Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
The Local Government parliamentary election conducted, at the weekend, in Osun State, to elect councillors who will also later elect local government chairmen, is currently embroiled in controversy as a fresh motion was instituted, on Monday, against it by an Osun State-based human rights activist, Barr. Kanmi Ajibola.
In the motion filed before Justice Kola Adegoke at the State High Court, Ilesa, Ajibola asked the court to nullify the poll in its entirety for what he described as intentional disregard for court processes by the defendants in the case.
The lawyer had earlier instituted a suit against Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the State House of Assembly, the State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC), All Peoples Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and eight other political parties to stop the election.
The case was adjourned to Thursday, January 25, following a two-day public holiday declared by the governor to enable the people of the state prepare for the election.
But in the fresh suit he filed against the election, on Monday, Ajibola, in an 83-paragraph affidavit he deposed to in support of his motion, also accused Governor Aregbesola of abuse of office, claiming that the two days public holiday he declared was purportedly to prevent the court from giving a bench ruling on the suit challenging the conduct of the election which he (Ajibola) filed on November 6, 2017.
In a written address, he explained that his application was predicated on two grounds, saying: “The first defendant in this suit used his position to overreach and take advantage of the plaintiff and rule of law as the governor of Osun State by declaring a public holiday to prevent this court from sitting on this suit on the 25th day of January 2018.
“The defendants, by their actions of conducting of the LG election, have foisted a fait accompli on this court and have destroyed the rules in this suit which can only be restored by the setting aside of the said election.”
He therefore sought an order of the court to nullify the polls conducted “during the pendency of the suit” by the OSIEC on the cooperation and participation of other defendants under the State of Osun Local Government Area (Creation and administration) Law, 2015 and State of Osun Local Government Areas (Creation and administration) amendment (No. 1) Law 2017.”
In his affidavit, Ajibola contended that the State of Osun Law upon which the election was based and conducted could not stand because on the 14th of December 2017, the State High Court in its judgment in Suit No. HIL/M47/2016, between himself and governor of Osun State and two others had held that, “State of Osun” and “State of Osun House of Assembly” are not known to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He averred that it was a constitutional derangement for the governor to be signing into Laws the bills passed in the name of the “State of Osun State” by the “State of Osun House of Assembly”.
“I strongly believe that the governor and the House of Assembly have turned Osun State to a legal hammy and stagy setting against the expressed and implied stipulation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He added that “in a system where a governor has constituted himself into a legal island, giving himself the license to cause legislation against the spirit and intendment of the Nigerian Constitution, the court of law will put a check to it.”