An Osun State High Court sitting in Ilesa has declared that the changing the name of Osun State to the State of Osun by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola is illegal.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola had changed the name of the state from Osun State to State of Osun in 2011.
Not happy with the decision, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ilesa branch, Kanmi Ajibola, who is a human rights activist, had approached the court in 2016 and asked the court to declare as null all transactions done by the state with the name of State of Osun.
Justice Yinka Afolabi, while delivering the judgment on Thursday, to challenge the legality of the “State of Osun Land Use Charge Law” held that the law and its makers were unknown to the 1999 Constitution.
The presiding judge also declared that the makers of the law, who are currently serving as members of the state House of Assembly, were not sworn in as members of the “State of Osun House of Assembly” but as members of the Osun State House of Assembly going by the seventh schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
He said, “The executive governor of the state changed the name in 2011. The renaming of a state goes further and deeper for anyone to singlehandedly do. To re-order the name of Osun State as “State of Osun” is hereby declared as illegal, null and void.
“On the oath of allegiance, I want to state that the seventh schedule is part of the law. It is not a mere draft or a mere oath. It does not give room for any alteration. After deposing to an oath of office, you cannot turn around to do otherwise,” the Justice Afolabi stated.
However, the state Attorney General disclosed at the court that the state government would appeal the verdict at the Court of Appeal.