Legal practitioners have waded into the disagreement between Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District, Basiru Ajibola and member representing Obokun/ Oriade Federal Constituency of Osun State, Hon Wole Oke on alleged practice of parliamentary system in the administration of state’s local government.
The lawyers said the use of parliamentary system in the state is alien to the Nigerian constitution.
Oke, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had at the weekend faulted the subsisting parliamentary system of government being practiced in the administration of the local governments across the state and called for adjustment in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as Amended.
Reacting to the development, Senator Ajibola, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, faulted Oke’s statement on the subject matter.
He claimed that the motive of the lawmaker in raising this issue now was suspect, because the local government law had been operational more than two years ago.
Reacting however, former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) chairman, Ilesha Branch, Kanmi Ajibola Esq,
and an Ibadan-based legal luminary, Barrister Yemi Giwa, said the issues raised by Oke over the administration of local councils in the state has to be addressed.
Ajibola said that the parliamentary system in the administration of local government in Osun State was a constitutional abberation and oddity which must be addressed immediately in the interest of the people of the state.
He added, “during the tenure of office of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the governor of Osun State, among others, two ignominious onslaughts were uncorked against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the advice of the then Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, now a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ajibola Bashiru. For the reasons best known to him, he has made Osun state a subject of constitutional controversy to date.
“The two blitzkriegs against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are changing the name of Osun state to ‘State of Osun’ and introducing Parliamentary System of Government into the administration of Local Government in Osun State. Interestingly, Osun state is the only state in Nigeria where this revolting rebellion exists against the Nigerian constitution and unchecked by the Federal Government.”
The lawyer said Oke’s position was on the legality or otherwise of the parliamentary system in the administration of Local Government in Osun state,
Ajibola stressed that the question that should be asked is, whether parliamentary system being employed in the administration of Local Governments in Osun state is legal and constitutional.
According to him, “by the provision of Section 2 (2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), it provides that: ‘Nigeria shall be Federation consisting of States and a Federal Capital Territory.’
“Section 3 (1) contains all the names of the thirty-six states that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Section 3 (2) directs us to the first column of part 1 of the first schedule where all the names of the Local Government Areas that make up each states are listed.
“The import and linkage of this is that, without Local Government Areas there cannot be a state and where there are no states there cannot be the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
On his part, Barr Giwa who is an indigene of Osun said “What Osun State is practicing at the local level dubbed parliamentary system is execrable and despicable in civilized clime.”
He however opined that “the whole excercise will soon crumble like the way the ‘state of Osun’ crumbled and the obnoxious educational policies died in the state.”
He however said it is displeasing to read the opposing views of two Federal lawmakers from Osun State, over the (un)constitutionality of the parliamentary system adopted by Osun State at its local government level.
The State Assembly has commenced the amendment of the State Local Government Administration Act 2015. Whether it would amend the lacuna by removing State of Osun and switch to Presidential System in compliance with our Constitution is another matter.