New Telegraph

Benue PDP Faults Alia’s Appointment Of LG Caretaker Committees

…Says it’s a direct attack on democratic rights

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State on Thursday faulted the appointment of Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen to replace the sacked PDP’s elected Chairmen for the 23 councils of the state by Governor Hyacinth Alia, describing it as a direct attack on democratic rights of people of the state.

The party said “The unilateral and arbitrary decision of the governor to appoint LG caretaker committees in the manner he has done brazenly violates express provisions of the law on the constitution of government at the third tier of administration.

The party said the action of the governor is indeed not only an affront to the judiciary which ordered the reinstatement of the PDP Chairmen but also a direct attack on the democratic rights and sensibilities of the people of the state.

Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Bemgba Iortyom, in a statement, said the governor’s action not only disdains the rule of law but mocks his earlier promise to grant local government autonomy.

He said that “since his assumption of office Governor Alia’s approach towards the running of the affairs of the local government councils has been characterized by contempt for one court order after another, all of them upholding the tenure of the councils duly elected into office before he became governor, and restraining him or any other authority from tampering with the legitimate mandate of those councils which still subsists”.

Chief Iortyom regretted that there was a court order restraining the sacking of the PDP chairmen, the Alia’s administration, on assumption of office allegedly reversed the order over claims of investigating issues of financial impropriety.

“This judgement of the court was not appealed against by the Benue State Government or any of its agents, therefore, the judgement has binding force which is above any authority existing under the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, meaning, that under the protective umbrella of the court judgement, the 23 elected council administrations in Benue State remain validly in office with a recognized mandate which subsists until the stipulated date of expiry.

“However, Governor Alia in flagrant disregard for the orders of the court had gotten the state Assembly to constitute a committee of three members which took less than 24 hours to purport completion of an investigation into the affairs of the 23 local councils, following which same committee recommended and at the same time ordered the suspension of the 23 council chairmen and the entire councils including the legislative arms from office indefinitely.

“All of those orders of court did not deter the Benue State Governor from going ahead in impunity to order the suspension of the duly elected local government council administrations which he has illegally enforced and has put in power at the councils how cronies who are running the affairs of those councils without any form of accountability as is known to law.

“PDP decries this open showing of contempt for the rule of law which is the open preference of Governor Alia in his dealing with the local government tier of administration, as it bodes grave ill for the quest to sustain and deepen constitutional democracy as the lawfully adopted form of government in Nigeria.

“The unilateral and arbitrary decision to appoint local government caretaker committees in the manner the governor has done brazenly violates express provisions of the law on the constitution of government at the third tier of administration, as well as it holds in contempt orders of the law courts which is not only an affront to the judiciary but also a direct attack on the democratic rights of the people of Benue State.

“PDP reminds Governor Hyacinth Alia and the Benue State Government that the judiciary is a fundamental pillar of our democracy, and its decisions must be respected and upheld by all, and the appointment of caretaker committees in open disregard of subsisting court orders is not only illegal but also negates the principles of democratic governance, which he swore on oath to uphold.

“The party puts it to Governor Alia that his conduct towards the third tier of government depicts him as a hypocrite and a demagogue who made the promises for autonomy to that tier merely to hoodwink the unsuspecting Benue electorate and win their votes, and now while in office, it is evident that he does not have that political will he talked about to keep to his promise for autonomy”.

The party urged the governor to reverse what it called “the unjust and unlawful action of appointment of the so-called caretaker committees and to respect the rule of law by obeying the numerous court orders which have validated the tenure and mandate of the elected council administration”.

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