By Kayode Adeoti
The Kwara State High court sitting in Ilorin, last Friday, upheld the suspension of the 16 Local Government chairmen over allegation of financial misappropriation.
Recall that the chairmen were suspended by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq following the recommendation of the Kwara State House of Assembly over the allegation of misappropriation of N33 billion.
Kwara State Assembly following a petition forwarded by an undisclosed individual from Ilorin West Local Government Area launched investigation into the matter in which the council bosses and Director Personnel Management (DPMs) were quizzed.
Justice Hammed Gegele of the Kwara State High Court, who handed down the judgement last Friday, posited that the claimants lack the constitutional power to institute any legal action against the present administration.
He added that the House of Assembly, according to the constitution can recommend suspension of the chairmen as the nation’s constitution empowers the lawmakers to investigate and expose corruption.
Meanwhile, four council bosses; Comrade Yinka Dallas Ayeni of Ekiti Local Government Area, his Irepodun counterpart, Hon Muyiwa Oladipupo better known as Kanu, Aminat Omodara of Ilorin West and Engr. Abdulmumini Lah (Ilorin East) who proceeded with the matter after 12 other council bosses withdrew their suit and settled for what many stakeholders described as ‘political solution’ have vowed to seek redress at the Court of Appeal.
Dallas and his colleagues maintained that the state House of Assembly lacks the constitutional power to recommend their suspension.
Dallas, in his reaction to the verdict, said, “We wish to state that we will not relent in seeking justice on the illegal suspension. We shall stick by the initial judgement and seek redress on this,” he said.
Recall that Dallas had in a letter tagged; “Notice of my disagreement with request for withdrawal of law suit’s written by his counsel, Wahab Bamidele, reinstated his position to pursue the matter through legal means.
“I want to say clearly that I was not a party to any decision for the withdrawal of the case from court particularly when the case was filed in the individual name of the 16 Local Government Chairmen in our private capacities.
“I also want to say that I authorised your office to re-enter into the case and continue to pursue my case against the defendant and to pursue my right in the case to logical conclusion,” he stressed.
Among the many declarations sought by the council bosses was that the claimant is duly and democratically elected to offices as chairmen of their respective councils in Kwara State for a term of three years commencing from 28th November, 2017, the defendants jointly severally or persons in office as Governor of Kwara State and or member of state House of Assembly cannot dissolve or purport to dissolve the office of the chairman of the councils… Before the expiration of the16 councils in the state.
“A declaration that the tenure of the offices of the claimants as chairmen of the 16 councils in Kwara State are protected and guaranteed under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and extant law.
“A declaration that the provisions of the Kwara State Local Government (Amended) law, 2006 are null and void and of no effect for being in conflict with section 7(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) guaranteeing the existence of democratically elected Local Government councils in Nigeria.