Osun seeks vacation of order on council funds
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor State of Osun.
The Osun State government has filed an application for vacation of the ex-parte orders granted against it by a Federal High Court in Abuja last week.
The order directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) and Federal Ministry of Finance to warehouse statutory allocations to the local government areas in the state.
The court also restrained the state government on conduct of election to the local council development areas and area councils.
In the application filed before the same Federal High Court, the Osun State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Basiru Ajibola, claimed the order was liable to be set aside for fundamental irregularity, breach of applicant’s right to fair hearing and manifest lack of jurisdiction.
Three chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Kolawole Osunkemitan, Chief Douglas Adeyinka Oyinlola and Prince Aderemi Adeniran Adelowo had approached the court with an application for the stoppage of monies for the local government in an attempt to stop the conduct of the local government election.
Ajibola argued that whereas the rules of the court mandated a minimum of three days as return date for the order to show cause, the applicant only had one day between the day of service of the orders on the Abuja Liaison Office (November 30, 2017) and December 4, 2017 when the orders were granted. This is in view of the fact that Friday, December 1 and Sunday, December 3 were public holidays in the eye of the law and cannot be computed in determining the three-day return date.
The government said the court had earlier refused the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs (now defendants) on November 27 for interim injunction in a motion ex-parte dated November 8, 2017, pointing out that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant same reliefs on December 4, 2017 as it had turned around to do.
Ajibola argued that it amounted to the court sitting on appeal over its ruling and/or orders for it to grant same reliefs of the motion ex-parte it had earlier refused.
It explained that court lack requisite jurisdiction to still proceed to make an order to show cause against the defendants (now applicants) in contrary to its earlier verdict refusing the reliefs.
According to the government, there was no urgency to warrant the grant of the interim orders, maintaining that it amounted to using the court as “a vehicle for perpetrating injustice’. The commissioner also argued that the orders were liable for non-disclosure of material facts by the plaintiffs in obtaining the ex-parte orders.
Also, the House of Assembly and the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) have filed applications to set aside the order of substituted service granted by the court and all the proceedings.
The grounds of their applications are that the court could not competently make an order for substituted service on a defendant residing outside the jurisdiction of the court.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the applications, which were filed on Friday December 8, 2017. By law, the application to discharge the orders must be heard within 14-day otherwise the orders cease to have effect.