By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Edo State High Court sitting in Benin on Friday declared Mr. Patrick Aguinede as the validly elected chairman of Esan west local government area of the state.
The Court presided over by Hon. Justice D.I. Okungbowa, made the declaration while delivering a judgment in a suit marked B/11/2020, declared the purported removal of Patrick Aguinede by Edo state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, as null and void.
Justice Okungbowa who directed Patrick Aguinede to resume office as Chairman of the Council immediately, also granted all the prayers contained in the originating summons filed on behalf of Aguinede and by the Law firm of West-Idahosa & Co.
The learned Judge held that Edo state Governor and the government failed to comply with the Provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of Edo State Local Government Law, 2000 (as amended) in failing to consult with the Edo State House of Assembly and the grounds of suspension as provided by Law, before suspending Patrick Aguinede was not followed.
He further held that since the purported suspension was void in law, every other action predicated on it was invalid and and held that the 1st-4th defendants abandon their notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the ground of filling it in High Court instead of in the National Industrial Court after counsel to the claimant joined issues with them and even draw their attention to it at the point of hearing the case but they opted to abandon it.
The Court awarded the sum of N200,000 as costs in favour of Patrick Aguinede.