Monday 10 April 2017

Governor Aregbesola appears in Osun court, defends non appointment of commissioners

The Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola on Monday appeared before a High Court in the State in defence of a case filed against him over his refusal to constitute State executive council.

Since taking over as the state governor in November 2014 Aregbesola has not appointed his commissioners.

He is said to be running the state affairs as a sole administrator.

Barrister Kanmi Ajibola, who dragged him before the court, insisted that Aregbesola was not only a sole administrator but was ruling the state despotically in a way not envisaged by the constitution of Nigeria.

Aregbesola, in a counter affidavit deposed to by Barrister Ibikunle Iyanda from the Chambers of Adewale Afolabi filed in opposition to the originating summons of the plaintiff, said that the governor had been discharging his duties in line with the constitution in the last two years effectively.

He said that there were permanent secretaries and heads of the parastatals manning various ministries in the state.

Iyanda explained further that he was briefed by the governor’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Gbenga Akanno that the “the defendant is still within the time frame to appoint commissioners to form his cabinet.”

Iyanda said the governor had not erred in law because the 1999 constitution “does not state the time frame for the appointment of commissioners.”

While arguing that Aregbesola will constitute his executive council before the expiration of his tenure next year, the layer stated further that at no time did the governor after his swearing-in in 2014 said he would not choose members of the state executive council.

Aregbesola prayed the court to quash the case, saying the plaintiff did not show any interest, right or obligation in the matters he was complaining of in his suit.

But the plaintiff, Ajibola noted that as a legal practitioner, political and human rights activist and one of the people who fought for the enthronement of democracy, he had the responsibility of upholding, promoting, fostering and observing the rule of law.

According to him, the governor has turned “democratic governance” in Osun state to “administratorship” and that the governor has “applied the operation of the constitution with disdain in contravention of his oath of office.”

“Since 27th day of November 2014 to date, the governor of Osun State has been determining the general direction of the policies without the advice of the state executive council contrary to the constitution”, he said.

Backing his arguments with several constitutional provisions, Ajebola stated that he has the locus standi to challenge the governor since “it is a constitutional matter” and that the court has jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.”


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