Osun LG Election Date Remains Sacrosant, OSIEC Insists

…faults litigation

By Nofisat Marindoti

The Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC), has faulted all litigations against the conduct of local government elections slated for January 27, adding that the election remained sacrosanct.

The Chairman, Mr Segun Oladitan, said this while addressing OSIEC and Ad-hoc staff at Osogbo during a 2-day training workshop for Electoral Officers, Assistant Electoral Officers and OSIEC staff on Tuesday.

Oladitan thereby urged all stakeholders to join hands in making the process free, fair and credible.

Oladitan said that being a lawyer of repute, the litigations after thorough studies, are not sufficient nor capable of putting a halt to the election.

He charged participants to see themselves as ambassadors of the commission and work assiduously to ensure a free, fair, credible and successful election.

The chairman also congratulated the officers for being found worthy of the assignment especially when such election was held 11 years ago, but warned them not to endanger themselves by engaging in any form of electoral malpractice that could land them in trouble.

According to him, only Councillors would be elected at the polls, the officers should educate the electorate on parliamentary system of government adopted by Osun which provides for election of chairmen by prospective elected councillors of local governments.

Oladitan however, disclosed that 18 political parties would participate in the election on Jan. 27 and noted that the Commission is fully prepared for a credible election.

Osun Attorney General Urges Court To Discharge Or Declare As Expired Orders Restraining Osun LG Funds

By Nofisat Marindoti 

The State of Osun Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Dr. Ajibola Basiru has urged a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja presided over by Justice Tsoho to declare as having expired by effluxion of time, orders of injunction granted by the court on 4th of December, 2017 in line with Order 26 rule 12 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2009.

This is even as the Commissioner said the court could also discharge the orders on the sundry grounds like absence of jurisdiction, absence of real urgency, suppression of material facts and breach of legal right to fair hearing.

Basiru, who appeared along with  Hassan Agbelekale State Counsel,  Idrees Mikaheel Abiodun State Counsel,  Oghenovo Otemu Esq. and Kafayat Abiola Olajide Esq. made these submissions while moving two applications filed by Osun Government who is the 7th Defendant in a case instituted by three individuals challenging the legality of the creation of Local Council Development Areas in Osun. 

Arguing the application filed on 29th of December, 2017, the Attorney General stated that the 7th Defendant had filed, 0n 8th December, 2017, an application to discharge the ex parte order granted on 4th December 2017 but that the court did not hear the application within fourteen days as required by the Rules of Court. 

He further argued that by express provision of the Rules, the order ex parte have expired by effluxion of time citing several legal authorities. On the contrary, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, on behalf of the Plaintiffs argued that the orders made on 4th of December, 2017 were on notice and therefore the 14 day rule does not apply. 

Basiru also stated that though the court refused reliefs 1 to 5 of their Motion Ex-parte on 27the December,  2017 but that the Court on 4th December,  2017 resuscitated the prayers and granted the relief 1 to 5 earlier refused.  

While replying on points of law, Basiru posited that the position of the Learned Silk for the Plaintiffs in fact supported the argument of the State Government that the court was functus officio having refused the interim orders on 27th December,  2017 and went ahead to still grant the same reliefs on the same application. 

He also argued that an order to show cause upon the ex parte application of the Plaintiffs formed part of the hearing of the ex parte application and does not convert the application ex parte to one on notice. Furthermore, that the court granted expressly reliefs 1 to 5 of the motion ex parte as interim orders and made same to be contingent on the hearing and determination of the motion on Notice. 

Justice Tsoho, having heard the two applications adjourned the matter till 23th day of January, 2018 for ruling.

Just In: Court To Rule On Order Restraining OSSIEC On Osun LG Election Jan 24

By Nofisat Marindoti
An Abuja High Court has postponed  ruling on the application filed by the  Government of the State of Osun on the Federal High Court order stopping INEC to release necessary documents to Osun State Independent Electoral Commission as well as the stoppage of Osun LG allocation suit to January 24,2018.
The State had filed an application for the vacation of the ex-parte orders granted by a Federal High Court in Abuja in 2017 ordering the Central Bank of Nigeria, Accountant General of the Federal government and Ministry of Finance to warehouse statutory allocations to the local government councils  as well as restraining orders in respect of election to Local Council Development Areas and Area Councils regarding the scheduled conduct of the local government election in the state.
According to the application filed by the state government before the same federal High Court by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Dr Basiru Ajibola, the court order was liable to be set aside ‘ex debito justitae’ for fundamental irregularity, breach of Applicant’s right to fair hearing and manifest lack of jurisdiction.
Details later…….

Osun LG Election: Court Fixes Jan 11 For Hearing

By Ismaeel Uthman

As against the January 23, 2018 fixed by the Federal High Court for hearing on the legal tussle over Local Government elections in the State of Osun, the court has fixed January 11 for the hearing of applications of Osun Government against the decision to stop the poll.

The State government of Osun has filed an application for the vacation of the ex-parte orders granted by the court last week grounding the state’s Local Government funds, as well as restraining orders in respect of election to Local Council Development Areas and Area Councils as regards the conduct of the local government poll in the state slated for January 27, 2018.

According to the application filed by the state government before the same Federal High Court by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Dr Basiru Ajibola, the court order was liable to be set aside ‘ex debito justitae’ for fundamental irregularity, breach of applicant’s right to fair hearing and manifest lack of jurisdiction.

Three chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Kolawole Osunkemitan, Chief Douglas Adeyinka Oyinlola and Prince Aderemi Adeniran Adelowo had approached the court with an application for the stoppage of monies for the local government in the state in an attempt to stop the conduct of the local government.

The government stated that the court order was made in violation of the legal right to fair hearing of the government as guaranteed under Order 26, Rules 13 and 14 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and in consequence that it breached the right to fair hearing as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

On this, the government argued that whereas the Rules of the court mandated a minimum of three days as return date for the order to show cause, the Applicant only had one day between the day of service of the order on the Abuja Liaison Office on Thursday 30th November, 2017 and 4th December, 2017 when the orders were granted. This is in view of the fact that Friday, December 1 and Sunday, December 3 were public holidays in the eye of the law and cannot be computed in determining the three day return date.

In the application, the government contested that the court had earlier refused the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs (now defendants) on November 27 for interim injunction in a Motion Ex-Parte dated November 8, 2017, pointing out that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant same reliefs on December 4, 2017 as it had now turned around to do.

The government argued that it amounted to sitting on appeal over its ruling and/or orders for the court to grant same reliefs of the motion ex-parte it had earlier refused, adding that the application had become ‘functus officio’.

It explained that the court lacks requisite jurisdiction to still proceed to make an order to show cause against the defendants (now applicants) in contrary to its earlier verdict refusing the reliefs.

According to the government, there is no urgency to warrant the grant of the interim orders, maintaining that it amounted to using the court as “a vehicle for perpetrating injustice”. The government also argued that the orders are liable for non-disclosure of material facts by the Plaintiffs in obtaining the ex-parte orders. For instance, that the LCDAs had been operational since 2015.

Apart from the application to discharge the orders ex-parte, the government also filed Notice of Preliminary Objection that the matter should be dismissed and/or struck out on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, locus standi and absence of cause of action.

The government argued that the plaintiffs lacked locus standi to file the suit and that the subject matter of the suit does not fall within civil causes and matters for which the Federal High Court is conferred with exclusive jurisdiction to entertain by virtue of the provisions of 251 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).

The government asked the court to dismiss or strike out the suit for being speculative, vexatious, and frivolous and intended to irritate the state and constituting abuse of court process.

Also, the State House of Assembly and the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) have filed applications to set aside the order of substituted service granted by the court and all the proceedings of the court.

The grounds of their application are that the court could not competently make an order for substituted service at an address within jurisdiction on a defendant residing outside the jurisdiction of the court.

In the circumstance of non-service of all the processes in the suit on the House of Assembly and the Commission (OSIEC), government stressed that the court ought to set aside all the proceedings and orders granted in this suit.

Federal Lawmaker Blasts PDP Over Court Order On Osun LGs’ Fund

By Ismaeel Uthman

A member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon Ajibola Famurewa has described as inhuman, the move by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ground local government administration through the instituted ex-parte motion at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Ajibola who is representing Ilesa-East, Ilesa-West, Atakumosa-East and Atakumosa-West in the State of Osun said it is an act of wickedness and brutality against the masses for the PDP chieftains to aim at shutting down governance at local government levels.

The lawmaker in an interview with newsmen on Monday said: “All over the world, local government is the closest to the down trodden and the rural dwellers.

“That is why the dynamic style of governance of Ogbeni Aregbesola has taken giant strides to affect local government positively in the last seven years. But it is very unfortunate that the opposition party, PDP, in her usual retrogressive approach is designing famine, scarcity and artificial recession in the face of dwindling economic challenges.

“The PDP has never meant well for the people; they are jealous of Aregebsola’s numerous achievements. All their antics are to impoverish the people and turn them into beggars and this will not stand.”

Famurewa added: “Local governments in the State of Osun have kept pace with developmental policies in delivering the dividends of democracy, but have continued to struggle to make ends meet financially, as they cannot survive outside the FAAC disbursement as the case is in Lagos.

Court Fixes Jan 11, 2018 For Hearing On Osun Govt’s Application For Vacation Of Order On LGs Funds

The Federal High Court, Abuja that ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria, Accountant General of the Federal government and Ministry of Finance to warehouse statutory allocations to the local government councils in Osun state has fixed January 11, for the application of the state government seeking for the vacation of the order.

The new date, according to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Dr Basiru Ajibola, supersedes the earlier fixed date of January 23 by the court.

It was gathered that the court had last week granted a Motion Ex-perte filed by three chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Kolawole Osunkemitan, Chief Douglas Adeyinka Oyinlola and Prince Aderemi Adeniran Adelowo had approached the court with an application for the stoppage of monies for the local government in the state in
an attempt to stop the conduct of the local government in the state.

Contesting the court order, the state government filed an application before the court with a prayer for the vacation of the order.

Filed by Ajibola, the government stated in the application that the court order was liable to be set aside ‘ex debito justitae’ for fundamental irregularity, breach of applicant’s right to fair hearing and manifest lack of jurisdiction.

The government stated that the court order was made in violation of the legal right to fair hearing of the government as guaranteed under Order 26, Rules 13 and 14 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and in consequence that it breached the right to fair hearing of the government as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

On this, the government argued that whereas the Rules of the court mandated a minimum of three days as return date for the order to show cause, the Applicant only had one day between the day of service of the order on the Abuja Liaison Office on Thursday 30th November, 2017 and 4th December, 2017 when the orders were granted.

This is in view of the fact that Friday, December 1 and Sunday, December 3 were public holidays in the eye of the law and cannot be computed in determining the three day return date.

In the application, the government contested that the court had earlier refused the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs (now defendants) on November 27 for interim injunction in a Motion Ex-Parte dated November 8, 2017, pointing out that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant same reliefs December 4, 2017 as it had now turned around to do.

The government argued that it amounted to sitting on appeal over its ruling and/or orders for the court to grant same reliefs of the Motion ex-parte it had earlier refused, adding the application had become ‘functus officio’.

It explained that court lack requisite jurisdiction to still proceed to make an order to show cause against the defendants (now applicants) in contrary to its earlier verdict refusing the reliefs.

According to the government, there is no urgency to warrant the grant of the interim orders, maintaining that it amounted to using the court as “a vehicle for perpetrating injustice’. The government also argued that the orders are liable for non-disclosure of material facts by the Plaintiffs in obtaining the ex-parte orders by the plaintiffs (now defendants). For instance, that the LCDAs had been operational since 2015.

Apart from the application to discharge the orders ex-parte, the government also file Notice of Preliminary Objection that the matter should be dismissed and/or struck out on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, locus standi and absence of cause of action.

The government argued that the plaintiffs lacked locus standi to file the suit and that the subject matter of the suit does not fall within civil causes and matters for which the Federal High Court is conferred with exclusive jurisdiction to entertain by virtue of the provisions of 251 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).

In conclusion the government asked the court to dismiss or strike out the suit for being speculative, vexatious, frivolous and intended to irritate the state and constituting abuse of court process.

Also, the State House of Assembly and the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) have filed applications to set aside the order of substituted service granted by the court and all the proceedings of the court.

The grounds of their application are that the court could not competently make an order for substituted service at an address within jurisdiction on a defendant residing outside the jurisdiction of the court.

In the circumstance of non-service of all the processes in the suit on the House of Assembly and the Commission (SOSIEC), government stressed that the court ought to set aside all the proceedings and orders granted in this suit.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the applications which were filed on Friday December 8, 2017.

By law, the application to discharge the orders granted ex-parte must be heard within 14-day otherwise the orders cease to have effect.