Philip Shaibu Impeachment: CJ awaits report as Edo panel concludes sitting


The Justice Stephen Omonua (rtd)-led seven-member investigative panel faced another absence from Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, and his lead counsel, Prof. Oladoyin Awoyale (SAN), on Friday, mirroring their previous non-appearance on Thursday.

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Shaibu and Awoyale’s decision not to attend the panel stemmed from its disregard of the March 28, 2024 interlocutory order from the Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, under Justice Inyang Ekwo’s jurisdiction.

Closing the session at the Edo State High Court Complex, Benin, Omonua remarked, “The panel adjourned sitting till today (Friday) for the last time for the respondent (Shaibu/counsel) to present his defense, and the respondent is still not before the panel. The panel is therefore closing its sitting to retire to consider its report as provided by the constitution.”

Other panel members include Prof. Theresa Akpoghome, Oghogho Ayodele Oviasu, Dr. Andrew Oliha, Idris Abdulkareen, President Aighokhian, and Mariam Erakhoba Ilavbare.

The Edo State Chief Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, who established the panel on March 25 to investigate allegations against Shaibu, is set to receive the report soon, for the state lawmakers to decide on Shaibu’s removal.

The initial panel session commenced on Wednesday, with Shaibu’s counsel arguing that participating would preclude any fair outcome, citing contempt of court due to ongoing panel sessions despite the court order.

On Thursday, the Principal Legal Officer of Edo House of Assembly, N.U. Ibrahim, presented the Assembly’s case, leading to the panel scheduling Friday for final adjournment to allow Shaibu or his counsel to defend him.

The reconstitution of the panel by the Edo State Chief Judge on March 25 came after two initially appointed professors declined to serve, following the March 6, 2024 impeachment notice by Edo House of Assembly members.

Meanwhile, legal expert Chief Okoi Obono-Obla expressed doubts about Shaibu’s chances of overcoming impeachment, highlighting the vulnerability of deputy governors under the constitution and suggesting a constitutional amendment to abolish the position altogether. He emphasized historical precedents where impeachment threats were wielded against deputy governors, suggesting a systemic issue that requires attention.

In essence, the ongoing imbroglio underscores the complexities surrounding impeachment proceedings and the need for legal reforms to safeguard against potential abuse of power.

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Gbenga Samson
Gbenga Samson
Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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