By Henry Odeh
The Oyo state house of assembly has summoned the executive secretary of Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) to appear before the house on February 18th, 2020.
Honourable Adedibu Akeem, representing Iwajowa state constituency while presenting a motion titled “Urgent Need To Scrutinize The Account Of Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission” stated that response received from OSIEC during the last budget defense in respect of the performance of 2018/2019 appropriation created more confusion rather than clarification.
He further stated that section 128 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended confers the power to investigate any matter on the legislature and in line with the provisions of the constitution, the house was urged among other resolutions to request the executive Secretary of OSIEC to furnish the clerk of the house with all necessary documents with regards to funds expended on 2018/2019 LGs/LCDAs election in Oyo state within seven days for further clarifications.
Some of the clarifications sought by the house included payment of non refundable sum as stipulated by section 10e of the state independent electoral commission law 1999, payment of nomination forms as stipulated in schedule 2 section 43a and b of Oyo state independent electoral commission law 1999, and that the executive Secretary of OSIEC be invited alongside other officials to appear before the house for more clarifications.
The motion however generated a mixed reaction from lawmakers as some of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers noted that order 9 rule 5 of the house forbids the house to discuss a matter that was pending before a court of law and were of the view that the house should stand down on the motion because OSIEC is still in court regarding the said election but the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers argued that the motion under debate had nothing to do with the matter in court because it has nothing to do with validation of the said election but to look into the financial records of OSIEC with the view of getting clarifications on grey areas that needed proper clarity.
The house posited that there is a clear difference between OSIEC board and OSIEC as a government agency, and however insisted that the agency is what the house is relating with as an body that draws its workers salaries from the state government.
The speaker, Rt Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin in his remark stated that the move is not to witchunt anyone but to objectively perform its statutory oversight duty to investigate for the purpose of transparency and accountability.
He added that the motion had been drafted since 2019 alongside other motions and if this is coming to the front burner now then, its just God’s arrangement not an attempt to witchunt anybody.
He however alluded the motion to personal efforts of the lawmakers who had taken it upon themselves to ensure transparency and accountability is entrenched in the system after discovering some grey areas that required clarifications adding all lawmakers regardless of party affiliations have equal rights and powers to investigate as part of legislative oversight functions.
The house however resolved to among other resolutions summon OSIEC executive secretary and other relevant officials to appear before the house committee to clarify issues pertaining the said grey areas within one week.