It was drama galore yesterday at the Osun State House of Assembly when Justice Olamide Folahanmi insisted that except she was given the copy of the reply by Governor Rauf Aregbesola to her petition, she would not appear before the panel setup by the lawmakers to investigate the matter.
But chairman of the probe panel, Hon. Adegboye Akintunde, maintained that Aregbesola’s response would not be released to the petitioner because it was a document meant for only the Legislature.
The panel commenced its sitting at 10am at the Committee Hall of the House of Assembly with heavy presence of security agents in and around the complex. An armoured tank was stationed opposite the Assembly’s Complex.
Justice Folahanmi who was represented by Mr. Lanre Ogunlesi, SAN, told journalists after a closed-door meeting with the seven-man committee, that justice and fair hearing demand that she be availed with the governor’s response to her petition.
“Fair hearing demands that as a first step to defending the petition, it is necessary for the petitioner to be provided with the governor’s response. What we discussed with them was that for us not to waste time on this matter, answers to the petition by the governor should be made available.
“They said the committee was a fact-finding one, but the issue at stake was a serious one and for the sake of posterity, they need to forward the answers to her. She may even come out and say I am sorry; I withdraw my petition after going through the governor’s reply and may not need to see the committee again.
“But, I want to say that she will be here. We are not running away. She is bold enough to write the petition and she is prepared to defend it. If she should have the reply today (yesterday), she will be here tomorrow (today)”.
Ogunlesi, who was a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Ogun State, expressed reservations at the attitude of the committee members, saying with the way they talked, the panel is likely going to close the case.
“They said they have their rules but they are not forthcoming with our demands. They said they will decide and that we will be hearing from them. It maybe that they have made up their minds on what to do”, he stated.
Reacting, Akintunde declared that his committee cannot provide the petitioner with Aregbesola’s response because it was a confidential document sent to the House by the governor.
According to him, “The rule of the House is clear. Order 26 says that a petition must come to the House through a member and again the petition must be signed page by page. But we are not looking at this. We wrote the petitioner by inviting her to defend her allegations.
“Another rule is broken because for clarity sake, the petitioner is not here and she needs to come in person but we allowed his representatives.
“This is not the end of the petition. We are still going to take our report to the floor of the House where every member will debate it. But she is the one who sent the petition and the onus rest on her to prove it.
“Her petition must have been dead on arrival as it was not sent according to the rule of the House. But we made this rule. We are arbiters in this case and this is not a trial court. But we will get in touch with her,” he said.

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