THE governor inaugurated the Hon. Justice Pius Aderemi-led Truth Commission on September 14, 2011 to inquire into the death, disappearance, assassination, kidnapping and physical torture of persons, and wanton destruction of properties in Ogun State during the period under review and other sundry matters contained in the terms of reference.
The commission, which also has as its members Hon. Justice Abdullahi Mustapha (rtd), Hon. Justice Dolapo Akinsanya (rtd), human rights activist, Barrister Bamidele Aturu, a nominee of Ogun State branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barrister Tunji Onabanwo and Mr. Lanre Suraj as Secretary, is expected to complete its assignment and submit its report on or before December 13, 2011.
The establishment of a truth (and reconciliation) commission is not a strange development the world over. The hope of redressing wrongs, or abuses, or conflicts which occurred in the past is the growing factor that usually leads to the setting up of a truth commission.
To Governor Amosun, the inauguration of the Aderemi-led Truth Commission was a symbolic demonstration of not just a desire to fulfill his campaign promises but also an acknowledgment of the wrongdoings during the period under review. The ultimate end is to avert a future re-occurrence of such ugly scenario(s).
The establishment of the commission was immediately applauded by very many people in the state.
In fact, former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel in a statement through his Media Assistant, Adegbenro Adebanjo “wholeheartedly” welcomed “the idea,” and said “from the initial composition, we notice that the commission is composed of men of proven integrity capable of ensuring justice in this sensitive assignment.”
But the song soon changed. The former governor suddenly jettisoned his earlier position and took the commission to court through his counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, seeking the leave of the court to declare illegal and unconstitutional the constitution of the commission.
He prayed the court to prohibit and restrain members of the commission from proceeding and requested an order to restrain the members from further investigating, making findings, recommendations and or sanctions in respect of the activities of Daniel and his aides.
The totality of the unfolding drama between Ogun State government and Otunba Daniel will leave no one in doubt to raise the question: Who is afraid of Amosun’s Truth Commission?
It should be noted that the Commissions of Inquiry Law gives powers to a sitting governor to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate and inquire as such governor deems it fit. According to the Commissions of Inquiry Law’s Section 2 (1), “The Governor may, whenever he shall deem it desirable, issue a Commission appointing one or more Commissioners, and authorising such Commissioners, or any quorum of them therein mentioned, to hold a Commission of inquiry into the conduct of any officer in the public service of the State, or any chief, or the management of any department of the public service, or of any local institution, or into any matter in respect of which, in his opinion, an inquiry would be for the public welfare…”
Temitope Oluwole wrote in from Ogun State