Confusion Over Osun Councils’ Election

By Kehinde Ayantunji

There now seems to be confusion among political parties’ members and candidates in the State of Osun over the Local Government election slated for January 27, 2018, as series of interpretations have followed the Federal High Court injunction, purportedly stopping the Osun Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) from conducting the elections.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it has gotten court injunction stopping the process of the election and that the court has ordered that Status Quo be maintained, but the OSSIEC said, the injunction could not stop the commission from continuing with the process, as no service of the suit was effected on the commission.

A statement signed by the Chairman of the Commission, Otunba Segun Oladitan wondered how such an injunction would be granted without the other party having a say in the matter, saying the OSSIEC was not aware of any court process involving it at an Abuja Federal High Court.

He said, the local government election could not be stopped through a funny means by a court of law, adding that the election would still hold on January 27, 2018 as slated.

Querying the locus of the Federal High Court based in Abuja to meddle in a matter affecting the conduct of Local Government Election in the state of Osun, the commission insisted that it is focused and working round the clock to deliver the most credible and acceptable council election in January 27, 2018.

Meanwhile, a lawyer and Public Affairs Analyst, Yomi Obaditan has said that by law, no court has stopped the process of the election, but only ordered that the status quo should remain, meaning that the process would still continue.

According to him, the status quo as at the time the injunction was given was that the process of the election has started and by interpretation of the injunction, it would still continue pending the January 23, 2018 adjournment date when the matter would come up again.

He said the purported order stopping the council poll was a rumour to disturb the electoral process and the power given to state government over local government, saying, no such order was given by any court.

He noted that the state government has the power to supervise and run the electoral process at the local
government level going by Section 7and 8 of the constitution.

On the parliamentary system which is the bone of contention, Obaditan said the state has power to run the local government by any system of government it deemed fit, saying, more so that the State House of Assembly has amended the Local Government law to make provision for parliamentary system at the local government level.

He also disclosed that the court would not go ahead to stop any electoral process going by different court judgments on similar issues in Kwara State where the court noted that there was nothing unconstitutional about the process, since the House of Assembly has passed law in that regard, as well as Akwa Ibom state.

The legal practitioner also noted that the Supreme Court has, at different times ordered that no electoral process must be disturbed, but the outcome of the election could be challenged.

However, the candidates for the election are now in dilemma on which side of the information to believe, as some of them are confused on whether to go ahead with their campaigns or not, with a view to avoiding waste of resources.