Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State has announced the appointment of Justice Olayinka Afolabi, as the acting Chief Judge of the State with immediate effect.
The appointment of Afolabi was in spite of the order of the National Industrial Court in Ibadan on Thursday which restrained the Osun government from terminating the appointment of Justice Adepele Ojo as chief judge.
Justice J.D. Peter had also ordered the government to continue to pay the salary entitlements, emoluments and other benefits of the chief judge.
However, Adeleke’s appointment of Afolabi followed the resolution of the state House of Assembly on Thursday for the suspension of Ojo over allegations of misconduct.
The Deputy-Governor, Kola Adewusi, was directed to perform the swearing-in ceremony of the Acting Chief Judge on Friday.
Ojo was asked to step aside pending investigation of allegations of misconduct, abuse of power, corruption and disregard for rule of law against her by the assembly.
A statement by Malam Olawale Rasheed, the Spokesperson to the governor, said that the appointment of Olayinka as acting CJ was sequel to the approval of the resolution of the assembly by the governor.
The lawmakers had resolved at plenary that the next in order of seniority to Ojo be sworn-in immediately to avoid any vacuum in the third arm government.
According to the lawmakers, the CJ should step aside, not for any disciplinary action, but to allow for proper investigation of the allegations.
The assembly resolved that the executive should immediately notify the National Judicial Council and the State Judicial Service Commission of its resolutions.
It directed its committee on Judiciary, Public Petitions and Legal Matters to investigate the the Chief Judge by inviting her within seven days from Thursday.
Recall that the coalition of civil society organisations in Osun had on Wednesday accused the governor of plotting to remove the CJ.
The coalition at a press conference said that the governor was attempting to remove the CJ through the legislative arm.
But the state government denied the allegation.
In his reaction to the allegation, the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Kolapo Alimi, said that the state government was unaware of any plot against the chief judge.
Alimi, in a statement, said that state government was commitment to due process and stipulated regulations across the arms of government.
The commissioner said that the governor was not in a position to stop the legislature from doing its statutory job and neither can he hamstring the judiciary in the performance of its duties.