Dr. Umar Ardo
The so-called law passed by the Adamawa State House of Assembly and assented to by Governor Ahmed Umaru Fintiri under which the Adamawa State Government constituted the so-called Local Governments Transition Committees is unconstitutional and unlawful.
Section 7(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) stipulates as follows:-
“The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the Government of every State shall, subject to section 8 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils”.
However, instead of the Adamawa State Government to ensure a democratically elected government for the Local Government Councils it enacted a “law” that fostered on our people appointed cronies. But, to all intents and purposes, the unambiguous provision of the Nigerian constitution renders both the so-called law and the concomitant Transitional Committees illegal and illegitimate. Nigerian constitution does not contemplate for an un-elective councils in the Local Governments; not even for a single day! What the state government therefore did is simply to manipulate the Local Government system by aborting democratic governance, denying elections and imposing an illegitimate regime of caretaker administration; usurping the statutory functions of local governments to plunder their resources and establish unmerited political hold in the Local Government Areas. This is either a clear act of impunity by the state government against the constitution and rule of law, and against the lawful rights of the Adamawa people to elect their governments at the local level; or a demonstration of ignorance of the law by both the members of the state legislature and executive or both.
Furthermore, from the viewpoint of the PDP Constitution, the act of the state government has neutralized the existence of the local government chapter of the party. Section 45(2,4), Section 47(6) and Section 48(1)(k) of the PDP Constitution 2017 (as amended) have made my assertion abundantly clear. By the combined interpretation of these provisions there ceased to be any Local Govt. Working Committee of the party throughout Adamawa State from the moment the so-called Caretaker Transition Committee was sworn in. And given that Section 47(6) of the party’s constitution provides: “where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the party, the Executive Committee at the appropriate level shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated from to serve out the tenure of the officer”, means that the deputies of the appointed officers cannot automatically take over because none of them came from the same areas with their superiors. Also, since virtually all members of the party’s local government working committees have been appointed, there is therefore no Local Government Executive Committees to meet and appoint their replacements. Actually, these unconstitutional appointments have practically put PDP in Adamawa State in a cul-de-sac; the only resolution is conducting immediate congresses to elect Local Government exco.
All these are serious unconstitutional acts of disservice being fostered on the good people of Adamawa state. Adamawa state and people deserve a better deal from a government that just came into being. Politically, it was thought that such brazen acts of unconstitutionality and impunity would not be employed by a popularly elected regime that promised “fresh air” to the people. It was thought that these ugly days were over. Alas, by these grievous acts of impunity, it is clear that Adamawa people will have to wait for a long time to have a breath of “fresh air”. I hope they won’t suffocate by then.