CJ Constitutes Panel To Investigate Edo Deputy Governor, Shuaibu

The Edo State impeachment saga has indeed progressed with the Chief Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, taking a significant step by constituting a seven-member panel to investigate Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu. This move comes in response to a resolution passed by the State House of Assembly on March 19, 2024, which accused Shaibu of “gross misconduct,” including perjury and leaking government secrets. Despite Shaibu’s denial of the allegations, the Assembly directed the Chief Judge to form the investigative panel, signaling the intensification of efforts to impeach the deputy governor.

Justice Okungbowa’s action in constituting the seven-man panel underscores the seriousness of the allegations leveled against Shaibu by the State House of Assembly. The panel’s formation marks a crucial stage in the impeachment process initiated by the assembly, as it signifies the commencement of formal investigations into the accusations against the deputy governor.

The composition of the panel, headed by retired judge Justice S.A. Omonua, reflects a deliberate effort to ensure impartiality and expertise in the investigative process. With a retired judge leading the panel, there is an expectation of thoroughness, fairness, and adherence to due process in the proceedings.

The announcement of the panel’s constitution, conveyed through a statement with reference number CR/4837 /Vol. I/131 and endorsed by the Chief Registrar of the Edo State High Court, B. O. Osawaru, provides clarity and transparency regarding the procedural steps being taken in the impeachment process. It demonstrates a commitment to upholding the rule of law and respecting constitutional provisions governing impeachment proceedings.

The statement issued by the Chief Registrar reaffirms that Justice Okungbowa’s actions are in accordance with the powers vested in him by Section 188(5) of the 1999 Constitution. This legal framework provides the basis for the Chief Judge’s authority to oversee the impeachment process and ensures that the proceedings adhere to constitutional principles and standards.

Overall, the constitution of the seven-member panel represents a significant development in the Edo State impeachment saga, as it marks the formal initiation of investigations into the allegations against Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu. As the panel commences its work, all parties involved will be closely watching to ensure a fair and objective assessment of the evidence presented, ultimately determining the outcome of the impeachment proceedings.

The statement read, “This is to bring to the notice of the general public that in line with Section 188(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Honourable Chief Judge of Edo State, Honourable Justice D. I. Okungbowa, has constituted the panel of seven persons to investigate the allegations contained in the impeachment notice against the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu.

“The said panel of seven persons is comprised of the following persons: Hon. Justice S.A. Omonua (retd.) – Chairman, Professor Violet Aigbokhaebo- member, Professor Boniface Onomion Edegbai -member, Professor Theresa Akpoghome – member, Oghogho Ayodele Oviasu – member, Andrew Oliha- member and Idris Abdulkareen- member.”

This development marks a significant escalation in the political rift between Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki. The specific details of the accusations and the evidence presented remain unclear.

Shaibu retains the right to defend himself before the panel. The outcome of the investigation will be crucial in determining whether the impeachment proceedings continue. If the panel finds merit in the allegations, the Assembly could then vote on whether to remove Shaibu from office.

This situation is likely to be closely monitored in the coming weeks as Nigerians await the panel’s findings and the potential next steps in the Edo State impeachment drama.