A game of absurdity was last Tuesday played out by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers in Osun State House of Assembly as they approved the nomination of seven members of Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) without presenting their credentials and final screening.
The development came up just as all the 11 Action Congress (AC) lawmakers in the House staged a walk-out on the floor of the parliament to protest against the shoddy approval of the nominees, describing it as abuse of parliamentary proceedings.
The seven nominees submitted their curriculum vitae alone to the House without their Secondary School Certificates and other credentials, a situation that stimulated some lawmakers from the PDP and their colleagues from the AC to oppose the approval of the new members of OSSIEC.
The names of the nominees were: Justice (Rtd) Titus Adewuyi (Chairman), Chief Akinboye Ogunola (Secretary), Messrs Rasak Adegbile, Gbolagade Adebisi, Remi Alabi, Bamidele Ishola and Ezekiel Folorunso.
Only Adegbile and Adebisi submitted their full credentials to the parliament.
Minority Leader of the House, Honourable Timothy Owoeye, opposed the approval of the nominees on the grounds that they did not comply with section 198 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Owoeye maintained that the House should not approve the names of the nominees without their credentials, which would prove the authentication of the CVs submitted by the nominees.
Citing section 202 of the Nigerian Constitution, which stated that members of the commission (OSSIEC) should not be subjected to any directive from any authority, Owoeye urged the Speaker of the House, Hon Adejare Bello, to convince the members of the parliament that the nominees would not act under the directive of the state Governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who nominated them.
Five of the nominees claimed to be members of the ruling PDP, while the remaining two, Justice Adewuyi and Alabi claimed to be apolitical.
Ironically, the Speaker of the parliament affirmed that: “He who pays the piper dictates the tune”.
He said: “Why do you think His Excellency nominated these seven people? It is because they are loyal to PDP. When a person is having a goal he will put people that can help him to achieve that goal around him.”
Maintaining that the seven nominees were nominated by Oyinlola because of their loyalty to the PDP and the state government, an AC lawmaker from Obokun State Constituency, Hon Samson Fafiyebi, said members of the OSSIEC are supposed to be independent and not politically biased.
Fafiyebi stated that there could be no credible election in the state, as long as the ruling PDP still manages the affairs of the OSSIEC.
Deputy Speaker of the parliament, Honourable Ropo Oyewole replied that the political affair of the nominees was not a serious issue, adding that they (nominees) would drop every interest they have in politics as soon as they resume at the commission.
Basically, an AC legislator from Ife-North, Hon Ipoola Binuyo, criticized the nominees for not attaching their credentials to their CVs; questioning that on what grounds would the parliament approve the names of the nominees without their credentials.
Binuyo maintained that the nominees, who did not submit their credentials should not be pardoned, revealing that Ogunola, Alabi and Bamidele, were former members of OSSIEC.
But the Speaker, while using his discretionary power, said the lawmakers should not use the credential as a means to screen or stall the approval of the nominees, saying that he had used his power to shield the nominees on their credentials.
Not satisfied with the action of the Speaker, Binuyo further asked the three former members of the OSSIEC on what qualified them to be re-nominated, saying that the December 15, 2007 local government council election they conducted was still a subject of litigation.
The three former members, who were probating and reprobating on the question, were shielded by the Speaker, who said the OSSIEC members were not lawyers and only concerned withthe OSSIEC law on the last council election.
However, all the AC lawmakers in the House objected to the approval of the nominees, stressing that the nominees should be ordered to produce their credentials before the House could approve their names.
A PDP lawmaker from Ede South state constituency, Mrs. Idiat Babalola, also urged the Speaker of the House to order the nominees to produce their credentials before the house could approve their names.
Ironically, the Majority Leader in the parliament, Prince Akinolu Adeyemi, moved the motion for the approval of the nominees without their credentials, which was seconded by Honourable Kunle Omolola from Ayedire State Constituency.
However, the Minority Leader, Owoeye, also moved a motion to counter the approval of the nominees, which was seconded by Hon Ajibola Olaide.
The speaker turned down the two motions and conducted a voice vote in support or against the approval of the nominees.
He however, upheld the voice of the PDP lawmakers, who supported the approval of the nominees.
Immediately, all the 11 AC lawmakers in the parliament staged a walk-out from the floor of the House before the speaker gave an approval for the state governor to inaugurate the nominees.
The Minority Leader described the House approval of the nominees as a fraud, maintaining that “Osun State is yet to constitute new OSSIEC members.”
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