The Civil Societies Coalition for Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEO) has kicked against plan by the committee set up by the State House of Assembly to probe behind close-doors Justice Oloyede Folahanmi’s petition against Governor Rauf Aregbesola and his deputy, Mrs. Titilayo Grace Tomori.
The group insisted that the Speaker, Hon. Najeem Salam should stand by his earlier statement that the investigation would be conducted openly, saying refusal to do this is a betrayal of the people’s trust. Besides, the group in a statement signed by its chairman, Comrade Adeniyi Sulaiman, rejected the 7-man panel comprising only members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in an assembly with two opposition members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to CSCEO, the step taken by the leadership of the state assembly showed that it lacked the integrity and the will-power to dispassionately and justly investigate the allegations of financial impropriety of Aregbesola.
While demanding that the governor’s response to the petition be made public, the coalition said all indications have shown that the committee had written its report before commencing sitting.
“To even found out that the House Minority Leader, Hon. Dejo Makinde holds Masters Degree in Law, which put him in vantage position for such assignment but was not considered has revealed the Assembly leadership’s had clandestine arrangement unknown to many.
“Going by what we gathered, the committee has planned to give Aregbesola a clean bill and that was why the Speaker did not allow any member of the opposition to be part of this dirty deal.
“We have painstakingly studied the script already written by APC and we promise that we will resist any attempt to rubbish Justice Folahanmmi’s petition against the governor and his deputy.
“Looking at the committee, we discovered that the Chairman, Adegboye Akintunde, who is the House’s Deputy Speaker, is from the same Osogbo constituency with the Deputy-Governor while another strong member of the panel, Owoeye Timothy, the House Majority Leader, is from the same Ilesa-East constituency with the governor.
“Can there be justice and fair hearing by this committee? This will be a mirage. How can APC lawmakers find APC governor guilty of any offence? How can the lawmakers burn the fingers that had been feeding them?
“We saw a similar thing in Lagos when late Chief Gani Fawehimi, a human right crusader per-excellence petitioned the then Lagos House of Assembly over Senator Bola Tinubu’s certificate saga. Rather than the then all Alliance for Democracy (AD) lawmakers investigate the matter thoroughly, the House committee led by Jide Omoworare pronounced Tinubu as not guilty.
“For us, we are going to ensure that nothing is swept under the carpet. We are going to enforce the state lawmakers to perform their constitutional responsibilities. Enough is enough of this impunity by the governor and his deputy in Osun state”, Adeniyi said.
The coalition noted that there were overwhelming evidences of financial misappropriation against Aregbesola and that there were several actions of the governor which contravened the letters of the 1999 constitution.