Governor David Nweze Umahi, of Ebonyi state appears bent on swearing-in the newly elected council chairmen and councilors in the state despite a Federal High Court ruling voiding the exercise.
Recall that the State House of Assembly had passed a legislation reducing the tenure of the elected council officials from three to two years.
Subsequently, some members of the legislature elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenged the action of the House of Assembly in court in suit no FHC/AIICS/151/2022.
Mr. Otu Collins, and four others acting as plaintiffs in the matter through their counsel, argued that the tenure of the present chairmen and councilors had not expired, explaining that they were elected to serve for three years.
However, the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) went ahead to conduct the elections with candidates of the ruling the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the state winning all the positions.
But the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) went ahead to conduct the elections with candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) in the state winning all the positions.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki has quashed the elections on the ground that the tenure of the present chairmen and councillors will expire next year,
Justice Fatun Riman, in his ruling on the matter declared that “the tenure of office of Chairmen and Councilors in Local Governments of Ebonyi State is three years, and that the tenure of the present crop of Chairmen and Councilors in Ebonyi State will expire in August 2023.”
He further restrained the state government from appointing caretaker chairmen or caretaker committees to run the affairs of the councils.
That notwithstanding, the state government says the newly elected council officials would be inaugurated tomorrow.
The Chairman of APC in Ebonyi State, Stanley Emegha, insists that the newly elected council officials must be inaugurated as earlier scheduled.
He said: “In view of the successful conduct of Council polls in Ebonyi State on the 30th of July, 2022, the National and Zonal Leadership of the All Progressives Congress, other stakeholders, as well as the general public, are cordially invited to witness the epoch-making event which will signify a new era that will consolidate the giant developmental strides of our Governor, Chief David Umahi.”
“It is also gratifying to use this opportunity again to congratulate the newly elected Chairmen of the 13 local government Areas and 171 wards’ councilors as well as our great party, APC for sweeping the polls overwhelmingly,” he added.
Mr. Emegha announced that the inauguration would be held by 10 am, at the Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium, Abakakili, Ebonyi State.
Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information and state Orientation Uchenna Orji, also argued that the ruling did not annul the Local Government election, as according to him, the court did not order a stop to the swearing-in.