Sacked Bayelsa council boss reinstated

YENAGOA—Reinstated chairman of Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government, Mr. Ebikitin Diongoli, has formally resumed office.

Diongoli’s resumption of office, yesterday, which is coming seven months after a Kaiama High Court nullified his ouster by the State House of Assembly, followed the intervention of Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear-Admiral John Jonah (rtd).

The deputy governor had to wade into the matter following refusal of the Vice-Chairman, Mr. Ebierein Itubo, to heed the directive of the state governor on the reinstatement of the council boss, Diongoli, as directed by the court.

Diongoli was removed from office last May  by the state House of Assembly over alleged gross misconduct and directed his vice, Itubo, to be sworn in as the substantive chairman of the council.

But the embattled chairman challenged what he described as his unconstitutional removal from office by seeking redress in the law court.

Reprieve, however, came his way in September when the Kaiama High Court, presided over by Justice Ebierien Goodness Omukoro, ruled in his favour and ordered his immediate reinstatement as the executive chairman of Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Council.

The judgment further declared that the purported swearing in of Itubo as chairman of the council was unconstitutional, unlawful, invalid and of no effect whatsoever.

However, attempts by Diongoli to reclaim his seat were frustrated by the former administration and the vice chairman, prompting the deputy governor to wade into the matter.

Based on the approval of the governor, Seriake Dickson, as contained in a letter dated February 24, 2012, and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Mr. D. E. Whyte, Ebikitin Diongoli officially resumed office at the council secretariat to the admiration of his supporters.

The letter of approval by Governor Dickson, made available to Vanguard, directed that the council chairman be reinstated as substantive chairman of the council and the suspension on the six councillors lifted.

Diongoli, accompanied by his supporters, promised to maximize the remaining period of his tenure to bring about what he termed positive and verifiable development to the people of the local government.

He described as frivolous allegations that he was involved in anti-party activities during the last general elections, financial recklessness and insecurity.

The council boss thanked Governor Dickson Seriake and his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), for their resolve to tow the path of due process and return sanity to the local government in the place of reign of terror, brigandage, the rule of brute force and the superintendence of illegality demonstrated by the out gone administration.

An elated Diongoli said:  “I want to state that today marks the beginning of a new era and a dawn as God has caused the agents of darkness to be overcome by the agents of light.

“We shall maximize the remaining part of our tenure to bring about positive and verifiable development to our people who have been yearning for true development in this local government.”

The chairman, who said he bore no grudges against those who used the resources of the state and local government to illegally put him out of office, said if there were enemies to fight, they must be challenges of underdevelopment in Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area.

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Sacked Bayelsa council boss reinstated