Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Olu Daramola yesterday noted that Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde flouted the precedent of the Supreme Court for dismissing democratically elected local government chairmen.
Amid their controversial dismissal, they asked all the affected council chairmen to approach a court of competent jurisdiction to reverse the decision of the state government, which they described as a violation of judicial precedent.
They rejected Makinde’s decision in separate telephone conversations yesterday, lamenting that it “is a contempt of a subsisting court injunction against any dissolution of the local government chairmen in the state.”
The Chief of Staff to the governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka, had penultimate Wednesday announced that all local government authorities had been dissolved with immediate effect.
He, also, directed that all chairmen in the councils should hand over to the Heads of Local Government Administration or the most senior directors, in their local government areas and councils, a decision that stoke stern public reactions.
Rejecting Makinde’s decision yesterday, Daramola said under the 1999 Constitution, governors “lacks power to sack democratically elected local government chairmen,” noting that they had a tenure that “is guaranteed under the law.”
Daramola, who is of the Afe Babalola Chambers, therefore said the decision of the state governor to dismiss the council chairmen “is an illegality that should not stand.
Daramola said there “is a judgment of the Supreme Court, which has made it clear a democratically elected council chairman cannot be sacked by the governor. Anything to the contrary is nothing, but null and void.”
On what the sacked chairmen should do, he enjoined to go to court to fight what he described as injustice, maintaining that they would triumph.
According to him, the governor has no power to sack any elected council chairman and this has been made clear by a judgment of the Supreme Court. The sacked chairmen should go to court and I know that they would win.
In another telephone conversation yesterday, the Chairman of ALGON, Oyo State, Mr. Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye said the dissolution by the new administration in the state flouted the injunction of an Oyo State High Court.
He said the court presided over by Justice A.A. Aderemi ruled against the dissolution of the councils, stating that the association would use democratic and constitutional avenues to fight the dissolution.
He said ALGON, Oyo State, rejected Makinde’s unconstitutional decision, noting that it “is illegal. It is contempt of a subsisting court injunction against any dissolution of the local government authorities as ordered by Justice Aderemi of High Court 2, Ibadan, Oyo State, on May 6.”
Also faulting Makinde’s decision, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lanre Agoro said while the constitution “guarantees democratically elected officials at the local government level, the regulation is left to the local government laws of each state.”
Agoro who is also a legal practitioner, explained that for any governor to sack an elected local government chairman in his state would depend on the local government laws of his own state.
According to him, if the law in Oyo state is against such, Makinde would have committed an illegality