Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The local government chairmen sacked by the Oyo State government yesterday lost the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the state capital, as the apex court ruled that their cause of action was “pre-emptive, premature and speculative and therefore failed to disclose reasonable facts”.
The court said the case, which the council bosses elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), instituted at the twilight of the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who swore them in, was based on rumour, declaring that the then governor, now late, intended to dissolve them and appoint caretaker chairmen.
The apex court noted that the veracity of the rumoured action was not actualised before the administration wound up on May 29, 2019.
The court in the 46-minute judgment delivered by Justice H.A. Tsammani on behalf of his learned brothers – F. Ojo and Jimi Bada, held that the fact that Makinde dissolved the council chairmen was not an issue before the court because the then action of theirs at the High Court was merely speculative and not binding on the current administration.
The Appeal marked CA/IB/300/2018 filed by Otunba Kunle Lalejaye (SAN) on behalf of Governor Makinde, was against the 6th May 6, 2019, judgment of Justice Aderonke Aderemi, which ordered the then APC governor not to dissolve the 33 local government councils and the 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
The suit had been instituted by the past Governor of Oyo State, his Attorney General and Justice Commissioner, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, the Accountant General of the State, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, the Oyo State House of Assembly and the then Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) against Basorun Mojeed Bosun Ajuwon and 10 others.
While Kalejaye, led other counsel to represent the appellant at the Appeal Court, the respondents were represented by Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who led other counsel.
The court in the judgment, distinguished between ‘cause of action’ and ‘right of action’, saying that “right of action precedes cause of action. Cause of action is the trigger for right of action. It is not in dispute that the defendants were elected as chairmen of the local governments and the LCDAs; the appellants denied dissolving the local councils. The claim of the respondents was based on speculation and conjecture. There were no verifying facts before filing the action.
“The respondents cited the case of Ekiti State v. Olubumo but the governor actually dissolved the council in that case. Similarly, in the case of Ojukwu v. Lagos State, the action of eviction actually took place. The respondents in the instant case before us did not disclose any positive facts to justify their cause of action. I have therefore come to the conclusion that the respondents’ Originating Summons did not disclose any cause of action between the appellant and the respondents.
“The suit lacks the reasonable cause of action and so is hereby struck out. It is therefore my view that the appeal has merit and so is hereby allowed. The judgment of the lower court delivered on the 6th of May, 2019 by Justice Aderonke Aderemi is hereby set aside. I make no order as to costs”, Justice Tsammani concluded
The Justice who delivered the judgment in the absence of his brothers, however announced that they also concurred to the judgment and had sent their contributions.