Justice Opeloye Ogunbowale of a National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Lagos has restrained the Governor of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, and fourteen others to stop any action on the appointment of Rector for the State Polytechnic, OSPOLY, in Iree.
The judge made the order following an exparte motion application filed by the suspended Rector of the institution, Dr. Tajudeen Odetayo over his illegal suspension.
Justice Ogunbowale who presided over the application as a vacation judge ordered Governor Adeleke and other respondents to stay further action on the institution pending a hearing of the motion on notice.
Aside from Adeleke, other respondents in the suit marked no NICN/OS/37/2023 include the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Osun State, Ministry of Education, Osun State Polytechnic Iree, the Governing Council, OSPOLY.
The Chief of Staff to Osun State Governor, Alhaji Kazeem Akinleye, Mr. Alabi Kehinde Adeyemi, Permanent Secretary, Osun State Ministry of Education & Chairman, Mr. M.A.K. Jimoh, Investigative Panel of Enquiry into Allegation of Corrupt Practices against the Rector, OSPOLY.
Others are A. A. Bello, Dr. F. M. Olaoye, Mrs. O. Abioye, Acting Bursar OSPOLY and member of Investigative Panel, S. A. Afolabi, acting Registrar, OSPOLY and Secretary of the panel, Abiodun Oloyede, and Mrs T. A. Sameul as first to the 15 respondents respectively.
The court also ordered that a hearing notice be issued to all respondents before the next adjourned date.
The suspended Rector, Dr Tajudeen Odetayo motion expert application was moved by his counsel, Mr. Rasheed Oluwofobi who urged the court to grant the applications in the interest of justice and public interest.
The application relied on Section 256C (a), (d) and Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended), Order 17 Rule 1 & 2 of the National Industrial Court (Civil Procedure Rule 2017 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
Odetayo prayed the court for an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents, their servants, privies, employees, or whosoever described from giving effects to the letter of suspension dated 11th July 2023 and letter of query dated 1st August 2023 given to the claimant/applicant herein or in any way interfering with the claimant/applicant’s position as the Rector of Osun State Polytechnic, pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction before this court.
While arguing the application dated August 21, 2023, and filed same date, he submitted that the claimant deposed to an affidavit that common law and equity had not been followed in the purported suspension planned in collaboration and conspiracy of the 1, 2 to 15 respondents.
Olufowobi said, “My lord, NICN Rule 2017 stated that common law and equity must be observed. The fact that the claimant was issued a purported suspension letter dated July 11, 2023, and on August 1, 2023, issued a query, almost a month interval. Suspension before query to the applicants my lord.”
When the court asked why it should grant the application during vacation and the urgency in the case, he responded that,” 7, 8 the acting Rector and 15 respondents is not in any way qualified to act as rector of the institution. Our concern is that if someone who does not have the capacity to act is allowed to remain in the office that will be injurious to the interest of justice and public interest.
“The reason upon which we premix our submission is that the person will be issuing a contract that will bound on the institution, likewise engaging in other activities which may later result in various suits before the court. We urged the court to order to maintain a status quo pending hearing and determination of our motion on notice.”
However, Justice Ogunbowale in her ruling held that there is evidence that the respondents had been served with the motion on notice, as the proof of service was filed by a Court Bailiff, Hamed Saheed.
“The hearing notice is hereby ordered to be served on all respondents in the suit, an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants/respondents from taking any further action on the matter or anything relating thereto until the determination of the Motion On Notice is hereby granted.”
The judge subsequently adjourned the case to October 10, 2023, for a hearing.