By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
As controversy rages over the application of parliamentary system of government at the Osun state local government administrations, a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Chairman, Bar. Kanmi Ajibola has described the system as a constitutional aberration and oddity.
Ajibola, a former NBA Chairman in Ilesa branch and a Rights Activist in a statement on Thursday chided the former Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration for running Osun Local Government parliamentary system contrary to the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Two federal lawmakers from the state, Hon. Woke Oke and Senator Ajibola Basiru had locked horns few days ago over the matter.
While Oke described the system as illegal and unconstitutional, Basiru who served Aregbesola as the Attorney-General vehemently defended the system, saying enforcing parliamentary system of government of Osun LGs was lawful and that Oke spoke out of ignorance.
But Barr. Ajibola who filed over 10 different cases in court including the celebrated “State of Osun” matter against Aregbesola faulted Basiru, who is now the Senate Spokesman for supporting parliamentary system of government at LG levels in the state
Ajibola said, “During the tenure of office of Aregbesola as the governor of Osun State, among others, two ignominious onslaughts were uncorked against the constitution of Nigeria on the advice of the then Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, now a senator, Senator Ajibola Bashiru.
“For the reasons best known to him, he has made Osun state a subject of constitutional controversy to date.
“The two blitzkriegs against the constitution are changing the name of Osun state to “State of Osun” and introducing parliamentary system into the administration of LGs in the state.
“Interestingly, Osun state is the only state in Nigeria where this revolting rebellion exists against the Nigerian constitution and unchecked by the Federal Government.
“The question now is, whether parliamentary system being employed in the administration of Local Governments in Osun state is legal and constitutional.”
The lawyer quoted sections 2 (2), 3 (1) of the 1999 constitution, while noting that the import and linkage of sections is that, without local government areas there cannot be a state and where there are no states there cannot be the federation.
He explained further that, Nigerian constitution created a presidential system of government predicated on the principle of separation of powers and also created three tiers of government, namely the federal, state and local governments.
“The constitution of Nigeria embraces separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judiciary. This is not so under the parliamentary system of government where the functions of the Executive and Legislative are fused.
“This is to the effect that any law made anywhere in Nigeria which does not embrace this separation of powers cannot be said to be constitutional and legal,” he said.
He cited the Supreme Court in the cases of INEC VS. Balarebe Musa (2003) LPELR-24927 (SC) and Attorney General of Abia and ors versus Attorney General of Federation (2003) LPELR-610 (SC) while noting the lawmakers of the state in their act of making laws cannot go outside or beyond what is in the constitution.
While quoting several portions of the constitution and other decided cases of the Supreme Court, the former NBA boss said it would be absolutely abnormal operating a parliamentary system at the council level, while the state and federal governments are operating presidential system of government within one country under one constitution, it is totally not conforming.
“In all, I call on all Nigerians to pay serious attention to the law-making activities of the National Assembly, should the majority members be the like of Senator Ajibola Bashiru, Nigerian Legal System will definitely have some problems and what more, Nigeria`s name may be changed to Banana Republic”, Ajibola added.