Supreme Court dismisses sacked Imo LG chairmen’s case

The Supreme Court on Friday, dismissed an appeal filed by former Chairmen of the 27 Local Government Areas in Imo.

A five-member panel of Justices of the apex court held in a unanimous judgment that the appeal was without merit.

Justice Sadiq Abubakar Umar delivered the lead judgment in the appeal, marked: SC/537/2016 filed against the Imo State Governor and others by the ex-Local Government Chairmen, led by Barrister Enyinna Onuegbu.

Justice Umar affirmed the earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal, Owerri division, which equally upheld the decision of the trial court that the suit was an abuse of court process.

The Court of Appeal had held that a similar suit existed between the same parties on the same issue.

Imo State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, C. O. C. Akaolisa (SAN), who was in court on Friday, commended the apex court for its decision, which he said, has cleared the way for Imo State to conduct Local Government elections.

He said the Imo State Government has been waiting for the outcome of the case to enable it to conduct elections at the Local Government level.

“The state government decided to await the Supreme Court’s decision in this case before conducting Local Government elections.

“We didn’t want to be seen to be disrespecting the court. It was out of respect to the court that we decided to wait.

“Today, the court has dismissed the action filed by the former local government Chairmen, contending their tenure. The state is now free to conduct Local Government elections.

“The state’s election commission has already published notice of election. So, now, nothing is hindering us from conducting the election,” Akaolisa said.

The immediate past Governor of Imo State,  Rochas Okorocha had,  in his maiden broadcast in June 2011, announced the sacking of the elected Local Government Chairmen, who assumed office under the tenure of his predecessor, Ikedi Ohakim of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Okorocha replaced the elected Chairmen with his appointed Transitional Committee Chairmen for the 27 Local Governments in the state.

While challenging the sack the ex-Local Government chiefs filed two suits, one at the state’s High Court and another at the Federal High Court.

The trial court declared one of the cases as an abuse of court’s process, a decision the ex-LG chiefs appealed.

In its decision on November 20, 2016, the Court of Appeal, Owerri division, affirmed the decision of the High Court, which the ex-LG chiefs further appealed to the Supreme Court.



Tribune Online