The Federal Government on Tuesday asked Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to reinstate chairmen of the 27 local governments in the state whom he sacked upon assumption of office in May 2011.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, who issued the call in a statement in Abuja, urged the governor to give full effect to the July 4, 2012 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Owerri which declared their removal as illegal and unconstitutional.
Okorocha had in his inaugural address to Imo State citizens, sacked the council bosses, who were elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party during the administration of the former governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim.
In their place, Okorocha appointed transitional committee chairmen, comprising APGA loyalists, to run the 27 local government areas in the state.
The council chairmen went to court to challenge their removal from office, arguing that the governor had no constitutional power to sack them, and in its decision on July 4, 2012, the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, ordered Okorocha to reinstate the council chairmen and councillors he sacked.
However, the governor is yet to comply with the order.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the lingering controversy that has trailed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Judicial Division in Appeal No. CA/OW/215/2011, Barr Enyinna Onuegbu & 26 Ors v. Attorney General of Imo State & 3 Ors dated 5th July 2012 which declared as illegal and unconstitutional the action of the Governor of Imo State, purporting to dissolve the democratically elected Local Government Councils in the State before the expiration of their constitutionally guaranteed tenure.
“It is apposite to note that Section 7 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, guarantees the existence of a system of democratically elected Local Government Councils throughout the federation.
“The judgment of the Court of Appeal aforementioned has only confirmed this position.
“I therefore call on all concerned to respect the judgment of the Court of Appeal and give due regard to the provisions of the Constitution which all elected officials of government have sworn to uphold.
“This will not only inspire confidence in the polity but will also deepen our fledgling democracy.
“In the light of the foregoing and in consonance with this administration’s avowed commitment to the enthronement of the rule of law in the federation, I hereby call on Imo State Government and all relevant agencies of government to abide by the judgment of the Court of Appeal and ensure that the judgment of the Court of Appeal is given its full effect.”