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Osun AC lawmakers drag PDP counterparts to court

Fresh crisis is brewing in the Osun State House of Assembly as 11 Action Congress (AC) legislators have sued the House over the process adopted in the ratification, screening and and swearing-in of members of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) by the assembly.

The House is made up of II and 15 lawmakers of the AC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) respectively.

The opposition members in a suit no HOS/M41/2009 and dated June 22 filed by the Minority Leader, Hon. Timothy Owoeye on behalf of others are challenging the legality or otherwise the process adopted for the screening of OSSIEC’s member.

The lawmakers also urged the court to dissolve the OSSIEC, describing it as illegal.

Joined in the suit are the 15 PDP lawmakers in the state.

It would be recalled that members of the State House of Assembly were divided when names of new OSSIEC members were forwarded to the assembly by the Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola for ratification.

According to the suit, the AC lawmakers alleged that the clearance of the list of members of OSSIEC by the PDP lawmakers was hasty, unconstitutional, null and void.

The lawmakers argued that the law required that the assembly must carry out the verification of age, educational qualification and other details relating to citizenship of individual members. They said such details can only be obtained from certified photocopies of documents attached to personal curriculum vitae which five of the seven members of the commission did not tender before the house at the time they were asked to do so.

In the suit, the claimants are praying the court to determine amongst others whether the defendants were not bound by the combined provisions of Sections 106 and 200(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 in the screening and confirmation of the appointment of chairman and members of the OSSIEC.

The court will also determine whether the defendants were right by confirming the appointment of OSSIEC members without the credentials of five of the nominees placed before the house to ascertain their academic qualification as demanded by Section 106(c) of the 1999 Constitution which prescribes minimum academic requirement for qualification for membership of the House of Assembly of a state as applicable to membership of OSSIEC.

Also, the court is to determine whether it was right for the assembly to confirm the list of members when there was no shred of evidence to prove they are Nigerian citizens as demanded by section 106(a) of the 1999 Constitution which prescribe Nigerian citizenship for qualification for membership of House of Assembly of a state as applicable to membership of State Independent Electoral Commission.

The AC lawmakers is that they want the court to determine whether the confirmation of the appointment without following the constitutional provision is not irregular, null and void and unconstitutional.

In the 16-paragraph affidavit to support their prayers, AC lawmakers attached the votes and proceedings of the Assembly of March 24, 2009, the day the ratification was done, prayed the court to declare the purported confirmation as null, void and of no effect.

They also asked the court to declare the procedure adopted as irregular, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.

The AC lawmakers further urged the court to dissolve the OSSIEC as presently constituted.

No date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Source: Champion