The crisis of confidence between Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello and Senator Dino Melaye has taken a new dimension following a fresh suit by Melaye asking for a court order to stop the release of statutory allocations to the state’s 21 local governments.
Melaye is praying the Federal High Court, Lokoja to restrain the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) from remitting the funds meant for the local governments until election is conducted into the councils.
He said he is interested in being a councillor in Ijumu Local Government Area and the refusal of the state government to conduct election into the councils was affecting his ambition.
He added that the absence of democratically-elected officers at the local government level has made the state government spend and dissipate the funds meant for the 21 councils.
He said it was illegal for the governor to appoint administrators, trustees or sole administrators for the local governments in the state.
The suit was filed at the Federal High Court, Lokoja.
In an affidavit, which he personally sworn to, Melaye averred as follows:
“That I was informed by my lawyer, Mr. Ajayi Jaiye Samuel, on the 5th day of May, 2017 at about 8pm while discussing the facts in this suit and my predicament arising from the refusal of the 6th defendant to conduct Local Government Elections in Kogi State, I verily believe him to be true and correct as follows:
(i) That it is improper to put in charge the administration of the 8th to 28th defendants, persons including civil servants, who are not democratically elected.
(ii) That it is not proper for the 6th defendant to have refused to conduct Local Government Elections before and after the expiration of the tenure of the elected Local Government Councils of the 8th to 28th defendants.
(iii) That there cannot exist validly constituted Joint Local Government Account Allocation Committee of Kogi State without democratically elected chairmen and councillors of the 8th-28th defendants.
(iv) That is not proper for the 29th (CBN), 30th (the Minister of Finance) and 31st (the FAAC) defendants to continue to release monies accruing to the 8th -28th defendants from the Federation Account to the 7th defendant without democratically chairmen councillors of the 8th-28th defendants.
The senator said he filed the suit because he intended to be a councillor in Ijumu Local Government Area.
He said: “As an astute politician, I am interested in contesting for a councillorship position in my Local Government Area, Ijumu and I am also interested in the outcome of the local government elections in all the local government areas of Kogi State, the 8th-28th defendants in this suit.”