Following the sacking of the local government chairmen in Ondo State by the state High Court, the state governor, Mr. RotimiAkeredolu, has asked the sacked chairmen to vacate office.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. SegunAjiboye, after the court verdict.
According to the statement, the sacked chairmen were directed to hand over, immediately, all government properties in their possession to the Director of Local Government Administration in their respective local government.
The statement read, “ This directive is predicated on the order of Honourable Justice Adesola Sidiq of the State High Court, Akure, which found that the 1st and 2nd Defendants, Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission and Prof OlugbengaIge, the Chairman, conducted the election of 23 April, 2016, in violation of the mandatory provisions of Sections 1(1) (3), 40, 42, 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, and Articles 2, 3(1) (2), 10(1), 11 and 13 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap. A9, the Laws of Federation, 2004, and, consequently, dissolved all local government administrative set up across all the 18 local government areas of Ondo State.”
“The state government hereby enjoins all citizens to remain law-abiding as this directive is solely based on strict adherence to the order of the court and our unyielding insistence on observing the rule of law at all times and in all situations.
“Elections into all the Local Government Areas shall be conducted as directed by the court as soon as possible.”
The suit involving the 18 local governments areas in the and the Peoples Redemption Party and the state government was concluded at the High Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The court ruled for dissolution of the councils in the state.
Justice S.A Sidiq, who delivered the judgment on Friday, overruled all the applications filed by the lawyers for the claimants.
Mr. Femi Aborisade announced his appearance for the PRP while Mr. Akinladapo Ogunleye, the Solicitor-General of the state appeared for the state government while Mr. Olusola Oke was for the 18 chairmen and councillors, who were also claimants in the suit.
However, there was a mild drama during the court proceedings as the PRP lawyer, Aborisade, who filed the suit against the local government election held in the state in April 2016, was not recognised by the judge as the lawyer appearing for the PRP.
Aborisade, who filed the suit to challenge the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission on behalf of the PRP over the conduct of the election, was at the High Court to represent his client and also to withdraw the suit.
But the judge recognised one Segun Ogodo as the counsel for the PRP, insisting that he would continue with the case irrespective of the applications for the withdrawal filed by Aborisade.
The National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, who was also in the court, disowned Ogodo, saying the party never knew Ogodo nor briefed him to stand for the party in the court. He insisted that Aborisade was the lawyer of the party and not Ogodo.
Justice Sidiq in his earlier ruling said he had earlier given a verdict that recognised Ogodo as the counsel to the PRP, asking Aborisade to go to the Court of Appeal to upturn his earlier ruling on legal representation for the party.
The judge declared that the local government election conducted by the ODIEC in 2016 was null and void and ruled that the 18 local council administrations should be dissolved.