THIS may not be the best of times for Osun State chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the current legal battles facing the party coupled with the rejection of the party by the people of the state.
The recent judgment by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, which sacked all the 30 local government councils chairmen in the state, has been troubling the party, as both executives and chieftains of the party have reportedly been running from pillar to post to prevail on President Umar Musa Yar’Adua to intervene in the legal battles instituted by opposition parties against the ruling PDP in the state.
The judgment has also sent jitters down the spines of the embattled governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the PDP, as they panic on what would be their fate as judgment day on the appeal suit filed by the state Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, against the judgment of the allegedly compromised Justice Thomas Naron-led tribunal that upheld the election of Oyinlola, is fast approaching.
The Justice Victor Omage-led panel had reserved judgment in the suit following the admission of all evidences presented by Aregbesola to prove the irregularities in the 2007 gubernatorial election.
However, the ousted council chairmen, with the backing of the state government and their party, have resolved to remain in office on the grounds that they would approach the Supreme Court to appeal against the judgment of the Appeal Court.
Justice Istifanus Thomas-led appeal panel, which sacked the chairmen over non-compliance with the 2006 Electoral Act, also ordered fresh election in all the council areas.
Confronted by the intimidation and the defeat by the appeal court judgment, Osogbo Local Government Council Chairman, Mr Testlim Igbalaye, reportedly harassed innocent people at a commercial centre of the state capital, Orita-Gbaemu area of Osogbo.
An impeccable source at the scene confided in OSUN DEFENDER last Friday that Igbalaye and his political boys were furious when the people booed them.
In Olorunda Local Government Council Area, commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada riders have been subjected to various forms of victimization by the council chairman, Alhaji Ganiyu Ola-Oluwa, based on the jubilations by the cyclists on the appellate court’s judgment.
Ola-Oluwa had earlier victimised the Okada riders for rallying round the AC flagbearer whenever he visits the state capital.
It would be recalled that all opposition parties led by AC in Osun State boycotted the December 15, 2007 local government council election, on the grounds that the State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) did not follow due process, in conducting it.
Only the PDP members and candidates voted in the election, which was reportedly marred with rigging and other irregularities.
Prior to the election, the opposition parties in the state had sued the OSSIEC to an Osogbo High Court for defying the 2006 Electoral Act, which gives all political parties three months preparation time before the council election
However, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Fasaasi Ogunsola, gave what people described as a shocking judgment on the suit against the OSSIEC
But the appellate court judgment has shown that the chairmanship election was a fraud by affirming that the OSSIEC did not follow due process in conducting the election.
By ISMAIL USMAN