AN Osun based lawyer and human rights activist, Barrister Kanmi Ajibola on Monday urged a State High Court, sitting in Osogbo to declare all businesses and transactions done in the name of “State of Osun” illegal, contending that there is only “Osun State” in the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Ajibola who challenged the new tax law enacted by the state house of assembly tagged “State of Osun Tax Law” wanted the court to declare the law null and void.
Besides, he wanted all laws, pronouncements and businesses done under the “State of Osun” to be declared as illegal.
The final judgment on the matter had earlier been fixed for July 13, 2017 by the presiding judge, Justice Yinka Afolabi adjourned the case as he directed counsels on both sides to address him on the effect of the seventh schedule of the 1999 constitution.
At the resume hearing of the matter yesterday, Ajibola in his written address on the matter stated that what is contained the constitution is “Osun State” not “State of Osun”, saying this was established in the oath columns of the Governor and the Deputy Governor in the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 constitution.
He said, “In the column of Oath of Office of Governor of a state, Parts of Lines 2 – 4 are herein reproduced: ‘that as the Governor of …. state, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability’.
“Parts of Lines 18 – 22 are herein reproduced: “that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as Governor of …. state, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as Governor.”
“We submit that the ellipses in the above referred oath of office are expected to be filled with the name of a state in an adjectival classification. In the like manner as given above an ellipsis is given to be filled in with the name of a state, e.g. Osun State House of Assembly,” he said.
While citing different authority to support his argument, Ajibola who was represented by Barrister Musa Abdulahhi explained that “the members of the House of Assembly of Osun State took their Oath of office as “members of the Osun State House of Assembly” while the Governor took his own as “the Governor of Osun State” respectively.
According to him, the defendants changing the name of Osun State to State of Osun and making and signing a law in that capacity, they have mutilated the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
But the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Ajibola Bashiru, who represented both the governor and the state asked the court to grant him the opportunity to file additional points of argument on the matter saying he was new in the office and was ready to bring some important matters to the knowledge of the court.
Justice Afolabi who adjourned the case till September 11, 2017 ruled that the streamlined issue be served on the plaintiff within 14 days while calling on both the applicant and the defendants to still address the court on section 2(3) of the state tax law.
“I am formulating this question which I want both of you to address me on the next adjourned date. Can a delegate sub-delegate its functions in regard to collection of charges, rates and so on?” the judge stated.