POLITICS in Osun State, the state of the Living Spring is a different ball game. While election petition tribunals of other states were breaking ground, the two tribunals that were previously stationed in Osun ended with controversies, compounding the legal tussle that was begging for genuine resolution.
While the judges of other tribunals left with their integrity intact or partially battered, the justice Thomas Damar Naron-led five man panel left the state with no dignity, and their problems are so multifaceted that the judges will have to stand akimbo before the National Judicial Council (NJC) to defend allegations of bias and compromise leveled against them.
While lawyers from both the petitioners and respondents were hugging one another, exchanging notes on each court ruling, a senior lawyer to the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Mr. Kunle Kalejaye, appearing for the second respondent in a petition filed by the state Action Congress (AC) flagbearer in the last year’s controversial election, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola; was allegedly found to be engaging in a nocturnal conversations with the judges in his case.
In the same Spirit, people of the state has been treated with different stories about the Appeal Court hearing over the local government polls that took place on 15 December 2007 in the state.
Given the genesis of controversy surrounding the polls; it is very normal to fray nerves over the outcome of legal battle that trails.
Before the controversial council election, there was no love lost between the opposition parties and the embattled state Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC).
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that it was an hatred at first sight. At the first stakeholders’ meeting organized by SIEC, the party leaders, except the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disagreed with the way they were invited to the meeting and they collectively demanded an apology from the commission, for inviting them to the meeting via the radio announcement.
The chairman of the Commission, Justice Sijuwade Adedokun (retired) clearly over-stepped his bound, as an unbias umpire, by displaying a magisterial arrogance, adamant that he could not offer apology for the SIEC’s shortcoming, and the party leaders walked out on him.
Instead of giving room to a peace, the jurist went through his planned polls, organized election, but the polls was massively boycotted by the other parties except PDP, a scenario that gave all the 30 local council to the ruling party (PDP) on a platter of controversy.
Meanwhile, the opposition party led by AC had earlier gone to court to seek redress; but could not get judgment, until a day before the controversial polls.
Naturally, the case ought to have been directed beyond suspicion on several grounds; it was handled by the chief judge (CJ) of the state judiciary, and it was perceived from the opposition point of view that the (CJ) was doing the bidding of the embattled governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who was still smarting from the still fight the opposition gave him during the last governorship polls.
So, when the judgment was given, it did not come to the opposition parties as a surprise, rather they had prepared for a fresh onslaught at the court of Appeal. The only surprise that sent shocker to the air wave, was the resolution of the opposition parties to boycott the election, and it reflected a picture of a flawed election.
Ever since the litigation has moved to the Appeal court, people have been waiting eagerly for the outcome; relying on the permutations of their opinion holders; depending on the party affiliation.
Since last two weeks, rumour mongers and pepper soup joint debaters have been giving different version of stories of what to expect on Monday at the Court of Appeal, as touching the case.
However, checks at the Appeal court in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital revealed that it is the hearing of the case that is expected on Monday not a judgment, as being spread round.
OSUN DEFENDER man, who was at the Court of Appeal, when the case was mentioned last reported that only the opposition parties were represented by their lawyer from Femi Falana Chamber; the state or SIEC, even the embattled council chairmen were not represented; a situation that compelled the court to advise he Appellant’s counsel to move to the next stage.
Findings revealed that the next stage will be a prayer in form of motion on notice from the appellant’s counsel to the court to hear his prayers alone, once the respondents have failed to meet up with 15o day ultimatum to file its statement of defence.
It is expected that the motion has been filed and the hearing proper will begin on Monday. Speaking on the development, a party to the suit, the state chapter of Labour Party (LP) noted that people are anxious for judgment, because they have no link with present constituted government.
The state chairman, comrade Rufus Oyatoro said that the council chairmen on seats are usurpers, who are obviously not popular to smell the council exalted chairs. “I notice also that people want a change, they want a clear departure from this kangaroo arrangement called PDP local government and I know that sooner than latter, justice shall be obtained.