Senators on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, on Friday joined the opposition parties in the upper house to move against one of its governors, Hyacinth Alia, of Benue State over what they called “arbitrary dissolution of local government councils” warning him against “damaging democracy.”
Moro, who recently emerged as the Minority Leader on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said allowing his governor to see to the dissolution of “democratically elected local government councils” will strengthen attacks on the constitution as the grundnorm.
He argued that since the constitution is the fons et origo, dissolution of LGAs has not been provided in it to empower the Benue Governor or other state governors from dissolving them.
Former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, (APC Edo North) in supporting the motion condemned the governor saying, “I stand here to support the spirit and letters of the motion. If it is wrong it is wrong.
“I think it is clear the Supreme Court of the land besides the express provision of the Constitution…we can be accused of being lawmakers but not judges but the highest court of the land has pronounced time and time again that governors do not have powers either to dissolve an elected council nor do they have powers to appropriate and spend money in the name of the local governments.
“Each time we turn the other way, we inflict huge damage to the fabric of our democracy.
“I thought that I should stand up because I am not in the PDP but this is not about partisanship. If it wrong it is wrong.
“I was a governor. I was elected and I met the caretaker councils in place even though it was clear that these caretakers were rigged into office, but since it was regularised by the courts, we accepted to live with it until we can improve the system.
“So I had to live with elected local government chairmen who were from another political party until their tenure was exhausted. I resisted all pressures from my party leaders to dissolve them. Because if one can dissolve the other, we too can be dissolved.
“We all have a shared responsibility to defend the core principles and values of democracy.
“Governors are executive but those elected people have executive chairmen, they also have executive powers within the provision of the Nigerian constitution.
“I think it is time this Senate lends its voice and forcefully persuade the minister of finance that wherever there’s no democratically elected council chairmen, monies due to those councils should not be released to the arms of government that does not exist.
“When we do that, that will be a great amour against governors with those directorial tendencies. It doesn’t matter which party they come from, this Senate must stand for democracy regardless of party affiliation.”
Senator Ali Ndume, (APC-Borno South) in his contribution supporting the motion said, “This is a very serious threat to democracy.”