The attention of the Osogbo Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association has been drawn to the news making the rounds that the Osun State House of Assembly under the Speakership of Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye has directed the parliamentarians of the Osogbo South Local Council Development Area (Osogbo South LCDA) to vacate the local government secretariat and not to parade themselves in that capacity, pending when the State Assembly would investigate the crisis rocking the Council.
The Assembly is reported to have issued the directive purportedly in line with Section 19 (c) of the State of Osun Local Government Areas (Creation and Administration) Law, 2015, hereinafter called ‘the Law’. But, upon a community examination of Rule 39 of the Standing Orders and Rules for Council of the Local Government Area (LGA)/Local Council Development Area (LCDA) AND Sections 15 and 19 of ‘the Law’, it is found that the Osun State House of Assembly is not vested with any power to suspend or restrain the elected functionaries of any local government or LCDA (as the case may be) in the manner as purportedly directed by the Assembly.
Furthermore, it is particularly of interest that both the Osogbo South LCDA’s parliamentarians and the Osun State House of Assembly have put the cart before the horse in the processes of seeking to remove the LDCA Chairman.
By Section 19 of the Law, an allegation of gross misconduct against a local government/LCDA Chairman is to be referred to the State House of Assembly for investigation. And upon the said investigation, the Assembly is to communicate its findings to the local government/LCDA within seven (7) days of its receipt of such allegation. It is only after the expiration of the seven days, whether or not the Assembly makes a return, that the Council can proceed with the removal processes.
However, what the Osogbo South LCDA parliamentarians purported to transmit to the Assembly by a letter dated the 24th day of December, 2019 was “NOTIFICATION OF REMOVAL OF HON. ABDULHAKEEM OLAOYE FROM THE POSITION OF EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF OSOGBO SOUTH LCDA” rather than “allegation of misconduct” as commanded by the Law enabling them in that behalf.
It is thus our conclusion that, the Council is wrong by jumping the gun in its removal processes, just as the Assembly is equally wrong in seeking to investigate a purportedly concluded, even though faulty process, contrary to the procedure statutorily stipulated for doing so. And more wrong is the Assembly’s directive restraining the elected parliamentarians from parading themselves as such. The directive is illegal and, in effect, not binding on the office holders concerned.
Chairman, NBA Osogbo Branch
Legal Adviser, NBA Osogbo Branch