A Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere, yesterday, held that the appointment of caretaker committees over local government administration councils in Lagos State is illegal and unconstitutional.
Justice Abdulfatai Lawal while delivering the judgement in a suit filed by the National Conscience Party, through its lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, ordered LASIEC to conduct elections in all local governments within 30 days.
However, the Lagos State Government has said it would appeal the ruling. In his reaction, the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said the state will file a stay of execution and appeal against it immediately.
The court held that no governor is empowered by the constitution to take over the administration of local governments through sole administrators or caretaker committees.
“I call upon the Lagos State Government to immediately implement the judgment of the court by dismantling all the illegal structures of local government caretaker committees.
“I also call upon all state governments where the local governments are being manned by administrators to conduct elections immediately”, Lawal said.
The court further held that the system of Local Government can only be managed by democratically elected people and if the state House of Assembly should make any laws validating sole administrators for local government, such law will be invalid and unconstitutional.
The court also ruled that the Lagos State Local Government law which allows the appointment of caretaker committees, as illegal and unconstitutional.
According to the court it states that section 1(3) of the constitution stipulates that Nigeria should not be run in any manner that is contrary to the constitution.
The court rejected the argument of LAISEC that it was waiting for voters register from INEC since the same voters register and polling booths were used for the April, 2015 elections.
Consequently, Justice Lawal directed LASIEC to conduct elections in all the local governments within 30 days.
Adegboruwa commended the judge for his manifest courage, adding that this “ has once again proved that the Nigerian Judiciary has been the sustainer of our democracy”.
The applicant, National Conscience Party, through its National General Secretary, Comrade Ayodele Akele, had filed the action for a declaration that the local governments in Lagos State can only be run and managed by a democratically elected administration.
The party had sought for an order directing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to supply voters register to Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission.