Activist sues Obiano, warns against appointment of LG Caretaker Committees

Posted by News Express | 25 November 2015 | 3,589 times

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An Onitsha-based human rights lawyer dragged Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to court seeking to stop him from undemocratically appointing local government transition or caretaker committees in the state.

In a letter dated November 23, 2015, Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba, who is also President, Voters Rights International, warned Obiano not to embark on any such exercise since the matter is still pending in court. The letter was addressed to Governor Obiano; Ananmbra House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Barr. Rita Maduagwu, and Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Barr. Anali Chude. It was copied the Presiding Lordship, Court of Appeal, Enugu.

In the letter entitled, ‘Legal Warning Against Appointing Local Government Transition or Caretaker Committees in Anambra State Subject Matter of Pending Appeal’, Barrister Ekejiuba said:

“I write this letter in my personal capacity as the Appellant to you in your respective official capacity as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents in a pending Appeal No. CA/E/437/2012 – Barr. Jezie Ekejiuba V. Governor of Anambra State and 2 Ors which will be coming up on February 24, 2016 at the Court of Appeal, Enugu for hearing – specifically for adoption of the Appellant and Respondents Briefs. This letter also serves as a Hearing Notice.

“Information available to me indicates that the Government of Anambra State is planning to appoint Local Government Transition or Caretaker Committees in Anambra State when the current Local Governments which were elected on January 11, 2014 expire on January 11, 2016 after a two-year tenure. The outgoing elected Local Governments came in after 11 years of Caretakership at the third-tier of government which precipitated the filing of the above Suit on Appeal.

“Stringent calls by well-meaning citizens on the Anambra State Government to empower and direct the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) to prepare and conduct Local Government election to usher in new Chairmen-elect and Councillors-elect to take over from the outgoing elected Local Governments have fallen on deaf ears due to the politically motivated ulterior motives to truncate the Rule of Law and trample on the civil rights of the voters.

“The body language of the State Government and ANSIEC in this regard can be judged in the light of the fact that only 50 days remains for the aforesaid two-year mandate of the current elected Local Governments to expire by operation of the law. 90 days Notice of election is required in the Electoral Law for any election to be valid. 

“It has, therefore, become necessary for me to remind you that one of the issues for determination raised in the said Suit on Appeal was succinctly put by the Attorney General of Anambra State in his Respondents Brief filed on May 21, 2013 at page 1 to wit: “Whether the appointment or setting up of Local Government Transition Committees or Caretaker Committees in Anambra State by the defendants is constitutional, having regard to the provisions of Sections 1(2) and 7(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999?”

“Likewise, one of the injunctive reliefs sought in the Suit on Appeal reads: “An Order of perpetual injunction restraining the Governor of Anambra State or any of the defendants ….. from appointing, setting up, dealing with or recognizing and continuing to appoint, set-up, deal with, recognize Local Government Transition Committees ……. or whatever name so-called as the system of Local Government in any or all the 21 Local Government Areas of Anambra State”. This is the crux of the subject matter of the Appeal. 

“I, therefore, implore you Sir, to ponder over the need to maintain the status quo and respect the Rule of Law, having regard to the famous legal warning by Tobi JCA (as he then was) in the case of Ezegbu V. F.A.T.B. Ltd (1992) 1 NWLR (part 220) 699 at page 735 paragraph A-F when he held thus:

“ “Parties who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the Court are under a legal duty not to do anything to frustrate or make nonsense a possible Court Order. They must, whether they like it or not, wait for Court Order. They must whether they like it or not wait for the Court to make a decision one way or the other. The procedure at arriving at a decision may be slow. It may even be sluggish, but the parties cannot jump the gun and do their own thing in their own way. That will be tantamount to undermining the integrity of the Court……  Parties are aware of the pending Court process, and whether the Court has not given a specific injunctive order, parties are bound to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the court process……”

“As such, your Administration should desist from hatching such provoking plans of appointing Caretaker Committees to run the affairs of the Local Governments of the State at a time the change agenda of the Buhari Administration is to strengthen the democratic institutions to pull Nigeria out of the woods.”

•Photo shows Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba.

Source: News Express

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