Court orders dissolution of Local Government caretaker committees in Osun

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The case was filed by the Osun PDP.

The Peoples Democratic Party secured a judicial victory over the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria in Osun State on Tuesday as a High Court in Osogbo ordered the immediate dissolution of the caretaker committees set up by the State Government in the 20 Local Government Areas.

The dissolution followed the ruling in the suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state against the Action Congress, ACN, administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

Justice Babajide Falola, in his ruling, frowned at what he described as a clandestine move by the Osun Government to tamper with the law.

Mr. Falola stated that the ACN had acted contrary to the provision of the law as regards the composition of the caretaker committees.

According to him, the law stipulates the maximum of five committee members for each of the local governments as against the 14 members that constitute each of the committee.

“I sanction the ACN led government for going behind the court to clandestinely amend the local government law in the state to ensure the composition beyond the stipulated five members,’’ he said.

The court dissolved all the caretaker committees in all the 30 local governments of the state with immediate effect.

The judge directed the state to follow proper procedure in the amendment of the local government law before increasing the number of members of the committees.

Reacting to the judgment, the Assistant Legal Adviser to the PDP in Osun, Abolarinwa Abidoye, described the ruling as a victory for democracy in the state.

He said the party decided to approach the court with other plaintiffs to seek redress and call government to order on this issue.

“We are praying the court on the practicability of the ACN led government of not conducting local government elections in the state.

‘’But the court in its wisdom ruled that if not for the pending case at the Supreme Court on the issue, it would have declared the caretaker committees illegal and unconstitutional,’’ he said.

The counsel to the ACN-led government, Abiodun Olaide, said the amendment to increase the number of committee members was not properly done.

Government, he said, would comply with the ruling and subsequently dissolve the committees pending the proper amendment of the law.

He, however, debunked the claim by the PDP counsel that the party won the case.

“The judgment is not in any way a victory for the opposition party; they want the court to declare the committees illegal for election to be conducted which the court objected to.

“Election cannot be conducted in all the local government areas until the Supreme Court rules on the case before it filed by the Osun Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC).

“Until then, we shall continue to have caretaker committees in all these local governments pending the ruling of the apex court,’’ he said.

Mr. Falola had also dissolved the OSIEC saying the members were not properly screened by the state House of Assembly.

OSIEC challenged the ruling at the Supreme Court where it is pending and making it impossible to constitute another.

(NAN)