Fidelis David in Akure
An Ondo State High Court in Akure, the state capital, yesterday restrained the state government from inaugurating caretaker committee for the newly created 33 Local Development Council Areas (LCDAs) and the 18 local government areas of the state.
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, had last Tuesday confirmed the appointment of interim management committee chairmen and vice chairmen for the 18 local government areas and newly created 33 LCDAs in the state.
However, granting a prayer for interlocutory injunction by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the court restrained the inauguration of any person or persons as caretaker committee in any local government area or local council development area pending the determination of the substantive suit.
In a suit NO: AK/390/2023, the party through its lawyer, Oluseye Olujimi sought “an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the defendants from inaugurating any person or persons not democratically elected as member(s) of caretaker committees to administer the affairs of local government councils and local council development areas in Ondo State pending the determination of the interlocutory injunction in this suit.
Joined as defendants in the suit are Ondo State governor, the state House of Assembly, the Speaker of the Assembly, and state Attorney General.
The presiding Judge, Yemi Fasanmi, after hearing counsel to the claimant, ordered that the application is granted as prayed.
Justice Fasanmi said the respondents are hereby restrained from inaugurating any person or persons not democratically elected as members of caretaker committees to administer the affairs of local government councils and local council development areas in Ondo State pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction in this suit.
Besides, the party had last Wednesday said it was shocked by screening and approval of Caretaker Committees of Local Council Development Areas and local government areas by the state House of Assembly in flagrant violation of the 1999 Constitution as amended and the Local Government System, Establishment And Administration and other Auxiliary Matters Law of Ondo State 2006.
The state PDP, through its Director of Media and Publicity, Leye Igbabo, in a statement titled: ‘Illegal Appointment of Caretaker Committee into Ondo State Local Governments And LCDAs’, alleged that it is unbelievable that those who are supposed to make laws for the state are the same breaking the law.
He said: “Section 7(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria expressly states that: ‘The system of local government by democratically elected government council is under this constitution guaranteed and accordingly, the government of every state shall subject to Section 8 of this constitution ensure their existence under a law which provides for establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.
“Therefore, in the eyes of the law, the screening and confirmation of the said Caretaker Committees are null and void.
“Our party also believes the appointment of these committees is an attempt to derail the local government elections scheduled for February 17, 2024, in view of the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state is not in a form to have a good showing in the local polls.”
The party urged the Assembly not to make itself a willing agent in the hands of those who are hell bent on driving the state towards a huge rock.
“This public show of shame must stop for once because the consequences of damaging the very constitution that binds us together is better left unimagined,” the PDP added.