Suspended Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, Mr. Osaro Obazee, has dragged the state governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, to court, arguing that the governor has no power to suspend him as the democratically elected chairman of the council over allegations of diversion and misappropriation of public funds without giving him a fair hearing in accordance with Section 36(1) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended.
The suit before Justice Esohe Ikponmwen of Edo State High Court also has the Attorney- General of the state and Edo State House of Assembly as defendants.
In the suit by his counsel, Mr. Kingsley Obamogie, the claimant wants the court to declare that as the constitutionally elected chairman of Oredo council, he cannot be suspended at the whims and caprices of the governor without regard to the due process of law, especially Sections 7(1) and 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
He wants the court to declare that the governor cannot competently set up a panel of inquiry to investigate alleged diversion and misappropriation of public funds in Oredo council and employment of new staff without the approval of the Edo State Local Service Commission and without giving him fair hearing having already reached a firm conclusion on both issues.
The claimant wants a declaration by the court that the purported acknowledgment of his suspension by the 3rd defendant on October 6, 2015 as Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
The claimant wants the court to set aside the report of any purported panel of inquiry set up by the governor to investigate the allegations against him, insisting that it breached his right to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.
He is praying the court to restrain the defendants, their privies, servants and agents from interfering with his rights as chairman of the council or disturbing the exercise of his powers without due regard to the process of law.
When the case came up for hearing weekend, counsel to the state government, M. M.O Airede, argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit, further contending that it was a matter meant for the National Industrial Court to decide.
However, counsel to the claimant, Kingsley Obamogie, in his reply, argued that the court has jurisdiction over the matter as he was the democratically elected leader and not a labour leader. Meanwhile, the matter was adjourned to January 25, for further hearing.
Credit : Vanguard