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Reps Order Fayemi To Reinstate Dissolved LGA Chairs As ACN Kick

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ABUJA, Nov 02, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives today ordered Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to immediately reverse and reinstate all sacked local government council chairmen and their councilors in the state.

The House, which took the decision at its sitting after a motion by Honourable Aribisala Adewale also directed the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo to suspend further statutory allocations to the state until the sacked elected council officials are recalled.

But in a swift to the resolution of the federal lawmakers, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) described the members of the House of Representatives as lawless, petty and vindictive following its resolution asking the federal government to stop allocation to Ekiti State.

The federal legislators also ordered the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Hafiz Ringim to provide security for the affected 16 council chairmen and councillors and immediately effect their reinstatement.

While moving a motion, Honourable Adewale maintained that the dissolution was inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria adding that the National Assembly had to intervene in order to save the state from degenerating into anarchy.

He argued that the governor who recently emerged as a product of the rule of law should respect section 7 of the 1999 Constitution [as amended], and the Local Government Administration Laws of the state, which he said required the 2/3-majority support of the State House of Assembly for such an action to remain valid.

According to him, the action of the governor was totally in violation of the constitution, noting that no wrongdoing has been established against any of the sacked council chairmen and councillors.

The lawmaker further stressed that the action of the governor was causing a lot of tension in the state that if not well handled degenerate into a security crisis adding that there were demonstrations across the state two days ago following the dissolution.

First to oppose the motion was the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN], Honourable Femi Gbajabiamilah. He reasoned that any action taken by the House on the matter may impede on the powers of the judiciary and adversely affect the persons involved.

Others members who also kicked against the motion were Honourable Monsuru Owalabi, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, Patrick Ogbahiagbon, Chairman of the South South Caucus in the House, Andrew Uchendu, Emmanuel Jime, Samuel Sejiro, who in their separate contributions, asked the House to hands off the matter.

Those who supported the motion were former speaker, Hon (Mrs.) Patricia Etteh (PDP, Osun), Bala Ibn Na’Allah (PDP, Kebbi) Gbenga Elegbeleye, John Halims Agoda (PDP, Delta), Cyril Maduabum (PDP, Anambra), Igo Aguma (PDP, Rivers), and Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta).

They all agued in their separate submissions that the action was wrong, especially coming from a political figure that just recently benefited from the process of the rule of law. They argued that it was even worse for him to unilaterally take the action without recourse to the State House of Assembly as required by law.

Recall that Governor Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who recently took over governance following the nullification of the election of Segun Oni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had on October 25, 2010, dissolved the 16 local councils in the state and appointed caretaker committees in their place.

ACN slams House of Reps over resolution on Local Councils

In a statement issued in Lagos today by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party asked the Accountant General of the Federation to disregard the ‘meaningless resolution’, in view of the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Lagos case that no one, not the President or the National Assembly, has the powers to withhold local government allocation for whatever reason.

''The resolution passed by the House of Representatives is therefore unconstitutional, illegal and ultra vires, and should be ignored by the executive. The Senate should also be careful not to lend its backing to such an irresponsible and arrogant show of power by the House of Representatives.

''The resolution, which is very typical of the PDP and the institutions it dominates, makes a mockery of the Supreme Court, whose decisions override any law, and undermines the judiciary,'' it said.

ACN wonders if the resolution by the PDP-dominated House is the ruling party's reaction to the recent judicial victory of the ACN in the Ekiti gubernatorial election case, since the resolution seems to target the recent dissolution of the local councils in Ekiti in particular.

''It is sad for the PDP that instead of using its majority in the National Assembly to advance the course of democracy and enhance the welfare of Nigerians, all the party can do - through its clueless members in the House of Representatives - is to dabble into an issue that portrays the party as a bad loser.

''If the House of Representatives does not know, there are more important issues begging for its attention that the dissolution of local councils. There is the worsening insecurity and kidnapping in parts of Nigeria, and there is the illegal and unconstitutional action of renegade lawmakers in Ogun state,'' the party said.

ACN explained that Governor Kayode Fayemi followed the law in dissolving the local councils in Ekiti, and that there was no court order restraining him from doing so at the time he did.

''The case filed by the council chairmen in Ekiti, seeking to restrain the governor from exercising his powers to dissolve the councils, has been struck out after they withdrew the case.

''In any case, Section 23 b of the Ekiti Local Government administration (Amendment Law) of 2001, passed by the Ekiti State House of Assembly long before Fayemi became Governor, empowers the Governor to dissolve the councils, provided such dissolution will not exceed a period of 12 months. The law also gives the Governor the powers to appoint a seven-member caretaker committee in each council until elections are held.

''The Governor was in the process of tabling the dissolution before the State House of Assembly, as stipulated by the law, when this meaningless resolution was passed. We are therefore left with no choice to ask all concerned to ignore the resolution, which is meant for trash can,'' the party said.