- Says Rechristening Violates Nigerian Constitution
- Only An ‘Artistic Colouration’ By The Ex-Governor
By Kolawale Joseph
One of the hangover designs of the previous admnistration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in Osun State was legally dismantled on Wednesday by an Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo.
The court declared that constitutionally, the name, ‘State of Osun,’ is a misnomer and does not exist.
In what started as a resolution over a tax matter, the court held that what the Nigerian constitution recognizes is Osun State.
Justice Mathias Agboola, while delivering a judgement in a case brought before it by a lawyer, Mr Kanmi Ajibola, against the state government over a personal tax of N5.3m that the state Internal Revenue Service asked him to pay, said it amounted to “artistic colouration when ‘Osun State’ is referred to as ‘State of Osun.”
The plaintiff, Ajibola, had approached the court to seek redress over tax demanded from him which he said was punitive because he usually held opposing views to those of the immediate past governor, Rauf Aregbesola.
The lawyer also urged the court to declare the law upon which the tax was based as illegal since it was a law made by ‘The House of Assembly of State of Osun,’ something unknown to the constitution.
Defence counsel, M. Popoola, had asked that the case be struck out for lack of jurisdiction.
In his judgement, Justice Agboola said lawyers should be wary of legal implications of referring to Osun State as the ‘State of Osun’.
He, however, upheld the submission of the defence that Ajibola did not seek all necessary means of settlement before approaching the court.
He further held that Ajibola should seek redress through other necessary procedures laid down by the tax law, adding that should such fail, the plaintiff should return to court.
Recall that the immediate past governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, among other peculiar reforms, had rechristened the State as ‘State of Osun” and the name stuck throughout his administration which lasted for eight years despite lacking constitutional backing.