PDP Rejects Tenure Elongation for FCT LG Chairs, Councilors
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has faulted the judgement of an Abuja High Court that retroactively extended for one year, the tenure of office of six area council chairmen and councillors, whose tenure of office, was expected to end today, Friday May 20 2022
Surprisingly, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, also rejected the court judgement, and appealed for calm, stating that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) intended to appeal the judgement.
The PDP, however, threatened to petition the judge, Justice Ibrahim Mohammed, to the National Judicial Council for abuse of court processes.
The tenure of the six area council chairmen was constitutionally three years based on the 2010 electoral act and not the new 2022 electoral law.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, described the Court order as a very dangerous design by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in connivance with certain judicial officers to abridge the democratic system and foist anarchy in country.
He said the party has just been made aware of a bizarre judgement by Hon. Justice Ibrahim Mohammed of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, in suit No. FCT/HC/W/910/2022, wherein he attempted to extend by one year, the tenure of the out-going chairmen and councilors of FCT Area Councils, which expires today, Friday, May, 20, 2022.
According to the PDP spokesperson, “The clear intent of this judgment is to abridge our electoral process, overthrow the entire outcome of the FCT Area Council election held on Saturday, February 12, 2022, which was overwhelmingly won by candidates of the PDP, halt the swearing-in of the newly elected Chairmen and Councilors and impose an undemocratic government in the FCT.
“The PDP vehemently and without equivocation rejects the judgement in its entirety. This judgment cannot be executed as it is unconstitutional, illegal, baseless and devoid of any legal foundation and reasoning for implementation.
“This is because the four years tenure provided for FCT Area Council Chairmen and Councilors in the newly enacted Electoral Act 2022, upon which the judgement is based, cannot be made retroactive to apply to outgoing Chairmen and Councilors who were elected under the 2010 Electoral Act which provided for a three-year tenure commencing from the date of their swearing in.
“The intent of this judgement by Hon. Justice Ibrahim Mohammed is to make the law retroactive to illegally favour the out-going Chairmen and Councilors, who were sworn in for a three-year tenure under the 2010 Electoral Act, which tenure, by the provision of that Act, ends on May 20, 2022.”
Also, in a statement he personally signed, the FCT Minister, who rejected the judgement, said all efforts were on to appeal the judgement, adding: “As an administration that is very conscious of the need to abide by the rule of law, even though we are not satisfied with the judgment of the court, we have no option but to comply.
“While complying, we are also making efforts to vacate the judgment and if need arises, to appeal the judgment, so that the correct position of the law will be determined by the legal processes.
“In the interim, therefore, we are very conscious of the fact that the stand of the court has raised a lot of concerns within certain sections of the Federal Capital Territory residents. I wish to appeal to everyone to be calm, to be law abiding and to await the outcome of the legal processes.
“FCT is a creation of law. The FCT has always been known to be a place of unity, peace and good governance and populated by law abiding residents. Please, let us continue the way we are and await the court processes. At the end of the court processes, the clear direction of what needs to be done would be clearly stated and then as an administration, we will do the needful, ” the Minister stated.