Osun JUSUN Chairman Disowned By The Union's National Body; Accused Of Working For Politicians.

An end does not appear to be in sight over the lingering tussle between the executive arm of the Osun State Government and the state’s judiciary. The disagreement took a new dimension on Wednesday the 22nd of November, 2023 when a clash broke out between the state's branch of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and men of the Nigeria Police. Our correspondent who was at the incident reported that the trouble  began when the State’s Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo arrived the court but was prevented from entering her office by members of JUSUN led by the Chairman of the Osun State branch of the Union, Mr. Gbenga Eludire.

Mr. Eludire and a few members of the Union in the state had been picketing the State High Court in Osogbo since Monday 20th of November, 2023, preventing other court workers, lawyers and litigants from entering the court. This continued until Wednesday when it led to the intervention of policemen when the chief judge was prevented from entering the court premises. 

It would be recalled that by a letter titled “CIRCULAR ON THE POSITION OF NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS OF JUDICIARY STAFF UNION OF NIGERIA (JUSUN) ON THE ONGOING UNREST IN THE OSUN STATE JUDICIARY” which leaked to the press, the national headquarters of the Union had since Monday 20th of November, 2023 dissociated itself from the protests being organized by Mr. Eludire. 

"Judiciary staff Union of Nigeria has never directed or approved that any of its members should proceed on any protest or picketing activity in Osun State Judiciary or any other state to settle any perceived or real political scores. Consequently upon the above highlighted position in the Judiciary staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) hereby dissociate itself from any action taken so far by any set of people whatsoever under whatever guise and the National Secretariat view such action as a calculated attempt by some set of people to play cheap political games with the intent to blackmail the Union and tarnish our good image and reputation built over the years. We hereby warn that under no guise should any of our members participate in any illegal picketing, protest or job boycotting whatsoever.”

Notwithstanding the disclaimer by the national leadership of this Union, Mr. Eludire still continued with the day-to-day protests until it led to a deadly clash with Police, as a result of which Mr. Eludire declared an indefinite strike action in the Osun State branch of the Union. It is not ascertained at the time of filing this report whether or not Mr. Eludire can unilaterally declare an industrial action without carrying the national body of the Union along, in view of the disclaimer by its national leadership.

However, a reliable source who pleaded anonymity alleged that the JUSUN leadership in the state was being sponsored by the executive arm of the state’s government to unseat the Chief Judge at all costs. According to the source, Mr. Eludire is from Ile-Ife, like the next person to the Chief Judge on the bench, Justice Olayinka Afolabi who has been tipped by the state government to replace the embattled Chief Judge. 

It will be recalled that Governor Ademola Adeleke dissolved some statutory commissions in the state in October, 2023, when some of them have not completed their statutory tenures. One of them is the state’s Judicial Service Commission headed by the Chief Judge. According to our source, the governor hurriedly reconstituted the Commission and populated it with his party members, including the child of a sitting judge who is said to be a sworn enemy with the embattled Chief Judge. 

Even though the sacked members of the Commission have approached the National Industrial Court in Ibadan, seeking a redress on the matter. It is rumoured that the Governor remains adamant because, the dissolution and subsequent re-composition are rumoured to be steps designed to pave way for a forced ouster of the Chief Judge. 

Our correspondence’ efforts at interviewing Mr. Eludire via telephone to hear his own side of the story was abortive because he didn’t pick up his call. The Chief Judge could also not be reached till the time of filing this report, to hear her side of the story too.

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