Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, on Wednesday halted the proclamation made by the state government to relocate the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Government from Iye Ekiti to Eda-Oniyo Ekiti.
Addressing journalists on Monday, the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, announced the relocation of the headquarters to Eda-Oniyo predicating this on the December 14, 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court.
Ruling on the application by the claimant (Iye Ekiti) on Wednesday, the presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Adesodun, said: “The first and second respondents should have waited for determination of the suit before the court before making the proclamation.
“This is an act of executive rascality and self help. The status quo should be maintained pending the final determination of the case.”
But responding, the counsel to the claimant, Taiwo Kupolati, in his final address, argued that the decision of the government contravened the Local Government Administration Law of 1999 which recognized Iye Ekiti as the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Government.
Kupolati said: “The community was not joined in the suit leading to the judgment of the Supreme Court. There was no statute backing the proclamation of the government on the relocation.”
He called on the court to enforce the right of the claimant and save the state from what he described as “absolute recklessness”.
The counsel to the first (state government) and second (Attorney General) respondents, Yetunde Kolawole, revealed that the state government made the proclamation based on the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Kolawole added that it would amount to contempt of court for the state government to jettison the decision of the apex court in the country.
On his part, the counsel to the third respondent (Eda-Oniyo Ekiti), Deji Adetifa, argued that the court could not go against the judgment of the Supreme Court, disclosing that the law recognized hierarchy of court.
He noted that the claimants should have approached the Supreme Court if they had any grievance on the ruling, not the High Court, urging the court to dismiss the suit with huge cost against the claimants.
“Assuming without conceding that the claimant has genuine grievances against the Supreme Court ruling, the appropriate thing is to go back to the apex court for review, not this court.
“Coming here is a wrong place and we want the court to decline the invitation to embark on judicial rascality,” Adetifa said.
Justice Adesodun however fixed November 19, 2019 for judgment on the case.