After almost six years of legal battle, the Appeal Court sitting In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday nullified the May 31, 2011 removal of the Chairman and members of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), by Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
The court described the order of a Lower Court, which upheld the removal, as one “inconsistent with the provisions of Section 201(2) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 8 of the State Independent Electoral Commission Law.”
Kayode Adeleye (Chairman), Yeside Kuforiji, Oluwole Olaleye, Adeyemi Lawal-Solarin, Oyeniyi Adekola, Olatunji Falola, Ademola Ogunleye and Paul Onanuga had challenged their removal at the lower court but lost in the judgement delivered on December 23, 2011.
They appealed and sought a declaration that Justice Olatokunbo Olopade’s judgment was null and void.
In the suit before Justices Modupe Fasanmi, Chinwe Eugenia Iyizoba and Nonyerem Okoronkwo, the appellants canvassed that Amosun erred on the side of the law by dissolving the commission through a statement dated May 31, 2011 and signed by his Senior Special Assistant ( SSA) Media and Communication, Mrs Funmi Wakama.
The court said: “The tenure of the office of the governor under the 1999 Constitution as well as that of the state lawmaker is four years.
“The constitution, however, grants the members of the State Independent Electoral Commission tenure of five years.
“This was done deliberately to create continuity and stability in the electoral process and governance.
“It is not the intention of the constitution that the membership of those commissions should change with fortunes of parties in a state.”
Justice Iyizoba said: “I hold that the appeal has merit. It is hereby allowed.
“The tenure of the appellants has since expired but the relief sought in the Notice of Appeal on page 123 of the record is an order of this court setting aside the decision of the lower court.
“The decision of the lower court is hereby set aside. I make no order as to costs.”