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DISSOLUTION OF COMMISSION: FAYEMI ACTED LIKE A MILITARY DICTATOR – COURT

By Lere Olayinka
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A Court of Appeal sitting at Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Tuesday dismissed the appeal instituted by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dayo Akinlaja, challenging the judgment of Hon Justice A.K Fowe of an Ado Ekiti High Court which declared the dissolution of the Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State as unlawful, wrongful, illegal, utra vires, null and void against the rules of natural justice and of no effect whatsoever.

Delivering judgment in the suit number CA/AE/2/2011, Presiding Justice Uwani Musa Abba-Aji likened Fayemi's action to that of a military dictator, adding that she believed that such dictatorial actions had ended in 1999 when the country returned to democratic rule.

Hon. Justice A. K. Fowe had on Monday, 17th January, 2011 delivering judgment in Suit No HAD/119/2010 between Chief Femi Akinyemi and 6 others and Governor of Ekiti State and 1 other ordered that the Commission's Chairman, Chief Femi Akinyemi and six members of the commission should be paid the total of all remunerations due to them up till and including 11th day of February, 2011 when their three year tenure would have ended.

Dissatisfied with the Justice Fowe's judgment, Fayemi had approached the Court of Appeal, Ado-Ekiti, urging it to upturn the trial court's judgment, maintaining that Justce Fowe erred by declaring the dissolution illegal and unlawful; and ordering the payment of the plaintiffs/respondents entitlements.

Presiding Justice Uwani Musa Abba-Aji supported by Justices Chidi Uwaoma Uwa and Mohammed Tsamani affirmed the decision of the lower court and awarded N50,000 cost against Fayemi, maintaining that; “The appeal lacked merit and as such the termination of the appointments of the Chairman and members of the Local Government Service Commission was null and void.”

The court ordered the immediate payment of the total emoluments of the respondents as “they enjoyed statutory flavour and appointed in accordance with the Local Government Service Commission Law.”

The court however said that the respondents cannot eat their cake and have it back, hence the governor upon payment of the respondents outstanding benefits up till February 2, 2011 could go ahead to reconstitute the commission.

The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Dayo Akinlaja commended the honourable justices while counsel to the respondents, Mr. Obafemi Adewale who also applauded the judgment said that the court had restored the hope of the masses.