OYSIEC members sue Makinde over dissolution

The chairman and members of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) have dragged Governor Seyi Makinde to court over the dissolution of the commission.

Joined in the multiple suits filed at the National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan are the Attorney-General of the state, House of Assembly and Head of Service.

In seven separate suits individually filed by the chairman and members of OYSIEC, the claimants are challenging the premature dissolution and termination of their tenure of office as chairman and members of the commission.

In the originating summons filed by the claimants, they are seeking 10 reliefs including among others: A declaration that the purported dissolution of the OYSIEC and termination of the appointment of the claimants by the governor is illegal, null and void; declaration that the resolution of the House of Assembly purporting to ratify such dissolution of the commission is illegal, null and void; a declaration that the Oyo State Government letter terminating their appointment as chairman and members of OYSIEC and dissolving the commission, dated July 1, 2019 and issued by the Head of Service is illegal, unconstitutional and void; an order setting aside the said letter of dissolution terminating their appointment as chairman and members of OYSIEC; an order of reinstatement of the claimants back on OYSIEC board and restoring all entitlements and rights; injunction restraining the Oyo State Government and its agencies from reconstituting or appointing any persons on the commission until the expiration of the claimants constitutional five-year tenure.

The claimants have also filed before the court an application seeking interlocutory injunction against the Oyo State Governor, House of Assembly and others, to restrain them and their agents or servants from nominating, appointing, screening any person or reconstituting the commission (OYSIEC ) until the determination of their case.

Governor Makinde had by a letter of July 1, 2019 issued by the Head of Service dissolved the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, admitting that their tenure had not expired, but offering the members money to pay them off for their unexpired tenure.

The claimants’ counsel in a letter accompanying the service of the court processes filed, and addressed to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, which was copied to other defendants and the National Industrial Court, warned the government not to take any step to over reach or disregard the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court, but respect the rule of law by ensuring nothing is done to appoint anyone into OYSIEC while the cases are pending.

This, the counsel said, is in line with the Supreme Court decision in Ojukwu V Gov, Lagos State which held decisively that where a party is served with a notice of a suit before a court especially when accompanied with a motion for injunction seeking to restrain the performance of any act or enjoining the doing of certain activities, the hands of the said party are effectively tied from proceeding with the threatened action, even if no preliminary injunction has been issued.

Recently, a flurry of cases and applications have been filed in the state against Governor Makinde’s administration and officials by the Chairmen of local government councils in the state challenging the dissolution of local government councils.

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