A Lokoja High Court has ordered the Kogi State government to, within 45 days, fix a date for the conduct of elections into the state’s 21 local government councils.
The Court held that the indefinite manning of affairs of council areas by directors of local government in Kogi State was unlawful.
Delivering judgement on the suit filed by some chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, led by its chairman, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, the trial judge and chief judge of the state, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, ruled that their appointment to fill the vacuum created by the exit of the former council chairmen, after their tenure had elapsed, was unlawful.
He therefore ordered the state independent electoral commission to fix a date for the conduct of a local government poll within 45 days, commencing from the day the judgement was delivered.
He posited further that the order had become necessary so as to enhance Section 7 (1) of the Constitution, which made it mandatory for the system of the local government administration to be through democratic means.
Ametuo and six others had challenged the alleged delay in conducting the elections by the defendants who are listed to include the state governor and the House of Assembly.
Other defendants are the State Electoral Commission, the state Attorney-General, the Local Government Service Commission and the relevant ministry.
Ajanah also declared that provisions of Section 56 of the State Local Government Law 2008 which empowered the executive to appoint transition committees are unconstitutional, null and void.
He regretted that 18 months after the court declared as null and void the provisions of the 2008 law on council chairmen’s tenure, the state still refused to fix a date for the polls.
Reacting to the judgement, counsel to the claimants, Shaibu Aruwa said it would go a long way in entrenching good governance in the state.
He described the verdict as a bold one, adding that it had only confirmed that the judiciary in the state was setting a good example.