By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Uneasy calm now pervades the camp of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State and the state government as debilitating crisis now threatens the fabrics of the party and the government which is facing crisis of confidence ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The twenty-five local government councils in the state have returned to the High Court in Minna seeking order of the court to compel the governor to stand down his plan to sack the elected councils officials of the third tier of government in the state.
Since last Tuesday when the State House of Assembly passed a resolution asking the state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello to set in motion machinery to sack the councils’ Chairmen and set a stage for fresh local government election, peace has eluded the government’s circle and the camp of the APC in the state.
In a fresh suit entered by the Chairman of Rafi Local Government Area, Hon. Gambo Tanko Kagara and 24 others as plaintiffs, the aggrieved Chairmen are praying the court to restrain the respondents from dissolving the local government councils in the state.
The parties are Hon. Gambo Tanko Kagara and 24 others versus the governor of Niger state, the State House of Assembly and the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice.
The case has been assigned to Justice Mohammed Aliyu Mayaki of the High Court II, a thorough bred Justice.
When the case was called, one C. Ogbu announced appearance for the applicants to set the stage for another legal tussle against the governor and his unpopular plan.
The motion brought before the court is a motion experte seeking the powers of the court to restrain and compel the respondents and or their agents from dissolving the local government councils in the state.
After hearing the application, the court granted the relief sought by the plaintiffs pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The case has been adjorned to the 16th of March 2018 for hearing of the motion.
A spectrum of Civil Society Organisations, (CSOs) have risen sharply to condemn the State House of Assembly, who in contravention of a High Court judgement, had, at plenary, asked the state governor to go ahead and dissolve all the elected councils’ officials and conduct fresh election for new councils’ Chairmen.
A radio audience participation programme on a private FM station, the ”Prestige FM”, had criticised the Niger State House of Assembly for being a ”rubber stamp” of the state governor who the audience had described as desperate person who wants to hold on to power by ensuring that he brings in his cronies as councils’ Chairmen ahead of the 2019 general elections.
It would be recalled that the present administration in the state had in 2016 signed into law an amendment to the 1999 constitution which stipulates three years tenure for local government Chairmen.
The new law had fixed two years as tenure for local government Chairmen. Magistrates but in November last year, some aggrieved councillors in the state and 14 registered political parties in the state had approached the High Court in New Bussa which invalidated the earlier law passed by the Niger State House of Assembly and annulled the powers of the state governor to truncate the three year tenure of elected council chiefs executives.
It was after this High Court verdict that the State House of Assembly hurriedly sat and passed a resolution asking the state governor to dissolve all the 25 local councils in the state citing various corruption allegations against the elected councils Chairmen.
Following the wave of criticism generated by the House resolutions and the rabid reactions from members of the public, the state government in a statement issued by the spokesman for the governor, Jibrin Baba Ndace had last Wednesday explained that the governor had not dissolve the council leadership as recommended by the state lawmakers.
But the pressure and condemnations have not abated which must have prompted the governor’s reaction via the statement issued by Ndace albeit the legistlature in the state have been thrown into a bad light.