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    Ebonyi govt set to inaugurate new council Chairmen, Councilors despite Court judgement nullifying Polls

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    By David Akpu, Abakaliki

    Despite the Federal High Court judgement nullifying the July 30th Local Government Council elections in Ebonyi State, the State government has perfected plans to hold the swearing-in of the elected Council Chairmen and Counsellors, on 1st September, 2022.

    Recall that the Abakaliki division of the Federal High Court, presided by Justice Fatun Riman, had on Thursday, August, 25, 2022, declared the conduct of the state’s council elections, as unlawful and undemocratic.

    The judgment is sequel to a suit no.FHC/AI/CS/151/2022, filed by one Otu Collins Eleri and three others, challenging the conduct of the council elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission, Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission, and government of Ebonyi State were listed as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the suit.

    The court among other pronouncements, ruled that the elections contravened section 150 of the Electoral Act, 2022, maintaining that the tenure of the incumbent council chairmen and councilors, can’t be truncated as it ought to expire when they clock three years in office next year, 2023.

    But curiously, the State government is going ahead with the swearing-in of the new elected officials of the council areas billed for 1st September, and every preparation, it was gathered, is on top gear.

    This is even when the judgement nullifying the elections had neither been Appealed nor a stay of execution secured, by the State government, as of the time of filing this report.

    The incumbent Council Chairmen of the State expected to handover to the newly elected Council Chairmen, have been reportedly directed to resign by the State Governor, apparently to ensure that nothing truncates the planned inauguration of the new LG Officials.

    The Council Chairmen have reliably resigned from their offices, as directed by the Governor.

    Just like the Chairmen, the Councillors of the 171 wards of the State, it was gathered, have also been directed to resign, but as of the time of filing this report, it was learnt that most of the Councillors refused to resign and have gone into hiding, apparently to avoid being forced to do so.

    A Statement by the 171 ward Councilors in the state, at the weekend, which was signed by their leaders,drawn from the three zones of the State, said they were in support of the court judgement and urged the State government to accept it in good fate.

    The State APC chairmen, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha, have issued a statement inviting the general public to the swearing-in ceremony, saying that the event would take place at Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium on 1st September, 2022, by 10a.m.

    The Statement which was obtained by our Correspondent, on Tuesday, said the epoch-making event which would signify a new era that would consolidate on the giant developmental strides of the Governor.

    The statement further congratulated the 13 local government Areas’ Chairmen, and 171 wards’ councillors elect as well as our great party, APC for sweeping the council polls.

    Emegha statement reads:”In view of the successful conduct of Council polls in Ebonyi State on the 30th of July 2022, the National and Zonal Leadership of the All Progressives Congress APC, other Stakehlolders as well as the General public are cordially invited to witness the epoch-making event which will signify a new era that will consolidate on the giant developmental strides of our Governor, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi.

    “It is also gratifying to use this opportunity again to congratulate the 13 local government Areas’ Chairmen, and 171 wards’ councillors elect as well as our great party, APC for sweeping the polls overwhelmingly.”

    The legal logjam in Ebonyi State Local Government Administration, became inevitable following the law enacted by the State House of Assembly and assented by the Governor, which reduced the tenures of the elected Council officials in the state to two years.END//

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