By Ibrahim Sheriff (Gold)
The AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led Kwara State government according to a Civil Society Organisation, Elite Network for Sustainable Development (Enetsud) has told the Kwara state High Court, Ilorin that it did not suspend local government administration of the sixteen (16) local governments of Kwara state. It also said it did not appoint Transition Implementation Committee (TICs) in the State local governments.
You will recall that in March 2021, AbdulRazaq, represented by his Deputy, Mr. Kayode Alabi swore in TIC Chairmen for local governments in Kwara state, inside the council chamber, government house, Ilorin with a charge on them to break new grounds in increasing revenue generation without necessarily imposing fresh burdens on the people.
The Kwara state government, on Friday however submitted otherwise, in a notice of preliminary Objection dated 20th April, 2021, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear and determine the Originating Summons filed by a Kwara based CSO, Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD).
Kwara state government posited that ENetSuD has failed to show its interest in the case of illegal appointment of TIC in the 16 LGAs of Kwara State, and urged the court to outrightly dismiss the case for want of jurisdiction.
Represented by A. B Nuru, a Chief State Counsel and Mrs. O Michael, a Senior State Counsel at the State Ministry of Justice, Kwara State government said “The allegation by ENetSuD that it appointed TIC to the 16 LGAs is a mere speculation without proof.” The KWSG also told the Court that ENetSuD has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the law for believing that Section 7(1) of the Nigeria constitution and section 29 (1)-(5) of the Kwara State Local Government Law are contradictory, noting that the section 29 (1)-(5) of the State Law is complementary to the section 7(1) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The KWSG argued further that suspension of the Chairman or Vice Chairman is not the same as suspension of the Local Government Administration or Council, and that the Kwara LG law derived its authenticity from the constitution. The KWSG, therefore, urged the Court to discountenance ENetSuD’s questions, saying that they were misguided and totally unfounded in law and in fact.
In its response however, ENetSuD said “The submission of the State government in their written address that the constitution of TIC is hinged on assumptions is laughable and comical, when there were overwhelming evidence indicating the constitution of the TIC and same is known to the public.”
ENetSuD urged the court to take judicial notice of the appointment and subsequent inauguration of the TIC in Kwara state being matter known to the public, noting that Gov. AbdulRazaq and Kwara state Government insincere and also being economical with the truth for denying the appointment of any TIC and suspension of local government elected officers, despite knowing that the appointed TIC have already assumed their illegal duties.
ENetSuD insisted that “The argument of the KWSG that Kwara Local Government Law and Nigerian Constitution are complementary is a product of lack of proper appreciation judicial interpretation given to section 7(1) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
The CSO maintained ENetSuD that Section 29 of the Kwara State Local Government Law, Cap. K33, 2005 is in conflict with the express provision of section 7 (1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended) because section 29 of the kwara state law is made to deny elected officers of local government of their mandate. ENetSuD urged the court to so hold.