In the suit no KWS/117/2021, ENetSuD sought the following reliefs from the Court:
1. A declaration that section 29 (1) to (5) of the Kwara State Local Government Law, 2005 is in conflict with section 7(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and thus null, void and of no effect whatsoever to the extent that it empowered Governor of Kwara State to dissolve the democratically elected local government councils and replace with them with Transitional Implementation Committees/ Care Taker or whatsoever name called appointed by the Governor or any other body.
2. A declaration that by virtue of the combined effect of section 7 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the provisions of section 18 and 28 the Kwara State Local Government Law, 2005 the Governor of Kwara State (i.e The 2nd Respondent) had no power to dissolve the democratically elected councils of the Sixteen local governments of Kwara State.
3. A Declaration that 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) does not recognize the purported Transitional Implementation Committee/ Care Taker or any other name whatsoever called in Kwara State and the creation or appointing of such is therefore unconstitutional.
4. A Declaration that the Respondents lack vires to release or use Kwara State resources to fund purported Transitional Implementation Committee/ Care Taker or any other name whatsoever called in view of sections 1(1), 7(1) and 15 (5) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
5. An Order setting aside the purported appointment of Transitional Implementation Committee by the Kwara State Government of 5th March, 2021 or any other dates whatsoever.
6. An Order directing the 2nd Respondent (Kwara State Governor) to recover/refund back to the State Treasury all fund, remunerations and benefits already paid to members of the said Transitional Implementation Committees.
7. An Order directing the 2nd Respondent (Kwara State Governor) to conduct local Government election in the whole local government area of kwara state with immediate effect in accordance with section 7 (1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The hearing of the case came up today 25th June 2021 at the Kwara State High Court, Ilorin.
AB Nuru (Chief State Counsel) and Mrs. O Michael (Senior State Counsel) both represented the KWSG while Lukman Raji represented ENetSuD.
WHAT KWSG TOLD THE COURT IN ITS COUNTER AFFIDAVIT AND WRITTEN ADDRESS
The Kwara State Governor and Government, by notice of preliminary Objection dated 20th April, 2021, challenged the jurisdiction of the Court to hear and determine the Originating Summons Filed by ENetSuD. The KWSG told the Court that ENetSuD does not have the locus standi to sue the Governor and Government of Kwara State over the illegal appointment of TIC in the 16 LGAs of the State. The KWSG told the Court that ENetSuD is neither a natural or artificial person known to law, saying further that ENetSuD does not have the legal capacity to sue the KWSG since evidence of its incorporation was not exhibited. Relying on its position that ENetSuD does not have legal personality and capacity to sue, the KWSG also said the Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case brought by ENetSuD and asked the court to dismiss the case.
The KWSG said that ENetSuD has failed to show its interest in the case of illegal appointment of TIC in the 16 LGAs of Kwara State, and urged the court to outrightly dismiss the case for want of jurisdiction. The KWSG also said that the allegation by ENetSuD that it appointed TIC to the 16 LGAs is a mere speculation without proof. The KWSG also told the Court that ENetSuD has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the law for believing that Section 7(1) of the Nigeria constitution and section 29 (1)-(5) of the Kwara State Local Government Law. The KWSG told the court that the section 29 (1)-(5) of the State Law is complementary to the section 7(1) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The KWSG argued further that suspension of the Chairman or Vice Chairman is not the same as suspension of the Local Government Administration or Council, and that the Kwara LG law derived its authenticity from the constitution. The KWSG, therefore, urged the Court to discountenance ENetSuD’s questions, saying that they were misguided and totally unfounded in law and in fact
WHAT ENetSuD TOLD THE COURT IN RESPONSE TO THE KWSG’S ADDRESS
ENetSuD’s Counsel and Director of Legal Services, Lukman Raji Esq., told the court that it is a settled principle of law that where any law or part of any law is in conflict with the constitution, such law or any part thereof is to be treated as null and void. Section 1(3) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) says “if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void” ENetSuD told the court that the argument of the KWSG that Kwara Local Government Law and Nigerian Constitution are complementary is a product of lack of proper appreciation judicial interpretation given to section 7(1) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). ENetSuD insists that Section 29 of the Kwara State Local Government Law, Cap. K33, 2005 is in conflict with the express provision of section 7 (1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended) because section 29 of the kwara state law is made to deny elected officers of local government of their mandate. ENetSuD urged the court to so hold.
ENetSuD said that the submission of the KWSG in their written address that the constitution of TIC (Transitional Implementation Committee) in place of Local Government Council is hinged on assumptions is laughable and comical, when there were overwhelming evidence indicating the constitution of the TIC and same is known to the public. ENetSuD urged the court to take judicial notice of the appointment and subsequent inauguration of the TIC in Kwara state being matter known to the public.
ENetSuD told the court that the Kwara Governor and Government are not sincere and also being economical with the truth for denying the appointment of any TIC and suspension of local government elected officers despite the fact that the facts are known to the public and reported by the daily newspapers, and also despite knowing that the appointed TIC have already assumed their illegal duties.
While explaining that the suit is a public interest litigation, ENetSuD told the court that it is a registered Civil Society Organization residents in Kwara State in accordance with Company and Allied Matters Act, and also submitted a copy of its certificate of Incorporation. ENetSuD also hinted the court that the Kwara State Governor and Government has partnered with it on Social Audit Program (initiated by the Governor) knowing that ENetSuD is a registered Civil Society organization.
ENetSuD informed the court that sometimes on 5th March, 2021 Letters were issued to some Kwara state indigenes by the Kwara State Government appointing them as Transition Implementation Committees (TIC) of Local Governments in kwara State, and that the TIC of Local Governments in kwara State were inaugurated by the Deputy Governor of Kwara state on 18/03/2021. ENetSuD informed the court that the appointment and inauguration of the Transition Implementation Committees (TIC) of Local Governments in Kwara State is a notorious fact in public domain which the court can take judicial notice of. ENetSuD said the appointment and inauguration of the TIC of Local Governments in Kwara State was not done in secrecy as same was reported on both online and print media including but not limited to the Herald News Paper of Friday, 19th day of March, 2021. (a copy of which was submitted to the court).
The KWSG asked for adjournment of the case in order to reply ENetSuD’s response to their preliminary objection. The KWSG has only 7 days to reply.
The case has been adjourned until 30/07/2021 for hearing the preliminary objection and the main case.