The Peoples Democratic Party has criticised Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State for removing four council chairmen elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress from office.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the four council chairmen were removed from office between August 2 and October 10 this year.
The Chairman of the PDP in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, said it was wrong and unconstitutional for the governor to remove anyone constitutionally elected by the people from office.
Orbih spoke on Wednesday in Benin after receiving an award bestowed on him by the Edo State Chapter of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties.
Represented by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Edo State, Chris Nehikhare, Orbih said it was disheartening and a rape of democracy for a democratically elected governor to remove an equally democratically elected Local Government Council chairman.
The party stalwart was referring to the recent suspension of the council chairmen in Edo State by Obaseki.
All of the removed chairmen were elected on the platform of the ruling APC, to which Obaseki also belongs.
The suspended council chairmen are Aremiyau Momih of Etsako East, Yakson Musa of Etsako West, Eghe Ogbemudia of Egor and atrick Aguinede of Esan West.
It will be recalled that Obaseki has similarly sacked secretaries in all the 18 Local Government Councils, citing corruption and abuse of office by the sacked officials.
Orbih, however, cautioned the governor to reverse the sacking, arguing that removing elected officials by another elected official was undemocratic and ultra vires.
He said: “These chairmen were not appointed by the governor but were elected by the people in their respective council areas.
“The governor knows very well that for any action to be taken against the chairmen, such action must emanate from the Edo State House of Assembly after due investigation.
“But the present action of the governor certainly points towards a fallout of the political differences between him and his predecessor.
“They should not allow their internal crisis or differences to affect the people of Edo State.”
The PDP chief also called on Obaseki to appreciate the fact that the Local Government system was recognised by the Nigerian Constitution.
Orbih advised the governor to also desist from interfering in the financial independence of the councils and allow the chairmen to discharge the duties for which they were elected.
The Chairmen of the CRPP in Edo State, Dr. Samson Isibor, described people considered for the award as people who had distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour.
Isibor said the award was given to Orbih in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of democratic values through constructive criticisms and fighting executive corruption.