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COURT ORDERS FAYEMI TO PAY SACKED EKITI COMMISSION'S CHAIRMAN, MEMBERS

By Lere Olayinka
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An Ado-Ekiti High Court has declared the dissolution of the Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) by the State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void, ordering the payment of all the entitlements of the sacked commission Chairman and members.

Justice Adewale Fowe, who gave the order today, while delivering judgment in the suit number HAD/119/2010 filed by Chief Femi Akinyemi and six others said that the way and manner the plaintiffs were sacked contravened the Local Government Service Commission Law No. 2 of 2000.

Following the dissolution of all boards of government agencies and governing councils of institutions that were constituted by the immediate past administration of Chief Segun Oni on October 22, 2010, Chief Akinyemi, who was the Chairman of the LGSC, alongside six other members of the commission had approached the court through Obafemi Adewale Chambers to seek redress.

They urged the court to declare Fayemi's action as illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void; and in the alternative, pay all their entitlements as stipulated by law.

In the Originating Summons, the plaintiffs, including Akinyemi, Bosun Oshuntokun, Jide Egunjobi, J. B. Amira, Dele Ajibola, Bamishaye Dada and Olu Ale averred through their counsel that; “their appointment was statutory with specific tenure under and by virtue of the combined provisions of Section 3 (1), and 4 (1) of the Local Government Service Commission Law No. 2 of 2000; that they were discharging their duties properly and were not suffering from any infirmity of body or mind, which might render them incapable of performing their duties; that none of them had been accused by the defendants of committing any act of misconduct and that none of them was ever called to explain any allegation of misconduct.”

Lead Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Obafemi Adewale also cited legal authorities, including but not limited to Fakuade vs Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital (1993) 5 NWLR pt 291 @ 47, Obeta vs Okpe (1996) 9 NWLR pt 473 @ 401; Ogbaji vs Arewa Textiles Plc (2000) 11 NWLR pt 678 @ 322 and NEPA vs Ango (2001) 15 NWLR pt 737 @ 627 to back up his arguments.

The defendants, the governor of Ekiti State and the State Attorney General through their counsel, Mr. Dayo Akinlaja had argued that the governor had the right to sack the commission chairman and members on the ground that their appointments were at the pleasure of the governor as indicated in their letters of appointments.

Akinlaja, who is now the State Attorney General Commissioner for Justice had further argued that since the appointees never opposed to the content of their letters of appointment, that they knew that the governor could sack them at will.

Reacting to the judgment, an official of the State Ministry of Justice, who craved anonymity said that the Attorney General would meet with Governor Fayemi on the step to take.