LG Crisis: I’ll Do Everything To Ensure Laws Are Obeyed — Folarin

The lawmaker representing Oyo central senatorial district, Sen. Teslim Folarin, has promised to do everything within his power to ensure that laws are obeyed.

Folarin, a former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, member and third term senator was reacting to the takeover of local government areas, LGAs and local council development areas, LCDAs by sacked chairmen.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain said that failure to obey court orders bring about anarchy.

NO NEED TO HEAT THE POLITY OVER LOCAL GOVT ADMINISTRATION.

The judgement of the Supreme Court on 11 December 2019, which returned the PDP Council Chairmen elected under former governor Ayodele Fayose in Ekiti State, despite an APC governor in Dr Kayode Fayemi was a landmark judgement. It rightfully recognised the Local Government, as a third tier of government, whose elected officers cannot be sacked by any State Governor or House of Assembly. It drew the curtain on the illegality which had dominated our polity since our return to the current democratic dispensation in 1999. The 5-man Supreme Court panel of justices, led by Justice Olubolade, stripped State Governors of the power to sack elected local govt Chairmen and Councillors. It banned the appointment of caretaker Chairmen by State Governors. It also ruled that “henceforth, the Act giving legislative powers to State Assembly members to sack elected local government Chairmen is null and void”. Justice Olubolade also directed that a copy of the judgement should be served to all 36 State Governors, Houses of Assemblies and the Minister of the FCT. The recent letter of the Attorney General of the Federation to the Oyo State Governor, was in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directive.

When we fail to abide by the rule of law, we invite anarchy and that was what the Governor of Oyo State sought to do when he ignored the Supreme Court’s judgement which made it clear he didnt have the power to sack LG Chairmen and Councillors.

The reason for attempting to sack the duty elected council officers in spite of the Supreme Court ruling and in complete disobedience of another Ibadan High Court ruling preventing him from sacking them, eludes any sane mind, especially when confronted with the fact that the State government has appealed the Ibadan High Court ruling at the Court of Appeal. Why not await the Appeal Court judgement before appointing illegal caretaker Chairmen, foreign to the Nigerian constitution and proscribed by the Supreme Court. Afterall, its trite law that parties should maintain status quo when a matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction. The status quo at the time of filing the appeal was that the duly elected Chairmen were in office. Why the desperate need to install chronies and remove duly elected ones, other than to syphoon local government funds through unelected individuals who cannot be held to account by the electorates.

On assumption of office in 2019, Governor Makinde cited the conduct of elections into the 35 LCDAs as illegal, since the LCDAs are not recognised in the Nigerian constitution. He relied on this sole reason for sacking all local govenment and LCDA Chairmen. One is then baffled as to how the governor then went ahead to appoint Caretaker Chairmen into these same LCDAs that he previously termed illegal and unconstitutional? Could the status of the LCDAs now be deemed legal because his party members now sought to illegally occupy the seats?

We as members of the opposition party, the Oyo APC, respected the decision of the Judiciary when it affirmed the election of the Governor Seyi Makinde as the duly elected governor of Oyo State. We urge him to equally respect the decision of the same Judiciary in the matter of local government administration. To do otherwise is a recipe for anarchy. The tenure of the current elected Council Officers shall run until May 2021.

I thank the law abiding citizens of Oyo State for siding with law and order. I salute the courage of all duly elected Chairmen and Councillors for returning to their legitimate offices in spite of threats, intimidation, harassment and violence by the State government PDP members and State government sponsored thugs. I also commend the law enforcement agencies for performing their duties in line with the laws of the land.

I assure you that as a Senator of the Federal Repulic of Nigeria, who swore an oath to respect and abide by the Constitution of our great nation, I would do all within my power to ensure that the laws of our nation are not abrogated.

God bless Oyo State