Thursday, December 24, 2009

Court victory for Local Government

Court victory for Local Government
Yola High Court,declared that Adamawa state House of Assembly has no constitutional powers to reduce the tenure of office of local government chairmen councils in the state, midway into the electoral process.The court presided over by the state chief judge, Justice Bemari Bansi, therefore declared as void, null and unconstitutional and of no effect, the amendment to the Adamawa local government law administration by the Assembly in 2008.The controversial amendment reducing the tenure of the local government councils in Adamawa state, from two and a half years to one year, by the state House of Assembly, was challenged by the Adamawa state branch of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), at the court. Delivering judgment in the case Justice Bansi held that the attempt by the legislative arm to reduce the tenure of duly elected chairmen, after they had commenced electoral process under the law stipulating two and half years, amounts to move to create anarchy and restiveness in the state., stressing that eguity demands that they be allowed to complete their tenure before any changes.He wondered why the Constitution of the Federal Government provides a four- year term for the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, local government council chairmen and other elected representatives and wondered why the Adamawa state Assembly is attempting to muscle the constitution.Bemasi, stated that the one year term of office for local government council chairmen as envisaged by the Adamawa House of Assembly was only applicable to the state out of the 774 local governments in the country.The judge described as uneconomical and waste of public resources, for the state government to be conducting local government’s elections on a yearly basis.He added that the state government spent over N798 million to conduct the 2008 local government election, saying for government to be spending such among on yearly basis amounts to waste of resources.
This landmass legal victory for LG is significant in the sense that ALGON should not shy away from taking legal action against repressive policies of most state Assembly over council Areas across the country.
They must cease to be dominated and squelched by higer levels of Government, state and Federal.

Jeff Nkwocha
Local Govt. Study Network

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