Court voids Ekiti State’s relocation of local council headquarters
A state High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, has described the proclamation made by the state government to relocate the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Council from Iye-Ekiti to Eda-Oniyo as executive rascality.
The state government, through the Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, had on Monday made a proclamation announcing the relocation of the headquarters to Eda-Oniyo, citing the December 14, 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court as reason for taking the decision.
Ruling on the application by the claimant (Iye-Ekiti) yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Adesodun, said the first and second respondents should have waited for determination of the suit before the court before making the proclamation.
Justice Adesodun described the decision of the government as an act of “executive rascality and self-help,” adding that status quo should be maintained pending the final determination of the case.
Counsel to the applicant, Taiwo Kupolati, while making his final address, argued that the decision of the government contravened the Local Government Administration Law of 1999, which recognised Iye-Ekiti as the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Council.
Kupolati said the community was not joined in the suit leading to the judgment of the Supreme Court, noting that there was no statute backing the proclamation of the government on the relocation.
He, therefore, urged the court to enforce the right of the claimant and save the state from what he described as “absolute recklessness.”
But counsel to the first (state government) and second (Attorney General) respondents, Yetunde Kolawole, said that the state government made the proclamation based on the verdict of the Supreme Court, adding that it would amount to contempt of court for the state government to jettison the decision of the apex court in the country.
On his part, counsel to the third respondent (Eda-Oniyo Ekiti), Deji Adetifa, argued that the court could not go against the judgment of the Supreme Court, disclosing that the law recognised hierarchy of court.
He said that the claimant should have approached the Supreme Court if it had any grievance on the ruling and not the high court, urging the court to dismiss the suit with huge cost against the claimants.
“Assuming without conceding that the claimant has genuine grievances against the Supreme Court ruling, the appropriate thing is to go back to the apex court for review and not this court.
“Coming here is a wrong place and we want the court to decline the invitation to embark on judicial rascality,” Adetifa said.
Justice Adesodun, however, fixed November 19, 2019, for judgment on the case.