All 27 Imo council chairmen and councillors who were sacked by former Governor Emeka Ihedioha and reinstated by an Owerri Federal High Court have pledged support and loyalty to Governor Hope Uzodinma if the state government obeys the court order.
The affected officials, who had their mandates restored by Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim on Wednesday, are asking for their immediate reinstatement, urging Governor Uzodinma to respect the judgment since he is a beneficiary of a similar ruling by the Supreme Court that sacked Ihedioha on January 14, 2020.
“With the Federal High Court judgement, we expect the governor, being a frontline beneficiary of an earlier ruling, to obey the verdict, especially as we belong to the same political party.
“We pledge our loyalty and support to the governor. We shall join hands with him to give Imo people good and responsible leadership. We shall cooperate with him in the overall interest of the state and its people,” they said.
In a statement issued by the state Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Obidigbo Emeka Osuorji, the council chiefs said the judiciary had been of immense benefit to the nation’s democracy, describing it as a “strong pillar on which democracy stands.”
They stressed that it was instructive that Justice Ringim also ordered that the elected chairmen and councilors should resume duties immediately, describing the chairmen and members of Uzodinma’s constituted Interim Management Committee (IMC) as illegal occupants of the councils.
“The judge also directed that the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) should stop releasing local government funds in Imo State until the elected chairmen and councilors in whose favour the judgement was given, have taken charge at the councils,” the statement added.
They argued that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had earlier written Governor Uzodinma to allow them stay in office, saying the AGF’s admonition fell on deaf ears.
However, the Imo State Government has berated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for rejoicing over the judgment, stressing that it was not Uzodinma that dissolved the councils’ executives. Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Print Media (Local), Modestus Nwankpa, stated this on his Facebook wall yesterday.