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Edo Deputy Governor, Shaibu Has Final Chance to Defend Himself

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On Thursday, the seven-person panel established by Edo State Chief Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, scheduled Friday, April 5, 2024, as the final adjournment for Shaibu to present his defense.

During Thursday’s session, the panel, with the absence of Deputy Governor Shaibu and his legal representation, made the decision.

Justice S. A Omonuwa (retd.), the panel’s chairman, indicated that they would wait for Shaibu to provide his defense before calling for his appearance.

Subsequently, as Shaibu was absent and unrepresented, Justice Omonuwa called for the appearance of the plaintiff, the Edo State House of Assembly, the initiator of the impeachment process.

Legal Officer N.U. Ibrahim, representing the Edo State House of Assembly, announced their presence along with two others.

The chairman then declared the panel’s decision to adjourn in order to give Shaibu an opportunity to appear and present his defense.

Justice Omonuwa stated, “This adjournment is the final one, set for April 5, 2024, 12 noon, to allow the defendant to present his defense.”

At the panel’s initial hearing on Wednesday, Shaibu’s counsel, Prof Oladoyin Awoyale (SAN), asked for permission to excuse himself and Shaibu from future proceedings.

Awoyale referenced an order from an Abuja Federal High Court, directing all parties to appear and clarify Shaibu’s fundamental human rights prayer before the court on Monday, April 8, 2024, as the reason for their withdrawal from the panel.

Despite admitting his previous incorrect assertion about an injunction from the Abuja court halting the panel’s proceedings, Awoyale held firm that the panel should comply with the court’s directive.

After Awoyale departed following the panel’s rejection of his argument, Joe Ohiafi, counsel for the House of Assembly, presented the plaintiff’s case, asserting that only the state House of Assembly could define gross misconduct as per the constitution, accusing Shaibu of violating his oath by including Edo State Executive Council documents in his court case.

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