By Ibraheem Solaudeen.
The Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted to the invitation of the 16 suspended local government chairmen by the State House of Assembly for questioning on alleged misappropriation and diversion of local council funds.
The State Assembly, who had earlier recommended the suspension of the chairmen on account of impropriety, summoned them to appear before the Joint House Committee of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Ethics, Privileges and Judiciary between 18th and 26th of July, 2019.
Reacting to the summons, the PDP through a statement issued by its state chairman, Hon. Kola Shittu, chided the Assembly for putting the cart before the horse, adding that inviting the chairmen for questioning after suspending them unlawfully, shows that the lawmakers are confused and lack knowledge of due process.
The statement reads: “Yesterday, we received information that the Kwara State House of Assembly had invited suspended chairmen of the 16 local government councils in the State for questioning over allegation of misappropriation of public funds.
“As a party, we note that the State Assembly is putting the cart before the horse because this is what it ought to have done before recommending the illegal and provocative suspension of the chairmen, which was swiftly approved by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, in a manner that suggests political vendetta.
“We recall our earlier statement wherein we emphasized that it was utterly wrong and undemocratic for the House to have recommended the suspension of the council bosses over cooked-up allegation of financial misappropriation when they had not been properly investigated or invited for questioning.
“Inviting the chairmen for questioning after suspending them unlawfully, shows that the lawmakers are confused and lack knowledge of due process.
“Our party holds firm that the suspension of the LG chairmen has no place in a democratic dispensation as neither the House nor the governor has the power to suspend the council chairmen who were lawfully elected by their people.
“This is particularly as there is a subsisting court order restraining the State Governor nor any of his representatives including the State House of Assembly from suspending or dissolving elected local government chairmen or interfere in their financial activities until the lawful expiration of their tenure in 2020.
“Similarly, the Supreme Court had also declared as illegal and unconstitutional the dissolution of local government councils by State governor and the state assemblies.
“Therefore, both the governor and the lawmakers have overreached themselves by brazenly disregarding a court order and taking action that undermines the nation’s constitution and democracy.
“We also wonder why the legislature would invite the suspended council chairmen when there is a pending court case against them (lawmakers) and the Governor which was instituted by the chairmen.”
The PDP also rebuked the APC-led administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for allegedly pressuring the suspended chairmen to withdraw the court case, with a promise to allow them retain their position.
“This, no doubt further exposes the frustration and desperation of the Abdulrahman-led administration”, the statement added.
The suspended chairmen are scheduled to appear before the Joint House Committee in the following order:
Asa and Baruten Local Government Councils – Thursday, 18
Edu, Oke-Ero and Isin – Friday, 19
Ilorin-East and Ekiti – Monday, 22
Moro and Ilorin-West – Tuesday, 23
Kaiama and Ilorin – Wednesday, 24
Offa, Patigi and Oyun – Thursday, 25
Irepodun and Ifelodun – Friday, 26.