Source: The Punch Newspapers
The All Progressives Congress and the Osun State House of Assembly have tackled the new Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, over the six Executive Orders he signed on Monday, 28th November 2022.
They condemned the new governor for reversing some appointments and job recruitments made by his predecessor, Gboyega Oyetola.
In his first official action as governor, Adeleke who was elected under the Peoples Democratic Party platform announced the sacking of alleged 12,000 workers employed by his predecessor.
He also deposed three monarchs and allegedly ordered the withdrawal of the certificate of return of local council chairmen elected under the APC in the October 15 local government elections conducted by the State Independent Electoral Commission.
The decision to withdraw their certificates of return was contained in a statement signed by the OSIEC Executive Secretary, Adedapo Adejumo, in Osogbo on Monday.
The PUNCH reports that Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel last Friday nullified the council election, citing non-compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act, following a case filed by the PDP against OSIEC, APC and some of its chairmanship candidates.
The court held that the electoral commission did not comply with the provisions of sections 24 of OSIEC Law, 2022 and Section 28 of the Electoral Act 2022, which mandated it to give a notice of 360 days before the conduct of the election.
Furthermore, the governor abolished the ‘State of Osun’ appellation, which was promulgated by one of his predecessors, Rauf Aregbesola, froze the state accounts, reversed the appointment of 30 permanent secretaries by Oyetola, while promising to correct past injustices, corrupt acts, and bad policies of the immediate past administration.
Earlier, the Secretary to the State Government, Tesleem Igbalaye, announced the suspension of the Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, Mr. Segun Oladitan, alongside six members of the Commission with immediate effect.
The suspension was said to have been based on several petitions bordering on financial impropriety, dereliction of duty, absenteeism and abuse of office against the said chairman and members of the commission.
The statement read, “The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke has directed the immediate suspension of the Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, Mr. Segun Oladitan and the following members of the Commission; Mr. Yusuf Oyeniran; . Alhaja Suibat Adubi; Prince Yinka Ajiboye; Mrs. Abosede Omibeku; Mr. Dosu Gidigbi and Mr. Wahab Adewoyin.
“This suspension is sequel to several petitions bothering on financial impropriety, dereliction of duty, absenteeism and abuse of office against the said chairman and members of the commission.
“Pending the outcome of an investigation into the allegations against the suspended chairman and members of the commission, the Secretary to the commission shall hold forth in running the affairs of the commission.”
But the National Vice Chairman (South-West) of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Isaac Kekemeke faulted Adeleke’s actions, noting that his predecessor’s tenure did not end with the new governor’s electoral victory on July 17.
Kekemeke in a statement on Monday admonished Adeleke to exercise authority with sobriety in order to avoid endless litigation and distractions.
He said, “Governor Adeleke shouldn’t be too excited; government is a continuum and is bound by contractual relationships duly entered into by competent authorities.
‘’One thing he, Adeleke has probably and sadly overlooked is that Oyetola’s administration did not end with the announcement of his victory by the Independent National Electoral commission.
“Oyetola and no other person was still governor between July 17th, and November 26th, 2022. The right to continuously review government programmes and activities must be exercised objectively and with sobriety; as to do otherwise will be courting distractions through endless litigation and agitation.
‘’He (Adeleke) was governor-elect between that period, while Oyetola remained governor with unhindered powers to exercise the functions of that office as he deems fit, albeit legally.”
Also taking up the governor on his actions, the Osun State House Assembly said it rejected the contents of the Executive Orders signed by the new helmsman.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Moshood Akande.
The assembly insisted that the state anthem, crest and flag were all backed by law, adding that their usage remains a matter of law and not optional.
The statement read, “The State of Osun House of Assembly having reviewed the inaugural speech of the governor and the activities of the inauguration hereby resolves as follows:
“The usage of the state anthem, crest and flag is an enactment of law and as such, its usage is a matter of law and not choice. The enactment ‘State of Osun Anthem, Crest and Flag Law, 2012’ assented to on the 18th of December, 2012 contained in Schedule 1, Il, Ill, IV and V, which carefully details every component of this law is not in ambiguity.
“Schedule I is the State Anthem, Schedule I has to do with the state Crest, Schedule III is the symbolic significance of the symbolic significance of the element in the flag. Lastly, while we are aware of a court judgment in effect recognizing “Osun State”, the Assembly, pending the determination and exhaustion of all legal means would not be drawn into this matter.
“However, the state shall and will continue to be described as the State of the Virtuous (Ipinle Omoluabi).”
Adeleke defends actions
Explaining further the content of the Executive Order, signed on Monday by Adeleke, his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed in a statement said the six orders assented to by the governor covered the appointment of workers, monarchs, among others.
He also said four committees had been instituted to review and audit appointments/promotions: state assets inventory and recovery committee, contractors, MoUs/agreements review committee, chieftaincy matters/appointment of traditional rulers review committee.
According to him, the governor has also reversed all appointments in the service of Osun State government made into any capacity in all the ministries, departments, agencies, commissions, boards and parastatals after July 17.
He also stated that all appointments of traditional rulers made by the immediate past administration after July 17 would be reviewed.
The governor specifically asked the Aree of Iree, Akinrun of Ikirun and Owa of Igbajo to vacate their palaces.
The statement noted, “Executive Governor of Osun state, Senator Ademola Adeleke has issued six executive orders to take immediate effect. The orders signed this morning by His Excellency covered chieftaincy matters, appointments issues, setting up of review panel, staff audit and employment matters.’’
PDP backs governor
However, the PDP has thrown its weight behind the governor, stating that all his decisions were in order.
Speaking with The PUNCH, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba said Adeleke, having prioritized his programmes, chose to correct the “illegalities” perpetrated by the previous administration.
He said, “We don’t want to elevate his (Kekemeke’s) comments to a point of national discourse. When a government comes on, it has its priority and part of the obligation of PDP government from our mission statement is that we want to rescue and rebuild Nigeria.
“Osun state was in the jugular of reckless and irresponsible government for eight years. A new government is now in place and it is settling down to correct the mistakes of old. If there are illegalities, they should be corrected.
“One of such is the irresponsible and reckless renaming of Osun state as State of Osun which is completely unconstitutional because we are conscious of the constitutionality of our process.
“For us, we are a rule of law party, we follow the process and if there are actions that have been taken that are unconstitutional, any responsible governor which Senator Adeleke represents must reverse that.’’
“Another thing is the unconstitutional conduct of elections to the local government. They were advised but because the APC is run by people who are not interested in the rule of law and believe in impunity; they went ahead to conduct an illegal election which of a court of competent jurisdiction has set aside,” he said
Ologunagba argued further that the governor simply obeyed the court order by dissolving the elected council executives.
He added, “When the APC makes a comment from afar, you disregard it because it is not worth it. So the governor has obeyed the court order by dissolving that charade.
‘’The people are happy with his decision because of the madness of this APC in the last eight years. No tangible project was established but corruption and recklessness were the order of the day.’’
LG chairmen react
But reacting to the withdrawal of Certificates of Return issued to the elected council officials, the Chairman of Irepodun Local Government, Adegoke Ogunsola, said having studied the decision, the affected officials have valid grounds to approach the court for redress.
Ogunsola, a lawyer, explained that after the court judgment last Friday, the affected parties filed a notice of appeal and duly served the PDP, a development which ought to have put to rest all issues concerning local government elections until the relevant court decides the matter.
Besides, Ogunsola said the OSIEC secretary, a career civil servant, could not be used to withdraw the certificates issued to them by the commission, except the court ruled that it should be withdrawn.
He stated, “There are so many issues. They got a judgment against us on Friday on the procedures of the elections. Immediately after the judgment was delivered, we filed a notice of appeal and stay of execution.
“The All Progressive Congress and some of us who are parties to the case and we served them (the PDP). That is why he (Adeleke) could not pronounce on it in his inaugural address.
“After that, he directed the most senior career officers to take over from us which is illegal in the sense that once you file a notice of appeal and stay of execution and you serve your opponent who wants to execute the judgment, you are not supposed to do anything on the matter any longer. You have to respect that until the court gives its ruling.
“Furthermore, this afternoon, the OSIEC executive secretary made a release that they will not appeal the judgment and that our certificate should be withdrawn. We are still studying the situation to know what next to do because he doesn’t have that power. It is the court that can withdraw the certificate that has been issued.’’
“The party has taken a position. The secretary of the party called and asked me to study the relevant laws and get back to him and I told him that the next thing is to challenge the decision of the executive secretary of OSIEC in court,” Ogunsola concluded.
One of the monarchs affected by the executive order, the Akinrun of Ikirun, Oba Olalekan Akadiri, said he had directed his chiefs to vacate the palace.
He said, “I don’t have issue with the fact that the government wants to set up a committee to review the process that produced me as monarch. The process that made me a monarch is perfect and I don’t think I have engaged in any manipulation. I have ordered the chiefs to move out of the palace to allow the government do its job.”
Meanwhile, the reversal of appointments into the civil service ordered by the governor may affect thousands of the workers recruited after Oyetola had lost his re-election.
Findings indicate that about 3,000 new teachers were recruited into various public primary schools in the state between mid-July and November.
It was also learnt that last Wednesday, 100 letters of appointment were taken to Osun State Polytechnic, Iree for distribution to those newly employed.
Over 1,000 workers were also reportedly employed through the State Hospital Management Development Board between July and November, while about 61 freelance staff that have worked with Osun State Broadcasting Corporation for many years were also absorbed into full-time service of the station.
Sources also said 1,500 teachers were recruited to secondary schools across the state after the July 16 elections.
But Oyetola’s spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan, dismissed as false the reports that his principal employed 12, 000 into the civil service.
He challenged the government to publish the list of the purported 12, 000 workers, asking, “What is the entire workforce of the state?”