Osun LG Elections to Hold October 15

Yinka Kolawole

The Chairman Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) Otunba Segun Oladitan yesterday confirmed that the local government elections in  the state would be conducted on the 15th day of October, 2022.

Speaking at a press conference  the chairman recalled that when the commission conducted elections in January 2018, it was based on parliamentary system.

He emphasised that the October 15th  elections that would be conducted shall be on presidential system whereby Chairmen of Local Government Councils shall be elected directly and the Ward Councillors shall be elected separately.

According to him “For some time now, the commission had been making necessary contacts with relevant stakeholders and carrying out in-house preparations for the conduct of local government elections.”

 “As recent as Friday the 12th day of August, 2022 the commission had parley with all the political parties in the State where they were informed of the impending conduct of the elections.”

Oladitan stressed that in accordance with the Oath, which  members of the commission took they shall ensure that the elections are free, fair, transparent and credible.

He emphasised that the State House of  Assembly had recently enacted Osun State Independent Electoral Commission Law 2022 which had been duly assented to by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.

The chairman opined that as at date, all the inhibiting factors and circumstances have been ameliorated, thereby making the coast very clear for the commission to conduct local government elections.

He specifically stressed that all previous laws on local government elections in the state had been repealed.

The current commission was inaugurated in June, 2020 principally to conduct local government elections then.

However, this objective was hampered by a number of incumbrances such as court litigations, COVID-19 pandemic, End-SARS protest and necessary enabling Law.

He therefore, sought  for the support of all stakeholders in giving balanced, fair and impartial reportage of the Commission’s activities before, during and after the elections.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Osun State has  told Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) to stop the Local Government Election being planned by the Commission because the election conflicts completely with the provisions of the law.

According to a press statement issued at the weekend the PDP described the planned election as a futile effort that will certainly not stand and as such, an attempt to plunge the state further into financial mess.

The State Independent Electoral Commission had announced on Friday that  it would conduct the local government election in October 2022, in flagrant disregard for the rules of conduct of elections as enshrined in the new electoral act as amended.

While presenting position of the PDP to the Commission on behalf of the state Chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle, the Party Secretary Otunba Femmy Carrena and secretary of PDP Legal Committee, Barrister Hashim Abioye drew attention of the Commission, not only to the futility of conducting the election but the grave danger of running foul of the law of the land with inherent consequences.

According to a letter presented to OSSIEC and explained by the duo of Otunba

Femmy Carrena and Barrister Hashim Abioye, the PDP informed Chairman and members of the commission about pendency of legal suits before the High Court of Osun State and of latest, a suit pending before the Federal High Court, Osogbo, in which the legitimacy of the Commission as presently constituted, the constitutionality and legality of the planned Local Government election amongst others are being challenged.

The PDP also cited the Supreme Court decision in OSSIEC versus  Action Congress, where it was stated without any ambiguity that no state electoral law can override the provision of the Electoral Act made by the National Assembly.

“To this effect, by the provision of section 28 of the Electoral Act, 2022, no election can hold until a notice is given not later than 360 days before the said election. The said Electoral Act also provides mandatorily in section 29 the period within which list of candidates must be published which is 180 days.

“It is no brainier that the period within which the outgoing APC administration in Osun State is left with, is clearly far less than the period stipulated in paragraphs 28 & 29 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

“It will also be fatally wrong for OSSIEC chairman to  jettison section 150 (1) & (2) of the electoral act which makes it compulsory for a state electoral body to follow the provision of the Electoral Act in the procedure regulating elections to the Local Government as sub-paragraph 3 of the said section invalidates any election by a State electoral body in contravention of the procedure stipulated in the Electoral Act.

“To further solidify the PDP’s position,  the Electoral Act in sub-paragraph 4 of section 150 makes it a criminal offence and any official of the state electoral body in breach of the provision shall be prosecuted and punished accordingly

“OSSIEC, acting ignorant of these clear provisions of the law for whatever reasons, while adamantly pressing for conduct of the election, can only lead to one end,  which is willful criminality and the attendant consequences, the PDP warned.

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