…As ALGON Asks Members to Disregard Directive …He’s Acting like a Dictator, says APC The new Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde may be setting the stage for immediate collision with staff of the Local Governments with his directive to all chairmen of LGs and their Local Council Development Administration (LCDA) counterparts to vacate their
…As ALGON Asks Members to Disregard Directive
…He’s Acting like a Dictator, says APC
The new Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde may be setting the stage for immediate collision with staff of the Local Governments with his directive to all chairmen of LGs and their Local Council Development Administration (LCDA) counterparts to vacate their offices in spite of a court order. But the state chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) has told its members to disregard Governor’s directive dissolving the councils.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Bisi Ilaka on Wednesday evening.
The statement also directed that all Boards of the State Parastatals be dissolved forthwith while embargo was placed on the accounts of the State and Local Government administrations.
The Statement says, “His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde has directed as follows: That all local Government authorities, Local Council Development Authorities be dissolved with immediate effect.”
“That all Local Government Chairmen are to hand over to their Heads of Local Government Administration (HLA) or the most Senior Directors in their local government areas and councils.”
“That all Boards of Parastatals and corporations be dissolved.
“That embargo be placed on all Local and State Government accounts until further directives.”
This dissolution flies in the face of an earlier court order which says the Governor lacks the powers to dissolve LGs before the expiration of their three years tenure…
Justice A. A. Aderemi had averred that seeking the dissolution of the elected council chairmen by the Governor, Attorney-General of the state, the Commissioner for Local Government, Accountant- General of the state, Speaker of the State House of Assembly and the State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) breached the constitutional provision of Section 7 (1) of the constitution of the country, thereby making the application of the defendants for the dissolution null and void on Monday 6th May 2019.
While stating that sections 7(a) and 96 of the Local Government Law of the state, Cap 78 Laws of Oyo State 2000, which empowers the Governor to dissolve Local Government Areas, violates section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), Justice Aderemi, argued that the violation of the section of the law made it unconstitutional for the council chairmen to be dissolved before the expiration of their three-year tenure.
She also ruled that any law, order or directive empowering the Governor of the state or any person whatsoever to dissolve the Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas in the state or remove from office any person democratically elected into a Local Government Council and Local Council Development Areas in the state whose tenure is yet to expire was in conflict with Section 7 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and thus unconstitutional.
Aderemi said, “A declaration that by virtue of the combined effect of Section 7 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) and the provisions of Section 16 of the Local Government Law of Oyo State, Cap 78 Laws of Oyo State, 2000, the 1st defendant have no power to dissolve the democratically elected councils of the 33 Local Government Councils Development Areas in Oyo State and/or suspend remove or replace the claimants with appointed caretaker committees before the end of their tenure in breach of the aforesaid constitutional and statutory provisions.”
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant, his servants, agents, privies or any person whosoever from dissolving the 33 Local Government Councils and 35 Local Council Development Areas in Oyo State or removing, suspending, termination and or doing anything whatever to truncate the tenure of the claimants except in accordance with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended).
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents, privies or any person whosoever from freezing the accounts of the 33 Local Government Councils and 35 Local Council Development Areas in Oyo State or doing anything to truncate the effective administration of the 33 Local Government Councils and 35 Local Council Development Areas of Oyo State.”
Aderemi further ruled that: “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents, privies or any person whosoever from withholding or diverting the allocations, funds and resources of the 33 Local Government Councils and 35 Local Council Development Areas in Oyo State or doing anything to truncate the effective administration of the 33 Local Government Councils and 35 Local Council Development Areas in Oyo State.”
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 6th defendant, its servants, agents, privies or any person whosoever from conducting election into the office of Chairmen and Councillors of all or any of 33 Local Government Councils and 35 Local Council Development Areas in Oyo State before the expiration of the 3 years term of the claimants due to lapse in May, 2022″.
The Governor’s message to civil servants in the state not to expect immediate payment of the new minimum wage is also generating ripples.
“Recently, the Federal Government announced a new salary scheme in which the lowest cadre of civil servants are expected to earn at least N30,000.
“I know how access to this type of money will improve the lives of many of the families that I have had direct contact with. With the way the Oyo state account currently stands, I will be deceiving you if I said we are capable of taking on this burden,” he said.
“I believe in true federalism. I believe the states should decide the minimum wage of their workforce based on individual realities.
“All states are not created equal, so it is against the principle of fairness to apply a blanket rule to govern them all.”
Makinde however noted that his plans is to make Oyo State the first state to pay above the national minimum wage adding that “development would need time to materialize in the face of economic resources of the state.”
The Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State chapter, has told its members to disregard Governor Makinde’s directive dissolving the councils.
ALGON Chairman in the state, Mr Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, said at a news conference in Ibadan on Thursday that the Governor’s action was illegal.
He said that no council chairman would vacate office as a result of the Governor’s order.
“The purported dissolution is illegal, undemocratic, violation of rule of law and contempt of a subsisting court injunction,” he said.
He said an Ibadan High Court, presided over by Justice A. A Aderemi, had on May 6, granted an injunction restraining the state Governor and other government agencies from dissolving the councils and LCDAs.
The ALGON chairman said that the order was given in Suit NO: 1/347/2019, adding “there is also a recent Supreme Court judgment against such act of illegality by Governors.
“This purported dissolution was done in flagrant disobedience to a subsisting court order, it is a crude breach of the right of our people to be democratically governed at local government level”.
Abass-Aleshinloye said the Governor had no powers to dissolve any democratically elected officer in any arm of government.
“Under no law can a Governor summarily dissolve elected local government council or any elected organ of governance created by the constitution,” he said.
He said that ALGON would deploy every democratic, constitutional and peaceful means to correct such illegal act being perpetrated by the governor.
“We urge all duly elected council and LCDA chairmen and councillors to remain calm and peaceful in the face of the provocation and assault on constitutional democracy.
“We call on the security agencies to be on alert and to provide full security to all chairmen and council secretariats,” he said.
Oyo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Akin Oke, has also described the dissolution of the Local Government Councils in the state by Governor Makinde as dictatorial.
Oke said that the action was “military-like”, saying that he was shocked by the development.
“My party, the APC will react officially soon, but I will speak to you as an individual for now.
“We are not in the military era, in the first instance, here is a man who swore to defend the Constitution, few hours later, acting with impunity, acting in military style dissolving democratic institutions like Local Government Councils.
“The House of Assembly has not been constituted and even the so-called chief of staff who signed the statement on behalf of the governor has not been sworn-in.
“This development is a very bad signal, very bad signal for good people, with this administration, we are in for problems, real problems in the state,” he said.