The newly sworn-in Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has approached the Court of Appeal to upturn a judgment of an Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, which barred the state government from dissolving the local government administrations in the state.
The case is due for mention on Monday at the Appeal Court sitting in Akure, the state capital.
The governor’s request to the appellate court was served by the state’s Ministry of Justice, on the counsel to the 18 local government chairmen and councillors, Olusola Oke.
The chairmen and councillors were elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in April last year.
On January 17, this year, the Ondo State High Court, ruling on a suit filed by the 18 local government chairmen and councillors, led by their chairman, David Alarapon (Chairman of Akure South), had ruled that the state government, either by their agents or servants, had no right to remove the elected officials until their tenure expires.
In the judgment delivered by a former state Chief Judge, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi (who retired recently), the court upheld the claims by Alarapon and 34 others, among whom were councillors, that the council officials were democratically elected to serve for a tenure of three years which would end on April 25, 2019.
The council leaders had approached the court to prevent the state government from removing the claimants from their respective positions, offices, duties, functions, powers and rights.
In granting the prayers of the local chairmen and councillors, retired Justice Kumuyi observed that the “tenure of an elected councillor or office holder cannot be abridged or determined at the whim of anyone except the electorate.”
The court thereby gave an order preventing the removal of the council chairmen and councillors in the 18 local council areas of the state.