The Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has faulted a recent court judgment which sacked the caretaker chairmen in all the local government areas in the state.
The 31 local governments in the state have been run for about two years now by chairpersons handpicked by Mr. Emmanuel.
A State High Court at the Abak Judicial Division presided by Justice Ezekiel Enang declared on Tuesday that the setting up of the caretaker committees was unlawful because there were no provisions for such within the Nigerian Constitution.
The court accordingly ordered Mr. Emmanuel to dissolve the caretaker committees immediately.
The state government, as reported earlier by PREMIUM TIMES, said they were appealing the judgment.
But Governor Emmanuel, through a statement issued on Friday by his spokesperson, Ekerete Udoh, said, “An exercise lawfully executed by the governor pursuant to extant laws of the land cannot be considered unconstitutional.
“The Constitution of the Transition Councils by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel was a lawful exercise that was properly done in accordance with the extant laws made by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly pursuant to the powers vested in Section 7 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended,” the governor said, adding that “the councils have not been dissolved, contrary to the rumours being peddled”.
The suit against the state government was instituted by a lawyer, Nsikak Akai of the Nsikak Akai and Associates, Abak.
Mr. Akai told PREMIUM TIMES that the court judgment was a victory for democracy and the people of the state.
“For once, Akwa Ibom people can hold their governor to account subsequently whenever a governor intends to or even contemplate appointing caretaker committees in the state,” Mr. Akai said.
“The grievance we had was that the persons that were being appointed as caretakers were only answerable to their benefactors who see them as stooges, while the people bear the brunt.
“Once we have elected representatives at the grassroots level, then we can hold them to account,” he said.