The Supreme Court has declared the action of Oyo State Governor’s dissolution and sack of elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in Oyo State as unconstitutional and illegal.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgement by a five-man panel of Justices, held that Governor Makinde acted beyond his powers when he sacked the Chairmen of the 33 Local Government Areas, LGAs, as well as 35 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, in the state on his assumption of office on May 29, 2019.
According to the ruling, no Governor has the constitutional power to illegally terminate the tenure of democratically elected LG Chairmen and Councillors.
The Supreme Court, in its lead verdict that was read by Justice Ejembi Eko, noted that Governor Makinde took the action despite a subsisting court order.
It held that Governor Makinde acted “invidiously and in contemptuous disregard of a High Court judgement,” that his action was in breach of section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The Supreme Court held that Governors were duty-bound to preserve democratically elected Local Government Councils.
Justices Kekere Ekun, Inyang Okoro, Ibrahim Saulawa and Adamu Jauro all agreed with the lead judgement that the Supreme Court delivered during a virtual session it held on Friday.
The Supreme Court at this juncture invoked its jurisdiction under section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and vacated the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, which had agreed with Governor Makinde’s action.
It held that the appellate court was wrong when it held that there was no reasonable cause of action in the suit the appellants filed to forestall their sack.
Though the Supreme Court acknowledged that the three-year tenure of the sacked Chairmen and Councillors had since expired, it ruled that they deserved to be compensated for their tenure that was “illegally truncated” on May 29, 2019.
It ordered the Oyo State Government to pay each of the sacked Chairmen and Councillors their accrued salaries and allowances.
The Supreme Court further directed the Attorney-General of Oyo State to before August 7, file an affidavit attesting to the payment of such salaries and allowances to the appellants.
Besides, it awarded a cost of N20million in favour of the appellants.