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 before their tenure expired.
Joined in the multiple suits filed at the National Industrial Court sitting in Ibadan are the Attorney General of the state, the Oyo State House of Assembly and the Head of Service.
In seven separate suits filed individually by the chairman and members, the claimants are challenging the premature dissolution and termination of their tenure of office.
In the originating summons filed by the claimants, they are seeking 10 reliefs amongst others including: a declaration that the purported dissolution of the OYSIEC Commission and termination of the appointment of the claimants by the governor is illegal, null and void; declaration that the resolution of the Oyo State 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 also filed before the court an application seeking interlocutory injunction against the Oyo state Governor, Oyo State 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 matter.
Newspeakonline recalls that Governor Makinde in a letter dated July 1, 2019 issued by the Head of Service dissolved the OYSIEC board, admitting their tenure had not expired but offering to pay them off for the remainder of their tenure.
The claimants’ counsel in a letter accompanying the service of the court processes filed and addressed to the Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, which was copied to other defendants and the National Industrial Court, the counsel warned the government not to take any step to over reach or disregard the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court, urging the governor to 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 Lagos State Governor 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 is effectively tied from proceeding with the threatened action, even if no preliminary injunction has been issued.