Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has appointed Justice Olayinka Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge of the state, effective immediately, following the State Assembly’s resolution. This move comes in the wake of the approved suspension of the incumbent Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo, who faces ongoing legal challenges.
Governor Adeleke’s spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, confirmed the appointment in a statement, highlighting that Afolabi, next in seniority, would act in the capacity until further developments in the legal proceedings. The State Assembly had recommended Ojo’s suspension, leading to the governor’s approval.
The House Committee on Judiciary, Public Petitions, and Legal Matters has been tasked with investigating petitions against Ojo. The committee has seven days to report its findings, and pending the outcome, Ojo is requested to step aside. This decision aligns with the constitutional powers vested in the House of Assembly, according to Tiamiyu Olamide, Press Secretary to the Speaker.
In response to her suspension, Justice Ojo has taken legal action against Governor Adeleke, the state Attorney General, and the Osun State Judicial Service Commission. The suspended Chief Judge obtained an interim order from Justice J.D. Peters at the National Industrial Court, restraining the defendants from interfering with her position, including salaries and benefits, until the interlocutory application is determined.
The legal battle adds complexity to the situation, with the hearing of Motions on Notice scheduled for December 12. Meanwhile, the appointment of Justice Afolabi ensures the continued functioning of the Chief Judge’s office, avoiding any vacuum during the ongoing legal proceedings.