Omisore’s political burden in Osun | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Omisore’s political burden in Osun

Posted: Apr 10, 2015 at 12:58 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Gbenga Faturoti, / Correspondent, Osogbo


The dream of Senator Christopher Iyiola Omisore, the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to govern the State of Osun appears to be heading to nothing and unrealisable following the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State Capital, dismissing the appeal filed by Omisore, challenging the verdict of the State Election Petition Tribunal that earlier dismissed the case for lack of merit.

Senator Christopher Iyiola Omisore

Senator Christopher Iyiola Omisore

The three-man Election Petition Tribunal comprising Justice Elizabeth Ikpejimi, Justice Igometi Ofesi and Justice Abubakar Idris Kutigi had on February 6, 2015 affirmed the victory of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Omisore was said to have vowed to approach the Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial body, to handled the case, but should the case go the way the Court of Appeal in Akure and Tribunal had decided, it would be an unredeemable political defeat for Omisore since his party, PDP, has just lost power at the centre to Aregbesola’s political party, APC.

The Appeal Court in a unanimous decision delivered by Justice A. G. Mshelia, aside from upholding the cross-appeal filed by Aregebsola, averred that the lower court (tribunal) ought not to have entertained Omisore’s case on technical ground, adding that the tribunal was magnanimous to have heard the case in the first instance.

In determining the appeal, the Appeal Court adopted the seven issues raised by the Appellants, Omisore and PDP. However, before considering the main appeal, the court upheld the preliminary objections by Aregbesola and APC’s counsel, challenging ground 13 of the Notice of Appeal. The complaint of the Appellant (Omisore and PDP) in ground 13 of appeal is that the tribunal failed to act on admission made by Aregbesola’s counsel in a chart contained in their written address before the lower tribunal.

The Court of Appeal, in holding that the ground of appeal is incompetent, held that the ground does not arise from the judgment of the tribunal.

The court held that the decision of the tribunal was that Aregbesola’s counsel did not make any admission. Therefore, having failed to appeal this specific decision of the tribunal, the Court of Appeal held that ground 13 is incompetent and consequently struck it out together with issue 5 formulated from the ground.

On the remaining issues for determination, the court resolved all the issues against Omisore and PDP, saying that the appellants failed to put forward cogent, credible and reliable evidence of non-compliance, adding that contrary to the complaint of the Appellants, the tribunal applied standard of proof on preponderance of evidence in relation to allegation of non-compliance and malpractices.

The court further held that the evidences called by the Appellants were thoroughly discredited under cross-examination.

Investigation conducted revealed that Omisore had been nursing the ambition to govern the state since 1997 under the defunct UNCP when he was the party’s sole governorship aspirant before the party was disbanded by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar military regime.

He later joined Alliance for Democracy (AD) with the aim of realising his ambition but was persuaded by the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the late Chief Bola Ige (SAN), to step down for Chief Adebisi Akande in 1999 and eventually became deputy governor in Akande’s administration.

He left the AD for the PDP at the peak of the political crisis that engulfed the party in 2001 when Omisore was eventually impeached. Since he joined the PDP, the struggle to control the soul of the party began in earnest. His political camp began to fix lots of things in the party structure. Presently, his camp dominated the present state executive of the party, a development which reportedly forced some chieftains out of the party.

Among those allegedly forced out of the PDP in the state because of Omisore’s factor are the first executive governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, and his supporters; former governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and his supporters; Alhaji Fatai Akinade Akinbade and his supporters, Elder Peter Babalola and his supporters, state secretary of the party, Major Raphel Towobola (rtd) and his supporters; former state secretary of the party, Yinka Adeojo and his group; Teslim Igbalaye and his group.

Since 2010 when Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola took the mantle of leadership, the PDP had been riddled with crises, which further depleted it and reduced its chances of winning election in the state.

Even now, a fresh crisis is brewing in the state PDP. This time, the feud is between Omisore and some chieftains of the party. Those involved are Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Chief Francis Fadahunsi, the party’s Senatorial Candidate for Osun-East Senatorial District and Chairman, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Chief Jide Adeniji.

Ogundokun who made this known to newsmen alleged that Omisore was threatening his life, and appealed the state Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Marafa, to provide adequate security for him.

Ogundokun told journalists that the festering crisis within the party contributed to the dismal performance of the party in the August 9, 2014 Governorship Election and the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.

Ogundokun said he and others reported Omisore’s high-handedness, selfish, dictatorial tendencies and failure to take advice in the build up to the August Governorship Election in the state, to President Goodluck Jonathan, alleging that since then, Omisore and his cronies in the party are threatening to assassinate him.

In a petition to the state Commissioner of Police and dated 30 March, 2015, Ogundokun said: “Omisore and his agents are on the trail to assassinate me owing to my role in the Peoples Democratic Party, which I have invested a large chunk of my resources to finance and develop.

He said that he has enough evidence to prove that Omisore and his agents are after his life.

For three consecutive times, the Action Congress, which transformed to Action Congress of Nigeria, and now to All Progressives Congress (APC), had defeated PDP at the polls.

For instance, in 2011 the then Action Congress won all the 26 seats in the state House of Assembly; nine seats in the House of Representatives and three senatorial seats in the state.

The APC also defeated PDP and Omisore at the August 9 Governorship Election and the recent concluded Presidential and National Assembly Elections. Though the PDP managed to win two of the House of Representatives’ seats, for understandable reasons, investigation revealed that if election is conducted in the state 100 times, it would be difficult task for the PDP to defeat APC.

The Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of APC, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi, while speaking on the development, said the Appeal Court judgment was an indication that Omisore and his party, PDP, have been totally rejected by the people of the state.

He said: “Even if Omisore decides to go as far as Supreme Court to plead his phantom victory at that election, he will also fail because the people’s will not to elect him as the governor of the State of Osun is emphatic,” adding; “For as long as Omisore persists in coercive politics and would not desist from objectionable disregard for truth, he will be unelectable in the State of Osun.

“Also for as long as the PDP remains under his leadership, that party will never again be voted into power in the State of Osun.

“The truth of the matter,” argued the APC, “is that Omisore has a credibility crisis, which renders him suspect as a reliable leader, and no reasonable community or state will risk its future on such a personality.”

However, the only hope now left for Omisore to remain relevant in the state politics is his appeal to the Supreme Court and if eventually the case goes the way the Court of Appeal and lower tribunal, Omisore and his party would have been boxed to a corner politically.