State of Osun Does Not Exist, Court Rules

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Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo

An Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has declared that the name, ‘State of Osun,’ does not exist constitutionally.

The court ruled that what is known to the country’s constitution is Osun State.

Justice Mathias Agboola, while delivering a judgment in a case brought before it by a lawyer, Mr. Kanmi Ajibola, against the state government over a personal tax of N5.3million that the state Internal Revenue Service asked him to pay, said it amounted to “artistic colouration when ‘Osun State’ is referred to ‘State of Osun’.”

Ajibola had approached the court to seek redress over tax demanded from him, which he said was punitive because he usually held opposing views to those of the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.

The lawyer also urged the court to declare the law upon which the tax was based as illegal since it was a law made by ‘The House of Assembly of State of Osun,’ a body unknown to the constitution.

Defence counsel, M. Popoola, had asked that the case be struck out for lack of jurisdiction.

But in his judgment, Justice Agboola said lawyers should be wary of legal implications of referring to Osun State as the “State of Osun”.

He, however, upheld the submission of the defence that Ajibola did not seek all necessary means of settlement before approaching the court.

He further held that Ajibola should seek redress through other necessary procedures laid down by the tax law, adding that should such failed, the plaintiff should return to court.