- Source says the state government is looking for a way to swear-in Edward Onoja.
- Neither the State House of Assembly nor Governor Bello had notified the Chief Judge.
The impeachment saga surrounding Kohi state Deputy Governor, Simon Achuba has continued to generate talking points in the state and the country as a whole.
Achuba was impeached by members of the state legislature despite not found wanting in the allegations leveled against him by the Governor, Yahaya Bello. The process was done on a Friday the house was not expected to sit. a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. John Baiyesha, who headed the panel of inquiry to investigate the allegations against him submitted the report on Friday.
This has made the state government be facing an uphill task in getting the newly handpicked Deputy Governor designate, Edward Onoja, sworn in as required by the Constitution.
Onoja is Governor Yahaya Bello’s running mate in next month’s election. The former Chief of Staff was named on Friday as a successor to Achuba.
Reliable sources said judges led in by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasiru Ajanaare are reluctant to inaugurate Onoja because of the panel’s clearance of Achuba of the allegations against him.
The panel arrived at the conclusion that allegations of misappropriation of funds and non-compliance with extant financial regulations by the Deputy Governor were not proved.
“In line with Section 188(8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) quoted here in before, we hereby report to the Kogi State House of Assembly that the allegations contained in the Notice of Allegations admitted in evidence by this Panel as Exhibit C7 have not been proved,” part of the report reads.
With this situation, suspense now exists over who will administer the oath of office on Edward Onoja.
According to section 185 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, “the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office shall be administered by the Chief Judge of the State or Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court Appeal of the State, if any, or president of the Customary Court of Appeal of the State, if any, or the person for the time being respectively appointed to exercise the functions of any of those offices in any state.”
As most of the judges are scared of being sanctioned by the National Judicial Council (NJC) for acts considered to run contrary to the letters and provisions of the Constitution, Chief Judge Ajana is an adherent to the spirit and letters of the Constitution and it has been difficult for the state government to approach him to administer the oath on Onoja.
It was also gathered that some political forces were shopping for either an amenable judge or the President of the Customary Court to swear in the new Deputy Governor.
Meanwhile, neither the State House of Assembly nor Governor Bello had notified the Chief Judge about the removal of Achuba, although some forces in the state had been working on permutations on how to inaugurate Onoja without the Chief Judge.