Akure Division of the Court of Appeal has barred the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, from removing or sacking chairmen and councillors in the 18 local government areas of the state.
Akeredolu had taken the chairmen and councillors of the councils to court as he bids to remove them from office. At the resumed hearing of the case, counsel to governor Akeredolu, Mr. Charles Titiloye told the court that his client was not aware of the order of the High Court restraining him from dissolving the councils or of the appeal supposedly filed by him.
Titiloye noted that the state’s solicitor general was in court, to demonstrate how concerned the governor was, over the suit. The solicitor general subsequently rose up to confirm his presence, while the 18 council chairmen and councillors were represented by their counsel, Mr. Olusola Oke.
The governor’s counsel pleaded for adjournment to enable his client study the case, being a lawyer himself.
Governor Akeredolu, according to a hearing notice served on Oke by the state’s Ministry of Justice, had appealed a judgment of the state High Court headed by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olasehinde (now retired) which barred the governor from sacking the council officials elected on the platform of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The chairmen and councillors averred that in line with the 1999 Constitution (as amended), they were elected to serve for a three-year tenure, which will lapse on April 25, 2019. In granting their prayers, Justice Kumuyi observed that “the tenure of an elected councillor or office holder cannot be abridged or determined at the whims or caprices of anyone except the electorate.”
She, therefore, restrained the state government from dissolving, sacking, dethroning, impeaching or however removing the claimants from their respective positions, offices, duties, functions, powers and rights.
She thereafter adjourned the suit to June 7, 2017, for hearing.