Barely two months to the end of his tenure, a legal practitioner, Chijioke Ifediora and others have dragged the Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, to court over local government funds and appointments.
Other defendants in the case are the Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission and the Attorney General of the state.
Suit number A/454/2021 seeking an interlocutory injunction against the defendants was filed before Justice Nwabunike of the state High Court 5 Awka on the 1st of December 2021 has been scheduled for hearing on 10th of February, 2022.
Ifediora and other plaintiffs in the case are seeking amongst other things an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 1st ( Obiano) and 3rd Defendants ( Speaker Anambra State House of Assembly) from appointing/ratifying the appointment of Transition/ Caretaker Committees in all the 21 local government areas in Anambra State pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The suit is also seeking an order of the court restraining the 1st, 2nd ( Anambra State Electoral Commission)and 3rd defendants from taking any actions whatsoever directly or indirectly either through themselves or their agents, privies or appointed officers or issuing circulars/memos that will interfere/affect the determination of the suit excluding conduct of local government election as constitutionally guaranteed in the 21 local governments in Anambra State.
The plaintiffs also want the court to restrain the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants from taking any actions whatsoever directly indirectly either through themselves or their agents, privies or appointed officers; issuing circulars/memos that will tamper/affect/appropriate the local government funds monthly/ quarterly allocated by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the 21 Local Governments in Anambra without the direction/order of the court pending the determination of the substantive suit or such order(s) the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of the application.
The plaintiffs in their application argued that the substantive suit raises constitutional issues for determination, adding that the continued local government allocation by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendant will prejudice the case and make a mockery of the judicial proceedings as the Administrative activities of the 21 local governments will not be affected by the order except the illegal appointment of transition caretaker committees.
They also want the court to determine Considering the provisions of section 7(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999(as amended) and section 208 of the Anambra State Local Government Law, 1999(as amended) whether the 1st and 3rd defendants’ actions in constituting Transition/Caretaker Committees to oversee the affairs of Local Government Areas are not unconstitutional and illegal.
The plaintiffs further sought A declaration that the perpetual renewal of Caretaker/Transition Committee by virtue of section 208 of the Anambra State Local Government Law,1999(as amended), which provides for three months renewal in perpetuity of Caretaker/Transition Committees to oversee the affairs of Local Government Areas and carry out the functions of Local Government Council unconstitutional and illegal.
worthy of note is that the last local government election in the state was conducted in January 2014 by the then out going governor Peter Obi.