By; JOSHUA I. EGBODO, Abuja.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has applauded the Supreme Court’s judgement, stating that the sack of elected local government chairmen and councilors by state governments and appointment of caretaker administrators is illegal.
This has lent boost to Dogara’s position that state governors do not have the constitutional right to sack duly elected local government officials and the need for local government autonomy, both financially and administratively, in order for local Government councils to develop.
The Supreme Court judgment delivered by the five-man panel, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, in the case of the appeal against the dissolution of the 16 Local Government Executives in Ekiti State, during Kayode Fayemi’s tenure, described the practice as “executive recklessness”, which must not be allowed to persist.
“State Governors have a constitutional responsibility to act according to the dictates of the judgement, as Nigeria is a nation of laws and not of men. The National Assembly will undoubtedly, intervene legislative to solve this problem. Already, clauses granting financial autonomy to both local councils and State Houses of Assembly are being considered by the National Assembly in the ongoing constitutional amendment exercise.
“The proposals includes denying federal allocation to local governments that do not have democratically elected council officials.In the interim, the Federal Ministry of Finance should be guided by the Supreme Court decision which makes it illegal to release Federation Account funds to an unelected Council”, the speaker said in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Turaki Hassan yesterday in Abuja.
Dogara had in a recent media interview, described the state-local government Joint Account as “evil” and urged state legislators to move against governors who refused to conduct council polls and hijack their funds.