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Ex-Oyo APC council chairmen return to court

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•Over Makinde’s refusal to pay N6b for wrongful sack

The sacked local government chairmen and councillors in Oyo State, who were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), are on their way to court to compel Governor Seyi Makinde to pay them the balance of N6 billion ordered by the Supreme Court.

They were sacked by Makinde just two hours after his swearing-in on May 29, 2019, citing illegality of their election. He said his predecessor, the late Abiola Ajimobi, should not have conducted election into the 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the May 2018 election that produced them.

Makinde said the constitution recognised only the 33 local governments in the state, stressing that an election into the LCDAs rendered their election null and void.

But the sacked chairmen sought a legal redress up to the Supreme Court.

In a judgment on May 7 last year, however, the Supreme Court nullified  their sack, saying no elected official could be sacked by the fiat of another elected official.The apex court described Makinde’s action as executive recklessness and directed the governor to pay the sacked officials their total salaries and entitlements for the remaining two years of their tenure, and additional 10 months salaries as a special penalty for his action. The sum totalled N7 billion, according to the politicians.  The court gave the governor till August 7, 2021 to implement the judgment.

Since then, Makinde has paid only N1 billion of the sum, with a promise to pay the balance on instalments, the former chairmen said.

The sacked council members were elected in May 2018 for a three-year tenure, but were sacked after only one year in office.

Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, said: “Oyo State Government has complied with the judgment, which says the state government should compute what is due to them and pay them.

“The government paid the first instalment after which they started raising issues about the total figure, which is at variance with what the judgment said. The judgment said the state government should compute the figure. The government did and started paying. After the payment of the first instalment, they came up with a different figure altogether, meaning that they did not agree with the government’s figure. This is where the dispute is; and this is what is stalling progress on it.

“The government has shown goodwill by beginning payment of their entitlements. However, the government is not opposed to discussions with them.”

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