THERE was confusion in Osun State on Tuesday over the striking out of the appeal filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Ambassador Rufus Akeju, by the Court of Appeal in Akure.
Members of the House of Assembly had sat on Monday amid tight security, following the calls by the Peoples Democratic Party that the lawmakers’ elections and those representing the state at the National Assembly had been nullified by the court ruling.
The Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Mr. Timothy Owoeye, on Tuesday, of accused the PDP in the state of plotting to invade the Assembly with thugs.
Owoeye, who said this in an interview with journalists in Osogbo, added the PDP was misleading members of the public with their interpretation of the Appeal Court, which threw out the appeal
But the Chairman of the PDP in the state, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa, said that the opposition party would resist the illegality being carried out by the lawmakers.
He called on peace-loving Nigerians to ask the lawmakers to respect the ruling by vacating their seats.
However, the lawmaker said that the preemptive measure taken by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salam, prevented hoodlums from invading the the Assembly.
He said the Speaker invited armed policemen, who took over security at the Assembly complex, on Monday, when lawmakers from the state held an emergency sitting.
He said, “The plaintiff did not ask the court to stop INEC from conducting the 2011 election. What they asked the court was that Akeju should be stopped from supervising the election.
“If not for the proactive measures taken by the Speaker to bring security agents to the House of Assembly on Monday, thugs would have invaded the place.
“The PDP’s way of life is to cause trouble, confusion and chaos. They were the ones who are bent on invading the House of Assembly. This is what they are planning. We sat yesterday to show them that all the 26 lawmakers remain elected and that the court did not sack any of us and members of the National Assembly from the state.”
Olaoluwa, in a statement issued earlier in the day, insisted that the ruling of the Court of Appeal had invalidated the election of the lawmakers.
He said the interpretation given to the judgment by lawmakers at their Monday sitting was incorrect, saying the Court of Appeal unanimously nullified all elections conducted by Akeju.
Olaoluwa said, “The continuous sitting of the members of the House of Assembly might be an invitation to anarchy as the PDP would resist all forms of illegality in the state.
“Well-meaning Nigerians should prevail on the APC to respect the rule of law.
“They need to be asked why they started the proceedings of the House at 2.15 pm on Monday as against the normal time the House has always sat since the inception of the present Assembly.
“Also, what were the police and other security personnel, who had stormed the House of Assembly complex as early as 8.00am looking for?”
“They must know that they have broken judicial rule. They should ask for proper interpretation of the Appeal Court judgment if they lack simple legal knowledge to interpret such a simple judgment of the court.”
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress has said the PDP was peddling lies over the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Akure, which they interpreted to mean that the ruling of the Court sacked all APC lawmakers elected during the 2011 elections.
The Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in the state, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, said this in a statement made available to our correspondent in Osogbo.
He said, “We have obtained the Certified True Copy of the ruling by Justice Ayobode Olujimi Lokulo-Sodipe, JCA, which simply addressed the competence of the filing process of the INEC’s Notice of Appeal.
“Nothing in this ruling referred to the 2011 election or the sacking of those elected in that election.
“This ruling simply stated that a notice of appeal is defective and incompetent and was, therefore, struck out.
“So, the PDP was only hallucinating when it characteristically twisted facts to represent its desires and folly.”