The newly sworn-in caretaker chairmen of the 18 local government chairmen and the 33 Local Council Development Areas of Ondo State, have approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the order of the state High Court stopping them from operating in the office.
Recall that an Ondo State High Court, sitting in Akure, the state capital, had recently stopped the inauguration of the 18 caretaker chairmen and the 33 chairmen of the newly created LCDAs.
The chairmen, in the appeal filed, sought ” an order setting aside the two rulings in respect of the motions on notice for setting aside/discharging the ex-parte of interim Injunction and for interlocutory injunction delivered by the Hon. Justice Yemi Fasanmi of the Ondo State High Court, Akure Division on the 21st day of December 2023 in Suit No: AK/390/2023 between Peoples Democratic Party vs Governor of Ondo state and three others.”
They also sought “an order granting the appellants’ Motion on Notice filed on the 7th day of December 2023 to set aside/discharge the ex-parte order of interim injunction which the trial court granted against the appellants on the 30th day of November 2023.
“An order that the substantive suit be heard before a Judge of the Ondo State High Court other than Hon. Justice Yemi Fasanmi.”
Recall that a circular signed by one Alonge Adewale, for the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, had directed the head of the local government administration to retrieve all the properties of the councils in the possession of the suspended chairmen.
The circular read, ” It has come to the notice of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs that despite the suspension of all recently appointed Caretaker Committee members for Local Government and Local Council Development Areas in the state by a court of competent jurisdiction, some individuals in these former positions are still parading themselves in that posts.
Consequently, I have been directed to request the Heads of Local Government Administration in all the LGAs/LCDAs to immediately assume responsibility as head of their respective Local Government Areas/ LCDAs in an acting capacity pending the resolution of all legal matters relating to this subject.
“Furthermore, I have also been asked to request all HOLGAs to retrieve without delay, all assets and properties of the LGAs/LCDAs with these former Caretaker Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and other members and to safely keep them within their respective Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas.
However, the counsel of the appellants, Banji Ayenakin, has written to the ministry, informing it of the appeal filed by his clients against the court order.
The letter which was addressed to the office of the Permanent Secretary of ministry, read ” We are solicitors to the Caretaker Committee of the Local Government Areas and the Local Council Development Area in Onde State and on whose behalf the letter is caused to be written to you.
“Your letter dated 2nd of January 2024 with CMG/353/33 has been referred to us for our legal opinion and we have the directive of our clients to crave your indulgence to certain misconceptions and erroneous conclusion in the letter.
Your letter under reference stated that despite the judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction, our clients are stili parading themselves as officers of their respective LGAs and LCDAs.
It added that “You are unaware of the extant position of things and that events have overtaken your conclusion. The office of the Attorney General of Onde State has appealed the judgement you referenced.