefore not in a position to stop the legislature from doing her statutory job and neither can the governor hamstring the judiciary in the performance of its duties.”