More troubles for PDP as Supreme Court Sacks Osun LGA Chairmen

The legal battle between Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his predecessor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola reached another level on Friday as the Supreme Court in Abuja ordered immediate dissolution of the 30 local Governments in Osun State for failing to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2006.

In a lead judgment delivered by Mr. Justice Mukthar Coomasie, the apex court upheld the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal which declared the election conducted by the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) illegal.

Justice Coomasie also dismissed the appeal filed by OSSIEC and the 30 Local Government chairmen who sought to be joined in the suit when the matter went to the Supreme Court.

The apex court held that the 30 Local Government Chairmen were aware of the existence of the case filed by the Action Congress (AC) at the Osogbo High Court and heard on December 14, 2007.

According to the judge, the chairmen did not also seek to be joined at the Court of Appeal level but waited until the case reached the Supreme Court before they sought to be joined in the suit for the sake of fair hearing.

Coomasie held that the Local Government Chairmen could no longer complain about fair hearing since they were aware of the case but did not seek to be joined at the court below until the case reached the Supreme Court.

The court then dismissed the appeal and declared the election which brought the chairmen into office as illegal, null and void.

On the notice given by OSSIEC before conducting the elections into the 30 Local Governments in Osun State, the court held that the Osun State Electoral law which prescribes 21 days notice could not take precedence over the Federal Electoral Law,
The Electoral Law, 2006 prescribed 150-day notice to parties before an election could be held while that of Osun State gives 21 days notice.

The court then ordered immediate dissolution of the 30 local Governments and removal of all the Chairmen from office with immediate effect.

The former Chief Judge of Osun State, late Justice Fasansi Ogunsola had held that OSSIEC was right in giving 21 days before the elections were conducted into the 30 Local Governments of Osun State on December 14, 2007.

Dissatisfied by the judgment, the Action Congress approached the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, which delivered its ruling last March and ordered the dissolution of the Local Governments.

OSSIEC and the 30 Local Government chairmen went to the Supreme Court to challenge the judgment of the Court of Appeal decision.

All the five judges concurred with the verdict delivered by Justice Coomasie.

Yusuf Alli (SAN) and Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) represented former Osun state governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, while civil rights attorney, Femi Falana, represented the Action Congress party and the National Conscience Party in the matter.

Source: Saharareporters.com

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