By Hashim Abioye
Osun State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has issued a stern warning to the outgoing Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola and the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) against the purported plan to conduct Local Government elections across the Local Government Councils, Area Councils and the Local Council Development Areas in Osun State, maintaining that it is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional to embark on such wasteful exercise especially at this crucial period and process of transition to the awaiting PDP Administration and countdown to the taking over of power by the Osun State Governor-elect, Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke.
The warning came on the heels of the reports from a reliable source filtering into the space and indicating that the rejected APC administration in Osun State led by the outgoing Governor Oyetola and the APC have concluded plans to embark on such illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional voyage, which is targeted at siphoning Osun public funds over an exercise that would definitely turn to be wasteful and fruitless in the end.
The Osun PDP wishes to remind Governor Oyetola and his OSSIEC that for close to 4 years since the coming into office of Governor Oyetola, and since the inauguration of OSSIEC by the Oyetola- led APC Administration, the APC has failed to conduct Local Government elections in the State, despite persistent demand by the PDP.
It is also to be put on record that the PDP resorted to a litigation which is still pending before the High Court of Osun State in HOS/M.139/2021 with PDP as the plaintiff, and Governor of Osun State, Attorney-General of Osun State, the Osun State House of Assembly, the OSSIEC, the APC and the caretaker chairmen in the LGAs, ACDAs and the LCDAs as Defendants to question the legality, propriety and lawfulness or otherwise of the caretaker committee set up by Governor Oyetola instead of conducting valid Local Government elections to usher in a constitutionally recognised Local Government Administration in Osun State, so the matter is subjudice.
The concern of the PDP is further premised on the fact that by the provision of Section 28 of the Electoral Act, 2022, notice of any election must be given not less than 360 days before the holding of the election, while by the provision of section 29 of the said Electoral Act, every political party fielding candidates for the election must submit the list of it’s candidates not later than 180 days before the election.
By the doctrine of covering the field, the OSSIEC law cannot give a shorter notice for the holding of an election than what is contained in the Electoral Act, otherwise, the OSSIEC law would be running into a collision course with the Electoral Act, and in that circumstance, it is the OSSIEC law that would give way, while the Electoral Act guides through.
This is the settled principle of law to which the attention of the Governor Oyetola and OSSIEC is hereby drawn as in the case of OSSIEC. V. ACTION CONGRESS decided by the Supreme Court in 2011.
Between now and 26th November, 2022 when the Administration of Governor Oyetola will come to an end, it is clearly less that 360 days, therefore making the planned Local Government election dead on arrival being a nullity ab initio.
It is on this premise that the PDP hereby alerts members of the public to another wasteful spending by the APC administration in Osun State, an administration that failed to conduct Local government elections for close to 4 years, blaming same on lack of enough funds, only to wake up in the wake of countdown to transition to the PDP administration to begin the process of the Local Government election.
This is clearly one of the indicators of the concerns raised by the Governor-elect in a release on Thursday (sic) 22nd July, 2022 that APC administration has embarked on a last minute looting spree, conversion of public assets, pilfering of public property and conversion of Osun public assets to private use.
Osun PDP hereby calls on the people of Osun State to rise to the occasion by holding Governor Oyetola and OSSIEC responsible in this voyage of illegality and unconstitutionally.
The Governor is hereby advised to focus on how to give account of his stewardship and to set up a Transition Committee of Joint Teams of the outgoing and incoming Governor so as to lay a solid foundation for a seamless, transparent and hitch free handing over of power to the incoming Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke post November 26th, 2022.
@views exclusive rights: Hashim Abioye, Secretary Osun PDP Legal Committee, 22/07/2022.