By Ibraheem Solaudeen.
In swift reaction to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s suspension of the 16 Local Government Council Executive and Legislative Committees on the recommendation of the State House of Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has lambasted the State House of Assembly for recommending the suspension of the chairmen, demanding the immediate reversal of the decree.
The PDP made its position known through a statement signed by its Chairman, Hon. (Engr.) Kola Shittu, who described the suspension as illegal and undemocratic.
The statement said, “It should be noted that neither the House nor the governor has the power to suspend the council chairmen who were lawfully elected by their people.
“The council chairman were lawfully elected in 2017 by the people for a three-year tenure which will expire in 2020. Neither the governor nor the State assembly has the power to suspend or sack them before the expiration of their administrations.
“We wish to remind the lawmakers of a subsisting court order barring 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.
“It is also instructive to note that the Supreme Court had also declared as illegal and unconstitutional the dissolution of local government councils by State governor and the state assemblies.
“The decision of the Kwara State House of Assembly to suspend the elected council chairmen, therefore, amounts to reckless disregard of court order, abuse of power, and rape of democracy that must be resisted by all lovers of democracy. We must not allow our democracy to be subverted by anti-democratic elements.
“It is unfortunate that lawmakers who are supposed to be advocates of justice and due process are the ones compromising the law and perpetrating illegality to serve the interest of their paymasters.
“We wish to state that we are currently studying the situation and will contest the suspension of the council chairmen and ensure that justice is served.
“The party, therefore, urges Kwarans to disregard the illegal suspension of the local government chairmen they freely elected into office. As far as our laws are concerned, they remain the duly elected chairmen and will remain so till their tenure expire next year.”
Governor Abdulrazaq had few hours after the State Assembly’s recommendation, endorsed the tentative removal of the council heads for six months, pending the outcome of investigations. This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Rafiu Ajakaye.
The Governor said, “Pursuant to the resolution of the Kwara State House of Assembly dated this 18th day of June, 2019, and Section 29 of the Kwara State Local Government Law Cap. K33, 2006, I, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the executive governor of Kwara State, hereby suspend the executive and legislative committees of all the Sixteen (16) Local Government Areas in the state for a period of six months or pending the outcome of the investigations into allegations of misappropriation of public funds by the Kwara State House or Assembly, whichever is earlier in time.”