The sacked council chairmen in Oyo State under the aegis of Association of Local Government of Nigeria(ALGON), have rejected an out-of-court arrangement offer made by the state government that will see the government pay them off in the ongoing litigations over their sack.
They chairmen described the offer as ‘unacceptable.”
The government legal team had made the offer in writing to them as its own condition to settle out-of-court.
The chairmen were elected and sworn in on May 12, 2018 but Governor Seyi Makinde announced their sack only two hours after he was sworn in on May 29 last year. The sacked chairmen sued the governor for contempt of court having earlier secured a high court judgement which restrained the governor and the House of Assembly from sacking them before the end of their tenure.
The governor, however, appealed against the judgement and later appointed caretaker chairmen in December last year while the appeal was being heard.
In response, the chairmen and their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) petitioned the Presidency, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Inspector General of Police over what they called ‘injustice’ meted out to them.
The AGF advised the governor to obey a Supreme Court judgement which held that governors and houses of assembly have no right to sack elected local government councils. When the state government ignored the advice, the AGF directed the IGP to ensure reinstatement of the elected council executives.
In response, the state government approached the court and obtained an order restraining the sacked chairmen from forcefully returning to office. After a hearing, the state government indicated willingness to settle out-of-court.
The chairmen came up with settlement terms but the state government had none. On returning to another meeting last week, the government legal team came up with the offer to pay the elected council members off for the remaining two years of their tenure.
But on Friday, ALGON rejected the offer in its position paper, saying receiving a pay-out for the rest of their tenure will amount to a disservice to the people of their various local governments and local council development areas (LCDA) and the entire people of Oyo State “to collect financial compensation as proposed in lieu of our constitutionally guaranteed tenure.”
They added that accepting calculated salary and severance allowance will amount to aiding the breach of the constitution and may also lead to violation of the anti-corruption laws since their tenure is not yet over.
While appreciating Makinde for eventually acknowledging their mandate as having been democratically elected, ALGON said it would not oppose appointment of supervisory councillors and liaison officers for each local government who will work with them to complete their tenure in the interest of the entire state and the growth of democracy.