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ALGON BoT appeals judgement refusing to void Kolade Alabi’s leadership

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The Incorporated Trustees of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) has appealed the judgement of a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, which decline to nullify the Kolade Alabi-led leadership of the association.

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

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

According to Ekwo, 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.

Dissatisfied, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal and also an application seeking a stay of the judgement pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

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wherein the appellants argued that, “the learned trial judge erred in law when he delivered judgement marred with outdated technicality in law and lack of fair hearing to all parties in the suit”.

They also claimed that the learned trial judge erred in law when he delivered his judgement 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 judgement, 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 appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside part of the lower court’s judgment delivered allegedly not in compliance with Section 36(1) of the Constitution.

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 judgement is not stayed and the judgement 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 themselves and the entire citizenry have a duty to protect the resources of the people.

While recalling that ALGON in 2013, got a judgement 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 wish to inform the general public that we are not here to witch hunt any individual, group or persons nor 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 unexpected 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 by Kolade Alabi, so as to serve as deterrent to others who may want to use non existing companies and ungodly means to syphon the wealth of the nation.

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