BY TIMOTHY AGBOR
Amid condemnations that have greeted his appointment as the Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC), Hashim Abioye has assured that he would be impartial in conducting the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
The major opposition party, All Progressives Congress in the state, civil society organisations and other political parties have faulted Abioye’s appointment as the OSIEC Chairman by Governor Ademola Adeleke, citing the fact that Abioye has been a card-carrying member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the state.
While APC dragged Adeleke to court over the development, other critics argued that Abioye’s appointment is unconstitutional, adding that as a PDP politician, Abioye would not be fair to all parties during elections.
But, speaking on a radio station monitored on Rave FM by News Boom Nigeria in Osogbo, Abioye, who was the Special Adviser, Legal Matters to Governor Adeleke before his controversial appointment, said, “Even if my appointment was defective, it doesn’t affect the work of the agency, that is what they (critics) don’t know.”
Abioye, a lawyer, claimed he had resigned his membership from the PDP immediately he got wind of his appointment to head the electoral body, urging stakeholders in the state not to see him as being partisan.
He said, “Life brings opportunities and if you are assigned a role, all you are required to do is to play your parts according to the dictates of that role. People are looking at it from the angle of politics, people are not looking at it from the angle of service delivery. They are not looking at it from the angle of what is expected in a society from a particular agency or government. If you are saying a person is too politically exposed to head an agency, particularly an agency like OSIEC that is supposed to be independent, I want to tell you that there are some people who are not political players as such but if you put them there, what they would do would be worse than what you may even think of or imagine.
“They were looking at the partisan Hashim, they are not looking at the present non-partisan, partyless and apolotical Hashim.
“I know that the moment the baton has fallen on me to head the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, then, the issue of partisanship is no longer there. The law that prohibits appointing a partisan person to head an electoral body is progressly prospective and assertively progressive. What do I mean, progressly prospective in the sense that if you were before, the moment you assume office, you are no longer one and you must not be seen to be carrying any card of any political party again. That is what the law says, the law does not say that if you were (partisan) before, you cannot become it (OSIEC Chairman) today.”
Assuring his commitment to due process notwithstanding, Abioye said, “If I tell you that I have more friends in APC than PDP, you will be surprised. I handled matters for APP, LP, Accord in the past.
“Once you become a king, there are certain things you are expected not to be doing. I am no longer a card carrying member of the PDP. ”
Explaining how he resigned from the ruling party, he said, “You know the governor will nominate and the House of Assembly will confirm. All three background checks were done by the House of Assembly and the House of Assembly ensured that none of us who were nominated was still a card-carrying member of the PDP. So, I resigned from PDP before I was confirmed by the House of Assembly.”