Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
A former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ilesa Branch, Mr. Kanmi Ajibola, has filed a contempt of court charge against the chairman and all members of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye.
Besides, Ajibola has written a letter to the OSIEC Chairman, Mr. Oladunjoye Oladitan, warning him of the dire consequences of his action if he should proceed with the proposed October 15 council polls in the state knowing that the matter regarding the election is before the court of law.
He also cautioned the Osun State Governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, against releasing funds to conduct “the illegal” local government election during the pendency of the case in court, noting that such action should be considered unwise and criminal misappropriation of public funds.
The lawyer, in the letter dated August 17, 2022, and titled SUIT NO: HIL/M.66/17 Kanmi Ajibola Versus Governor of Oun State and Others, advised the OSIEC boss on the need to stay further action on the polls and submit to the rule of law by not going into what he called “illegality.”
Parts of the letter reads: “In the referred suit, an injunctive application was filed on August 2, 2022, and it was served immediately on all the defendants, bringing the pendency of same to their notice.
“It is trite position of the law that once the application for enforcement of legal right is pending before a competent court, the parties in the case cannot take a step in respect of the subject matter in court to do so will be contemptuous.”
He quoted the Supreme Court’s judgments delivered on the Military Governor of Lagos State vs. Ojukwu (1986); Elf Marketing (Nig) Limited vs. J.L. Oyeniyin & Sons (1985) 7 NWLR; First African Trust Bank Limited & Anor. Vs. Basil O. Ezegbu & Anor (1992), saying when a matter is pending in a court, a notice of such matter acts as a stay of any action that may prejudice the matter in court.
“The legal effect of this is that all parties involved shall maintain status the quo pending the determination of the instant case.
“Surprisingly and extremely unexpectedly, after being served with the court’s processes in this suit, the OSIEC is taking steps to conduct the local government election on October 15, 2022.
“It is quite unfortunate that these types of steps are taken to rubbish the course of justice and rule of law are coming forth from the government organisation.
“It is good to inform you that in the circumstances of the pendency of this suit, it is illegal for the OSIEC to conduct the planned election on October 15, 2022. Doing so will be illegality and criminal misappropriation of public funds. This can lead to the prosecution of the erring perpetrators in the court of law.”
Ajibola, therefore, moved a step further by filing Form 48, which was the notice of consequence of disobedience of order of court at the State High Court against the OSIEC Chairman and the OSIEC Secretary, Mr. Adedapo Adejumo, and six other members of the commission, aswell as the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Clerk of the Assembly, Mr. Simeon Amusan and the State Attorney General, Mr. Femi Akande.