The Court of Appeal in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, has ruled that the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, lacked the constitutional powers to sack elected local government chairmen and councilors. The court ruled on a matter brought before it by chairmen of the 16 local government areas who were elected during the tenure of the former governor, Mr Segun Oni, in 2008.
The chairmen were sacked on October 29, 2010, few weeks after Fayemi assumed office on October 16 of the same year. In a unanimous judgment read by Justice Olukayode Bada, the Court of Appeal also ordered Fayemi to pay all the entitlements and allowances of the chairmen and councilors from October 29, 2010 to December 19, 2011 when their three-year term would have expired.
Early on, Justice Cornelius Akintayo of an Ado-Ekiti High court had held that the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) that organised the election that brought the chairmen and councillors to office was not properly constituted and, therefore, dismissed their application.
However, the court of appeal held that Justice Akintayo erred, as what he ruled on was not the case before the lower court, pointing out that the constitutionality or otherwise of the sack of the elected chairmen and councilors by the state governor was the issue in contention. According to the court, that the appellants were elected into office was not in contention and that they were relieved of their positions through a radio announcement was also not in contention, but whether Fayemi had the powers to sack them or not was the matter for determination.