Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan on Tuesday ordered a stay of execution on a motion seeking to enforce the May 6 judgement obtained by the removed Local Government Chairmen in the state, before their eventual sack on May 29, 2019.
The May 6 judgement, delivered by Justice Aderonke Aderemi, prevented the Oyo State government, the executive governor, the House of Assembly or any of its agent from removing Local Government(LG) and Local Council Government Development Area (LCDA) chairmen and councilors from office.
But the state governor on May 29, immediately after his inauguration, ordered the dissolution of the local councils, effectively sacking the chairmen whom he claimed were illegally constituted.
The sacked chairmen, under the aegis of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State Chapter, then went on to file a motion seeking to enforce the judgement, saying the governor is planning to appoint caretaker chairmen for the dissolved local councils.
The Oyo State government however launched an appeal against the May 6 judgement.
Ruling on Tuesday, Justice Ladiran Akintola struck out the motion brought by the LgG bosses for lack of diligent prosecution, saying that since the state government has appealed the judegment, it would be an abuse of court processes.
His words: “I am satisfied with the defendants application and I hereby grant the motion of notice of appeal of the defendant.
“I hereby granted the stay of execution of the judgement, enforcing the judgement, giving effect to the judgement by the claimants or their privies.”
Counsel to ALGON, Barrister Kunle Sobaloju, was absent at Tuesday’s proceedings and was not represented in court. But in a letter sent to the court, he asked for an adjournment of the case to October 10 and also filed a counter affidavit against the resolution of the House of Assembly on July 9, which supported the governor’s action.
But the lead counsel to the defendants, Barrister Adeniyi Farinto opposed the application and urged the court to reject the letter and the counter affidavit.
He said: “The letter of extension has exposed the evil machinations of the claimants.
“What they did is to exhibit disdain for the court, such application is laden with malice.
“They want to frustrate the defendants and the court. This application was done in bad faith.
“This application for adjournment is the most frivolous one I have ever seen in my legal career. It is an attempt to frustrate the defendants in this case and we oppose the motion for adjournment vehemently.”
Justice Akintola agreed with the position of the the defendants and struck out the application and the counter affidavit.
“Having carefully considered the letter of the claimants and the motion sought by the defendants, I am not persuaded that this court should give the adjournment sought by the claimants through their counsel.
“Giving the antecedent to the adjournment date, the letter is a deliberate ploy to delay the process of this case.
“The court views this as a deliberate attempt to frustrate the proceedings of this court. The adjournment sought by the claimants is hereby refused.”
One of the claimants, Basorun Bosun Ajuwon who spoke on behalf of ALGON, when probed by Justice Akintola if he has anything to say since their lawyer was not present in court, appealed for adjourment, saying “our lawyer is handling a tribunal case and election petition is time bound. We are appealing to you to give us some time.”
Justice Akintola, however, adjourned the case till October 15 for hearing.