An Enugu based lawyer, Barr Kelechi Chukwu, has sued Governor David Umahi, over his appointment of caretaker Chairmen in the 13 local government areas of the state.
The legal practitioner who hails from Onicha local Government area of the State in the suit number HAB/90/2030, demanded the nullification of the appointment of the committee chairmen.
And prayed the court should compel the caretaker chairmen to refund all the allocations received while serving as caretaker, as it is illegal.
Defendants in the Suit are: the State Governor (1st Defendant), the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State (2nd Defendant), the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly (3rd Defendant), the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (4th Defendant) as well as the newly appointed 13 Caretaker Chairmen of the 13 local government areas in the state.
It would be recalled that Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission, had fixed April 25, 2020 for the conduct of the local government election in the state but the state government postponed the election indefinitely as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As the tenure of the chairmen expired on may 29, the Governor appointed caretaker committee.
He also prayed the court to direct Governor Umahi and the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) to immediately conduct election for chairmanship and councillorship positions in the 13 local government councils in the state.
Meanwhile, the House of Assembly had passed the Coronavirus and other Infectious Diseases Law which empowered the Governor to appoint caretaker committee Chairmen to run the councils pending when elections will be conducted.
The Caretaker Chairmen were sworn in on May 29, at the expiration of the tenure of the elected Council Chairmen.
Barr. Chukwu, in the originating summons to the suit, argued that appointment of Caretaker Chairmen into the 13 Local Government Councils of Ebonyi State by the Governor of Ebonyi State (the 1st Defendant), instead of conducting elections to democratically elect those who will occupy the positions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is in total breach of the Constitution.
He maintained that the State Assembly has no power to make any law empowering the Governor to appoint caretaker committee chairmen into the Local Government Councils or to approve such appointments.
Arguing that the Caretaker Chairmen are illegally occupying the said positions which is in contravention of the constitution.
He prayed the Court to set aside section 26 of the Covid 19 law of Ebonyi state that purportedly empowers the Governor to appoint caretaker committee chairmen to the local Government councils in the state.
Barr. Chukwu prayed the court to restrain the 13 Caretaker Chairmen perpetually from parading themselves as Chairmen or from running the affairs of the Councils.
The matter is coming for hearing at the State High Court on September 21, before the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State, Anselem Nwigwe.