Suppressed constituency: Orolu indigenes accuse INEC of flouting court order
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, indigenes of Ifon-Orolu and communities under the Orolu Local Government of Osun State have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of fragrant disobedience to subsisting verdict for the restoration of suppressed Orolu State Constituency, which they say is as a breach of section 112 of 1999 constitution.
They are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the National Assembly and Minister of Justice & Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami to save the people of the council from unconstitutional denial on the part of the electoral commission, to have inclusive representation.
In two separate petitions, the community under Orolu United Front (OUF) and Ifon-Orolu Progressive Union revealed that the inherited state constituencies by INEC did not conform to the provision of the constitution on the number of federal constituencies, as the state, currently has 26 constituency seats instead of against 27, due to the suppression of Orolu State Constituency.
In one of the letters, jointly signed by Dr. Olusegun Oyewo, Alhaji Ganiu Sodiq and Prince Jide Akinyooye, National President, Secretary and Publicity Secretary, respectively, they called the attention of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to what they termed impunity, arbitrariness, unfairness, abuse of administrative power, and lack of respect for the rule of law on the part of the commission, in relation to the issue.
“This is due to failure of INEC to comply with the ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction, the Federal High Court, in Osogbo Judicial Division in her judgment ordering the restoration of same constituency.
“We are aware of formal and informal efforts by various individuals, bodies and stakeholders in the past to appeal to your commission, especially before and after the 2015 general elections, whilst no formal communication or specific action had been taken towards the requested overdue compliance on relevant judgment on suit no: FHC/OS/CS/10/2013. This necessitates our renewed formal call for your attention towards ensuring the immediate restoration of separate Orolu State Constituency from the current Irepodun/Orolu State Constituency.”
They noted that in view of the fact that the general elections is fast approaching, there was no appeal by the commission in the last 12 months when the judgment was delivered in favour of the community, adding that there is no basis to further delay the restoration of the suppressed constituency in the spirit of fairness.
“We are demanding immediate response on the specific position of your commission, whether our Orolu State Constituency would be restored for the conduct of the 2019 general election in order to determine our next line of action.
“It is noteworthy to mention that earlier efforts by various individuals, groups and relevant communities in the past for the restoration of the constituency, during and after judicial resolution have been ignored by your commission,” the letter read.
In another letter addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki by the Olufon Traditional Council of Chiefs, they described the development as a gross violation of Section 91 and 113, which stipulates minimum of 27 State Constituencies.
“Orolu Local Government has always been merged with Irepodun Local Government, as a single State Constituency, named Irepodun/Orolu State Constituency. The INEC created a separate Orolu State Constituency and suppressed same in 1996.
“On Wednesday, May 28 2014, the presiding judge of the Federal High Court, Oosgbo Judicial Division delivered the judgment on referred litigation and granted all the reliefs of the plaintiff and conspicuously pronounced that the composition of the present 26 State Constituencies in the Osun House of Assembly is improper without restoration of the suppressed constituency that was supposed to be the 27th State Constituency in Osun State.
“Moreover, the Court ordered INEC to put everything in place to ensure that election is conducted into the constituency during the next general election, as the 27th State Constituency of Osun State in the House of Assembly.”They lamented that it was unfortunate that INEC did not respond to the letter and also refused to comply with Court’s order.