The Kwara State High Court has sacked the Transition Implementation Committees (TICs) appointed by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to run the 16 local governments of the state.
Governor AbdulRazaq had appointed the caretaker committees after suspending the elected officials of the councils.
But on Friday, Justice Hassan Gegele of the state High Court in Ilorin described the governor’s replacement of the suspended officials with his own appointees as “ executive rascality and an abuse of power.”
Mr Gegele gave the judgment in a suit by a civil society group, Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), challenging the appointment of TICs to run the LGAs.
The group urged the court to declare the appointments null and void, and to order the conduct of elections in the councils.
Justice Gegele, in his judgment, granted the two reliefs sought by the group.
We will appeal judgment – State Govt
Reacting to the judgment, however, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo, said the government would appeal the judgment, and seek a stay of execution.
“We wish to state that the reasoning of the trial judge is not a finality on the issue as it is subject to appeals at the higher benches, up to the Supreme Court. This allowance is guaranteed under our law,” Mr Jawondo said in a statement.
“In exercise of its right of appeal as enshrined under the 1999 constituion as amended, the state government intends to explore that right. It will also, as allowed under the law, seek immediate stay of execution of the judgment of the trial Court”.
PDP says “welcome development”
Also commenting on the judgment, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a statement by its spokesperson in the state, Tunde Ashaolu, hailed the ruling as a “welcome development.”
It described the ruling as a welcome development and victory for democracy and the rule of law.
The party also commended ENetSuD for fighting illegality, demanding justice and making efforts to deepen democracy in Kwara.
“The ruling of the Court did not come as a surprise to us. It is in line with our earlier position that the Governor lacks power to sack elected council chairmen and that the appointment of Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) by him is unconstitutional, undemocratic, null and void.
“Today’s judgment is a victory for democracy, rule of law and the good people of Kwara State who have always demanded justice and adherence to due process.
“Now that the Court has ruled that the caretaker committees are non-existent in the eyes of the law, we expect Governor Abdulrazaq to immediately initiate process to conduct local government elections,” the PDP said.