The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) has ordered the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, to pay over N234 million to chairmen and members of statutory commissions appointed and sworn into office by former Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Fayose sacked members of the State Independent National Electoral Commission (SIEC), Civil Service Commission (CSC), House of Assembly Service Commission (HASC) and Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) on assumption of office in October 2014, when their tenures were still subsisting.
The affected officials through their lawyers, led by Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) approached the court to reverse their unlawful sack and reinstate them into the Commissions.
The Claimants anchored their prayers on grounds that the tenure of their appointment is statutory.
The Court however gave the verdict while delivering judgment in separate suits filed by the sacked members of the commissions against the Governor of Ekiti State and the Attorney General of Ekiti State.
Delivering a judgment on Monday, Justice Oyeyibola Oyewumi, ordered Fayose to pay the plaintiffs a total sum of N234, 010, 982.24 for terminating their appointments on October 20, 2014.
Justice Oyewumi held: “It is trite that where an appointment of an employee is terminated outside the specified terms of agreement or specified terms of agreement or specified period, such a termination will be seen wrongful or unlawful as the case may be.
“It is upon this basis that I find that dissolution of these Commissions and removal of their chairmen and members by the first defendant (Fayose) is an act of executive recklessness, executive rascality, a grave disregard to the Governor’s Oath of Office which he sworn to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The action of the first defendant in this case leaves a sour taste in the mouth. A grotesque galore, which, cannot, and should not, be allowed to stand in the way of justice.
“It is noteworthy that it has become fashionable for Governors today, that they take over the affairs of a state, the first cause of action is for them to dissolve government boards both statutory and otherwise for them to fix into such positions their political gladiators;
“Thereby disregarding/discountenancing the constitutional procedure for doing so. This to say the least, is most unpatriotic and should not go unsanctioned.
“It is therefore, declared that mere announcement of the dissolution of the offices of the claimants on the electronic media is a breach of Constitutional trust, it is therefore declared null, void and of no effect. I so find and hold.”
The Judge, however, refused the Claimants’ prayers for perpetual injunction restraining the Governor or his agents from forcefully withdrawing the monetized vehicles from them.
The plaintiffs are: Mrs Cecilia Adelusi, Chief Gbenga Agbona, Chief O.K. Aina, Mr. Dele Oloje of SIEC; Chief Ranti Adebisi, Chief Reuben Akomolafe, Princess Omotunde Adelabu, Mr. Kola Fakiyesi, Mrs. Dupe Bakare and Mr. Olorunfemi Babalola of LGSC.
Others are: Alhaji Aflabi Ogunlayi, Elder Segun Bankole, Mrs. Kemisola Olaleye, Elder Yemi Alade and Chief Sesan Fatoba of CSC; Chief George Ojo, Chief Esan Abejide, Mr. Foluso Ibirinde, Mr. Bayo Akinola and Mr. Kupolati Olaiyan of HASC.