Friday 26 January 2024

Adeleke's White Paper: a product of impunity, judicial mockery, nullity....By Waheed Adekunle


Dissecting the declaration of the Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke on the kingship issues in Igbajo, Ikirun, Iree, Awo and Abere as contained in the 'White Paper' recently issued by the state government, it is crystal clear that the Adeleke's government was on a vendetta mission. The only motive being to humiliate the functionaries of the immediate-past administration for no just cause.

Critical assessment of the so-called 'White Paper' which by all standards, has been adjudged as a product of impunity, judicial mockery, executive recklessness and nullity' depicts the palpable decadence and lack of moral standards in the Governor Adeleke's administration.

It is unfortunate that the Adeleke's government, after 13 months of being at the helms of affairs, is still roaming around to witch-hunt perceived enemies and members of the opposition all in the name of scoring cheap political point and earn undue public sympathy.


Ilesa Grammar School at 90

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For a serious government, one would have expected the state government to have gone beyond witch-hunting phase and face governance in the real sense of it, instead of running after nonexistent shadow of destruction that may consume it and deface its image.

Taking the issues in the 'White Paper' sequentially, it is unambiguous that the entire process that produced the so-called White Paper is a nullity both in contents and contexts.

Admitting the constitutional clause that gave birth to the validity of Executive Order or Fiat in the nation's Constitution as being exercised by Nigerian Governors, it is not out of place to infer and set the record straight on its applicability, appropriateness and possible limitations. Though the Executive Order is recognized by law but the abuse of same could amount to executive recklessness, impunity and abuse of power and in some cases which may in turn lead to 'anarchy'.

However, going by the composition of the members of the Governor Adeleke Chieftaincy/Assets Recovery Review Committee being chaired by the governor's political ally, who is now, the Commissioner for Commerce, Bunmi Jenyo, it is not surprising that the government came up with the despicable contents in the said White Paper which in actual fact, is nothing but a charade.

It is disheartening that Governor Adeleke's government is poised to clampdown on the opposition inspite of its pervasive dirty linens that had subjected the state to untoward ridicule and mesmerization in the comity of states since the administration came on board.

Recall that the Adeleke's government had on 28th December, 2022, after its inauguration, announced the dethronement of three traditional rulers installed by his predecessor, Adegboyega Oyetola, in the state, through the instrument of obnoxious Executive Order, directing all the affected monarchs to vacate their respective palaces. The governor further directed the security agents to take over the palaces of the Owa of Igbajo, Oba Gboyega Famodun, the Akinrun of Ikirun, Oba Yinusa Akadiri and the Aree of Iree, Oba Ademola respectively leaving the highly respected stools vacant in the last 13 months.

Thirteen months after, the Adeleke government came up with a purported White Paper on the Chieftaincy Matter where the fate of the affected monarchs were decided. According to the White Paper, the installation of Owa of Igbajo and Aree of Iree was nullified while all inclusive selection processes for a new Aree of Iree and Owa of Igbajo was ordered to commence immediately. 

In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, government noted that, "on the disputed Akinrun's stool, the White Paper directed that the parties await the outcome of the case before the Court of Appeal and that the stool remains vacant"

Alimi's statement further disclosed that Governor Adeleke has approved a taskforce to recover the vehicles allegedly looted by the officials of the former Governor Oyetola.

While it is not out of place for a governor to set up a Review Committee on issues of public interest, it is pertinent to expose the public to some of illegalities being perpetrated by the people in the corridors of power.

Fundamentally, if there was any genuine reason at all to investigate some of the allegations levelled against the previous administration, one would have expected Governor Adeleke to set up a 'Panel of Inquiry' instead of 'Administrative Committee' to carry out the investigation. In law, it is only a 'Panel of Inquiry' setup by the Governor and headed by an adjudicating authority (either a serving or retired Judge of the state) that has the constitutional power to inquire, investigate, summon, and come up with recommendations for the government consideration and approval, not an Administrative Committee as in the case of Adeleke's Chieftaincy Matter and Assets Recovery Committee.

Administrative Committee could only be set up on economic issues such as partnerships and other related matters not on issue that has to do with allegations or constitutional infractions as in the case of Obaship and alleged property stealing.

Considering the circumstances around the whole gamut, the Administrative Committee set up by the government to investigate the matters in question, is a nullity and an advanced version of impunity, while its recommendation(s) remain a product of judicial mockery in view of the pending cases before the competent courts of jurisdiction.

If the government was really serious, genuine and ready to champion the principle of fair hearing, what stops it from setting up a Panel of Inquiry that would be made up of people of impeccable character not political demagogues and interlopers. What the governor did was to assemble his 'Yes men' to act the script as *'he who pays the piper, dictates the tune'*.

Sincerely, what was expected of the government as at then, was to set up a 'Panel of Inquiry' that would be populated by the concerned individuals, representatives of critical institutions  and stakeholders including members of the Civil Society Organizations not government sympathizers that formed membership of the Administrative Committee that produced the controversial document called 'White Paper.'

So, the government's Review Committee is nothing but a child-play and mere executive exercise purportedly orchestrated to raise dust where there's none, and distract attention as its recommendations can not in anyway stand the test of time. Analysing this further, particularly on the assets recovery saga, it is high time to set the record straight so that the people can be better informed on the attendant blunder committed by the government. 

While there is nothing wrong in recovering government properties that are illegally in possession of individuals, no matter highly placed, it is also important to follow Due Process in carrying out such exercise. Ideally, the government of Governor Adeleke is expected to follow the Due Process not by crook means that may resort to civil unrest. As a matter of fact, setting up a Committee to enforce the recovery of the alleged stolen properties as announced by the government is nothing but an overbearing of executive power, because it is only a competent court of law that has such power to so do.

Ideally, the principle of fair hearing, fundamentally requires the governor to set a Panel of Inquiry in such instance in which its recommendations would be used as a product of litigation for a court to adjudicate. In such situation, the court would be expected to summon the concerned individuals before it while justice would be dispensed. It is within the constitutional power of the court to determine whether or not the former Governor Oyetola has the constitutional power to approve as gifts, the alleged official vehicles used by members of his Executive Council while in office or not.

If for instance, the court finds out that the governor doesn't have such power of approving official cars for the former cabinet members, then the government could be directed by the court to set up a recovery committee to enforce the retrievement of the government assets, and this is subject to the dictates of the court pronouncement not at the discretion or prerogative of the Executive Governor as in the case of the decision taken by the Adeleke government.

It is appauling that inspite of the retinue of aides appointed by the incumbent government, the government still languishes in ignorance when it comes to legal matters and the question to ask is that what is the responsibility of the Chief Custodian of the law in the state as well as other legal advisers to the governor? Why has Osun become a talking reference when it comes to breach of law and flagrant disobedience to the rule of law and due process? Why has our dear state become a subject of litigation in the comity of states in the country? Why has the current government been mocking the judiciary in its actions and inactions as attested to in the cases of the 'forcefully sacked' substantive Rector of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree; almost removed Chief Judge of Osun; members of the statutory Commissions among others inspite of the pending cases before the courts?

Saying the incumbent government in the state lacks constitutional logic and basic legal rudiments is to say the least of the anomalies that characterized the system in the last 13 months going by the analysis given above.

It is unfortunate that even the matters that are still pending before the Court in which the government as an institution is a defendant, the state government still took decisions on them, meaning that Governor Adeleke as the head of the government has become a Judge in his own case. 

It is not a news that the case of Akinrun, Aree and Owa of Igbajo are still pending before the Court, so the question to ask now is that is governor Adeleke and his government not aware of the pending cases? Is government not a defendant in those cases? What informs the decision of the government on the obnoxious Executive Order and subsequent White Paper? Does the Administrative Committee have the power to review the matter in the first instance? These and a lot more are begging for answers.

As a discerning mind, the candid advice for the government is to retrace its steps; tow the right paths by following the due process as enshrined in the Constitution not the voyage of vendetta and vengeance mission which in the end could create bad blood and cause civil unrest in the state.

May God heal our land!

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