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Rivers Civil Society Organizations says suspension of 3 LGA Chairmen by Governor Wike is illegal, dictatorial

BY IBRAHIM BAKARE

The Rivers Civil Society Organisations,RIVCSO, has dismissed the Statement credited to Association of Local Governments of Nigeria,ALGON,Rivers State Chapter claiming that the Governor has the powers under the  Law to suspend elected Local Government Chairmen in Rivers State.

Governor Wike

In a press statement signed by: Asim Adams, Head Legal Team, RIVCSO said Governor Nyesom Wike suspended the elected local government chairmen of Abua/Odual & Degema Local Government Areas of Rivers State for some months now and have recently suspended the Mayor of Portharcourt.

RIVCSO disagreed with ALGON and  condemn this action by the Governor of Rivers State as a brazen and unbridled cum unilateral ursurpation of powers by the Governor.

Citing Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution stated that it empowers the existence and autonomy of the local government Areas, thus the local government Areas are the third tier of government in Nigeria having it’s life of independence, from the governors of the state or president of Nigeria.

It is also clear that the local government Areas being the third tier of government, elections, and running, suspension/removal, of the elected Chairman of a local government is vested in the legislative arm of the local government council. And not the Governor or the house of assembly of the state.

“The above have been given verve and zest by a plethora of decided cases in Nigeria amongst which are HON. Osaro Obazee Vs Governor of Edo State & 2 others, which landmark judgement was given by Justice E.E. Ikpobmwen of the High Court sitting in Benin City on the 14th April,2016 and more recently by supreme Court in a landmark judgement delivered on the 11th of December, 2019 in Re: Governor of Ekiti, Ekiti State VS Prince Sanmi Olubunmo & Others wherein the court held inter alia, per. 

Justice Olubolade Joe,of the Supreme Court said: ” The act giving legislative powers to the state assembly and governors to undertake process of sacking elected local government Chairmen is null and void…”

The Civil Society Organizations pointed out that drawing from the above constitutional provisions and case laws, “the act of Governor Nyesom Wike purporting to sack or suspend the  chairmen is a gross ursurpation of powers, an exercise in futility, gross violation of laws, null and void that should be rescinded to preserve democracy respect for the rule of law. It’s our argument,that any State law,empowering the Governor or House of Assembly to do otherwise is running contrary to the 1999 constitution and to that extent unconstitutional. 

RIVCSO argued that  eventhough,the Constitution empowers the State Assembly to make certain laws in the administration of the Local Government,such a  law must not conflict with the express provision of the constitution, asserting that the Office of the Governor is a creation of law,as such he must operate within the ambit of the law less we create a dictator!

Ironically,Rivers ALGON in a press statement signed by is Spokesman, Hope Ikiriko,and Chairman of Ahoada-West praised the Governor for the suspension of their Colleagues, arguing that it is within the powers of the Governor so do.

PRESS STATEMENT


SERIAL AND UNILATERAL ILLEGALITIES OF SUSPENSION OF MAYOR OF PORTHARCOURT,ABUA ODUAL AND DEGEMA LGA CHAIRMEN BY GOV. NYESOM WIKE…” 


The Attention Of The Rivers Civil Society Organisations have been drawn to a Statement credited to ALGON,Rivers State Chapter That The Governor Have The Right In Law To Suspend Elected Local Government Chairmen in Rivers State.
To refresh the mind of the general pubic, Gov. Nyesom Wike suspended the elected local government chairmen of Abua/Odual & Degema Local Government Areas of Rivers State for some months now and have recently suspended the Mayor of Portharcourt.
RIVCSO wish to respectfully disagree with ALGON and do hereby condemn this act by the Governor of Rivers State as a brazen and unbridled cum unilateral ursurpation of powers by the Governor.Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution empowers the existence and autonomy of the local government Areas, thus the local government Areas are the third tier of government in Nigeria having it’s life of independence, from the governors of the state or president of Nigeria.It is also clear that the local government Areas being the third tier of government, elections, and running, suspension/removal, of the elected Chairman of a local government is vested in the legislative arm of the local government council. And not the Governor or the house of assembly of the state.The above have been given verve and zest by a plethora of decided case in Nigeria amongst which are HON. OSARO OBAZEE VS GOV, EDO STATE & 2 ORS, which landmark judgement was given by Justice E.E. IKPOBMWEN of the High Court sitting in Benin City on the 14th April,2016 and more recently by supreme Court in a landmark judgement delivered on the 11th of December, 2019 in RE: GOVERNOR, EKITI STATE VS PRINCE SANMI OLUBUNMO & ORS wherein the court held inter alia, per. OLUBOLADE JOE, JSC, ” The act giving legislative powers to the state assembly and governors to undertake process of sacking elected local government chairmen is null and void…”
Drawing from the above constitutional provision and case laws, the act of Governor Nyesom Wike purporting to sack or suspend the duo chairmen is a gross ursurpation of powers, an exercise in futility, gross violation of laws, null and void that should be rescinded to preserve democracy respect for the rule of law. It’s our argument,that any State law,empowering the Governor or House of Assembly to do otherwise is running contrary to the 1999 constitution and to that extent UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Eventhoough,the Constitution empowers the State Assembly to make certain law in the administration of the Local Government,such a  law must not CONFLICT with the express provision of the constitution.
The Office of the Governor is a creation of law,as such he must operate within the ambit of the law less we create a DICTATOR!


SIGNED: 
ASIM ADAMS, ESQ, HEAD LEGAL TEAM, RIVERS CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS
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