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COUNSEL'S ABSENCE STALLS SUIT AGAINST DANIEL

By NBF News
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ABSENCE in court of the counsel to Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel yesterday stalled proceedings in a suit filed against him over the dissolution of the Ijebu-East Local Council.

The judge, Justice J. Osinuga, sitting at High Court 5, Isabo, Abeokuta was forced to adjourn the case to February 1.

Yesterday had been fixed for both the plaintiffs and the defendants' lawyers to address the court after which the judge would have fixed a date for ruling.

Following violence in the local council in 2009, which resulted in the loss of lives, Governor Daniel set up a panel of enquiry to look into the cause or causes of the riot.

The then Council Chairman, Mr. Tunde Oladunjoye, went to court to challenge the composition of the panel members. It was while the case was still in court that the governor dissolved and replaced the council's executives with a caretaker committee.

But nine officials of the council, who were affected by the dissolution order, filed a suit before Justice Osinuga to challenge the governor's action, which they insisted was illegal and unconstitutional.The plaintiffs are Mr. Rotimi Oyenuga, Mr. Gbenga Oguntubo, Idowu Onafeso, Chief Boye Ogunyale, Mr. Tunde Oshunsanya, Mr. S.O. Rabiu, Omoba Bola Badejo, Mr. Kehinde Quadry and Mr. Rashidi Odunaiya.

Joined in the suit are the Attorney General, Commissioner for Local Government and the Local Government Service commission.

The respondents are being represented by Mr. Gbenga Ojekunle, who was not in court yesterday, Mr. Tayo Amao held brief for Chief Olagoke Fakunle (SAN) for the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs, among other reliefs, are asking the court to determine whether by the Nigerian Constitution, the governor has the power to remove the council chairman, his vice and dissolve the executive and replace it with a caretaker committee.

They would also like the court to give an order mandating Governor Daniel (first respondent) to re-instate the applicants into their previous positions, restore all their benefits and also give 'recognition to the applicants as democratically elected and appointed officials of the council.'