By Greg Nwadike
In September 2011, The High Court In Owerri Ruled That Imo Gov. Rochas Okorocha Had No Power To Dissolve The 27 Elected Council Executives In The State Which He Did Via His Statewide Broadcast On June 6th Of Same Year.
Justice Njemanze of the state’s high court then averred That There Was However No Evidence That The Elected Executives Were Dissolved Thereby Prompting The Elected Officers To Go Back To Their Offices.
These chairmen were to meet Shockers when the Governor deployed Thugs, Police, Army, Civil Defence, WAI/Boys/Girls Brigade, Boys Scouts, Man-O-War; in fact everything In Uniform to restrain them from entering their Offices. He Rather Went Ahead That Same Day To Appoint Members Of his so-called Transition Committee to run the affairs of the Councils and thereafter Proceeded To The Court Of Appeal To Challenge The Judgment Of The High Court.
As peace loving and law abiding citizens, these chairmen, the councilors, P.As and S.As resisted the temptation to causing crisis in the state and equally went ahead to ask the Appeal Court to intervene and make a declaratory order.
The Appeal Court Started since That September and Foot dragged With State’s Might, Power and Resources Deployed by Okorocha to Delay Judgment.
Again, On Thursday The 5th Day Of July, 2012, Hon Justice Mojeed Adekunle Owoade, Justice Court Of Appeal Upon Reading The record of Appeal herein ordered as follows:
(i) That pursuant to Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 23(1) of the Local Government Administration Law No. 15 of 2000 (as amended), the 2nd Respondent had no competence or power, either by himself or through any person acting on his behalf to dissolve democratically elected Local Government Councils in Imo state in which the claimants are chairmen, through the 2nd Respondentâ€™s maiden broadcast to Imo people made on 6th June, 2012.
(ii) That pursuant to Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 23(1) of the Local Government Administration Law No. 15 of 2000 (as amended), the 2nd Respondent had no competence or power to set up or constitute Transition Committees to replace the Appellants who were respectively the democratically elected chairmen of the 27 Local Government Councils in Imo state.
(iii) That by virtue of the provisions of section 23(1) of the Local Government Administration Law No.15 of 2000 (as amended), the Appellants have a guaranteed tenure of office as democratically elected chairmen commencing from the date of inauguration on 9th August, 2010.
(iv) That the Appellants are still the democratically elected chairmen of their respective Local Government Councils until their tenure of office expires.
(v) That the 2nd Respondent by himself, his servants, agents, privies or whomsoever are hereby restrained from interfering with the rights and privileges of the Appellants as democratically elected chairmen of the 27 Local Government Councils of the state and or appointing persons or constituting Transition Committees to take over the offices of the Appellants or to replace them until they serve out their tenure.
(vi) There shall be costs of this suit assessed at N100, 000.00 jointly and against the Respondents in favour of the Appelants.
(vii) That there cannot be hearing of the Cross Appeal without Notice of the Cross Appeal
(viii) That the court cannot delve into the substance of the Cross Appeal as it lacks competence and jurisdiction to do so.
(ix) That the purported Cross Appeal is accordingly struck out
(x) That there is no order as to costs in the Cross Appeal
This two-page order and 58-page judgment was read and subsequently delivered to relevant agencies including the Imo governor and his team of lawyers by the Appeal Courtâ€™s agents. And again, Gov. Okorocha deployed soldiers, police men and his thugs to take over the councils. He openly announced via a radio broadcast the dissolution of his Transition Committee and privately called on the members to remain in office.
As at the time of this post, the Imo Governor is alleged to have spent close to N1.2b of the state fund in bribing virtually everyone in position to effect compliance of the courtâ€™s order, including the police, the PDP national headquarters, the media and even some members of the judiciary.
He had also jetted out for the United States leaving the state stagnant and ever confused.
While this is not intended to wipe up sympathy for any political party in particular, it is pertinent to state that for the nation to make progress, Rule of Law and respect for the courts should be paramount to the psyche of our leaders. Any leader known to be exhibiting high level of executive recklessness and brigandry is certainly not fit and sound enough to be a leader in the new Nigeria generation. As the media has become daily awashed with propaganda on the utopian transformation by Owelle Rochas Okorocha in Imo state, some of us who truly desire positive change in the state would beg to disagree and tell the world that a huge crime is going on in Imo. Unfortunately, Imolites are currently ashamed and lack the face to cry out because they are getting what they want.
To be fair to the Governor, he has the dream to see Imo as his Eldorado but lacks the intelligence to understand that dreams are not the same thing as reality. His impracticable decisions and staccato policies in Imo since he assumed office have left Imo state worse confused as a state than ever. In Imo today, what we have is semblance of work going on but in actual fact, nothing is happening as the contractors he awarded jobs in middle of the roads had all abandoned their projects when they discovered they were simply used by the governor during his court days with the PDP.
No due process, no accountability, no respect to court orders, demolition without compensation, high taxation on virtually everything, lies, deceit and propaganda, free education in theory with obnoxious taxes, N20, 000 minimum wage in theory with deduction of N11, 000; university free education fading away, Concorde Hotel and Adapalm mortgaged to Roche Consortium â€“ his company, every road damaged and abandoned by angry unpaid contractors, Traditional Rulers on rampage over policy to elect them, Communities in chaos, etc.
Who is fooling who?
While we hope that the Emperor in Imo state would one day come to his senses that running a foundation is not as same as running a state, I wish to enjoin him to please obey the courtâ€™s ruling on the elected Council executives as this continued naked dance in public would soon expose the dangling tail in between your thighs; a situation that would soil negatively your image and ambition to be the President of â€œNigeriaâ€ which you are seeking. No law breaker can be President of this country!
GREG NWADIKE IS THE CORDINATOR, SAVE IMO GROUP (SIG)