Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Suspended Kwara State local government chairmen have insisted that they remain the authentic and legitimate chairmen of their respective councils.
They added that their suspension, by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, is unconstitutional, nil and void.
The embattled council chairmen added that they have instituted a contempt charge against the state and Kwara House of Assembly, arguing that they had, on June 13, secured a High Court judgement disallowing the Assembly and the governor from freezing the 16 local governments accounts.
The suspended chairmen said in the suit No KWS/115/2019 between Hajia Risikat Opakunle and 15 others versus Governor of Kwara state and others “determined that the governor and House of Assembly of the state cannot dissolve the councils or suspend the 16 local government chairmen during the tenure of their respective offices that will expire on November 27, 2020.”
Governor AbdulRazaq had on Tuesday this week suspended the council chairs and legislative councils on alleged misappropriation of N33 billion.
Addressing reporters in Ilorin, the state capital, Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Joshua Omokanye said: “Under a constitutional arrangement set out under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, neither the governor nor the House of Assembly has power to dissolve the local government councils or suspend us from office, particularly when we have a valid and subsisting court judgment in our favour that has made final pronouncement on our right as democratically elected council chairmen of the state.
“We, therefore, want to state clear and categorically that we remain the authentic and legitimate local government chairmen for the 16 local government councils in the state and state that the actions of the governor and House of Assembly cannot stand in the face of the Constitution and the subsisting judgment of the state High Court.
“The public is hereby informed that we have notified all the relevant agencies of government, including security agencies, of the attempt of the governor and the House of Assembly to deride and disrespect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and valid judgment of court of competent jurisdiction declaring our constitutional right to remain in office without any interference by the governor or the state House of Assembly.
“It is clear to us that the present attempt of the state governor and House of Assembly to purport to do what they cannot do under the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and what has been forbidden by order of court from doing is not only erratic and oppressive but a display of bad and bitter politics against opposition which the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria abhors or frowns at.
“We remain resolute and assert our constitutional and legal right to remain in office and continue to function as the duly and democratically elected local government council chairmen in the state.”