…orders election within 30 days
BY IFEOMA IKEM
The Igbosere High Court of Lagos on Friday ruled and declared the appointment of caretaker committees, popularly called Executive Secretaries, over the administration of local government councils in the state as illegal and unconstitutional.
Justice Abdulfatal Lawal made the declaration while delivering judgement in a suit filed by the National Conscience Party, through its lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.
Consequently, Justice Lawal has directed the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, to conduct elections in all local governments in the state within 30 days.
Justice Lawal held that no governor is empowered by the constitution to take over the administration of local governments through sole administrators or caretaker committees.
”I call upon the Lagos State government to immediately implement the judgment of the court by dismantling all the illegal structures of local government caretaker committees”.
”I also call upon all state governments where the local governments are being manned by administrators to conduct elections immediately”, the court held.
The judge also held that the system of Local Government can only be managed by democratically elected people and if the state House of Assembly should make any law validating sole administrators for local government, such law will be invalid and unconstitutional.
The court further declared the Lagos State Local Government law, which allows for the appointment of caretaker committees, as illegal and unconstitutional. And that section 1(3) of the constitution stipulates that Nigeria should not be run in any manner that is contrary to the constitution.
The court rejected the argument of LAISEC that it was waiting for voters register from INEC since the same voters register and polling booths were used for the April, 2015 elections.
Consequently, Justice Lawal directed LASIEC to conduct elections in all local governments within 30 days.
Lawyer to NCP, Mr. Adegboruwa commended the judge for his courage, adding that this has once again proved that the Nigerian judiciary has been the sustainer of our democracy.
The applicant, National Conscience Party, through its National General Secretary, Comrade Ayodele Akele, had filed the action for a declaration that the local governments in Lagos State can only be run and managed by a democratically elected administration.
The party had sought for an order directing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to supply voters register to Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission.