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Friday, May 24, 2024

ALGON’S leadership battle against Lagos LCDA Chairman, Alabi shifts to Appeal Court

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The Incorporated Trustees of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) has shifted the leadership tussle of the association involving the former Chairman of Bariga LCDA, Kolade Alabi to the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The Trustees have filed an appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, which declined to nullify the Kolade Alabi-led leadership of the association.

The BoT, in another motion, also sought a stay of execution of the judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court on Friday 19th of April 2024.

Justice Ekwo, in the judgment had declined jurisdiction to determine whether the immediate-past President of ALGON, Alabi, was qualified to hold office.

The association had last year dragged Alabi and seven others to court on the grounds that he was not qualified to be president having not emerged from one of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country.

In their originating summons filed by Bartholomew Opara, they maintained that Alabi is not eligible to be ALGON president as he was not a local government chairman as contemplated by the 1999 Constitution, the Constitution of ALGON and a Supreme Court decision which had touched on the dispute.

Opara contended in his process that Alabi had been removed by ALGON’s National Executive Council in 2019 but he kept parading himself as president.

He therefore urged Justice Ekwo to uphold the removal of Alabi by NEC and perpetually restrain him from further parading as such, among other reliefs.

However, delivering judgment in the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2023, Justice Ekwo dismissed the suit for want of jurisdiction.

According to the Judge, the subject matter of the case and claims of the applicants are matters that the ALGON, by its general assembly and by applying the provisions of its constitution, can resolve.

However, dissatisfied with the high court judgment, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal and also an application seeking a stay of the judgment pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

The appeal is predicated on two grounds wherein the appellants argued that, “the trial judge erred in law when he delivered judgment marred with outdated technicality in law and lack of fair hearing to all parties in the suit”.

They also claimed that the judge erred in law when he delivered his judgment not in accordance with the provisions of Section 36 (1) of the Constitution.

The appellants’ lawyer, Opara, who spoke with journalists in Abuja shortly after filing the two motions, said: “On the judgment, Kolade was the 8th defendant, the dismissal was based on the 8th defendant.

“Meanwhile the 1st defendant is Ministry of Finance, 6th defendant is I-G of Police, 7th defendant is DSS.

“The 1st to 7th defendant did not file a process at the court, but the 8th did. That is not a fair hearing”.

They therefore prayed the Court of Appeal to void and set aside the high court judgment
delivered against the spirit and provisions of Section 36(1) of the Constitution and allow the appeal.

Meanwhile, in the motion on notice, the applicants argued that there is the need to preserve the subject matter of the appeal from being dissipated by the execution of the judgment of the FHC.

Besides they claimed that if the judgment is not stayed and is executed, there is the possibility of rendering the outcome of the appeal nugatory.

Also speaking, the member of ALGON BoT, representing South South, Hon. Ugor Gabriel, who spoke on behalf of the BoT Chairman, Hon. Shaban Ohinoyi, disclosed that they they shifted the leadership tussle to the Court of Appeal because they have a duty to protect the resources of the people.

While recalling that ALGON in 2013, got a judgment against the Federal Government for the refund of $3.1 billion, he accused some leaders of ALGON of conniving with some people to dissipate the funds.

“The ALGON Board of Trustees wishes to make a point that we are not to witch hunt any individual, group or persons or organisations but to ensure the effective management of local government funds in the country.

“The ALGON BoT will continue to uphold the sanctity of the constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria and that of ALGON.

“The ALGON BoT will ensure the office of the President of ALGON and other executive positions are strictly the preservation of elected local government chairmen,” he said.

The BoT Secretary, representing South East, Hon Chukwudi Fred Ezinwa, noted that lots of atrocities were committed ranging from unexecuted projects across the 774 local government areas in the country, with monies being claimed.

He emphasized that a bold step needs to be taken to right the wrongs already committed so as to serve as deterrent to others on the use of non existing companies to carry out nefarious activities.

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