Obiano, Speaker under fire over TC re-confirmation
By Okechukwu Onuegbu
Anambra State House of Assembly speaker, Barr. Rita Maduagwu and the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano have come under attack by the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Voters Rights International (VRI) over the recent re-confirmation of Local Government Transition Committee (TC) members.They described it an impeachable offence.
The reactions were based on to the Anambra State High court judgment that sacked the TC members and ordered the governor to conduct Local government area elections before August 15, 2017, and that of an Appeal Court Enugu Division which has constituted panel to address similar issue.
The Anambra state House of Assembly had, on Tuesday, June 4, 2017 reconfirmed the 21 local government area TC Chairmen and 328 councillors to continue piloting the affairs of the third tier of government whose initial three-months tenure is about ending having been confirmed and sworn-in on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
It would also be recalled that the Anambra State Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi, while delivering a judgment in reference to suit No A/182/2016 filed by All Progressives Congress (APC) and 21 others, ruled that appointment and reappointment of Caretaker Committees in Anambra State was illegal, and ordered ANSIEC to conduct LG poll within 90 days (before August 15, 2017).
The Chief Judge also disclosed that available records show that it was only APC that nominated candidates for the unsuccessful 2015 Anambra State local government elections, and asked ANSIEC to issue a notice of election as well as conduct it for the nominated candidates of APC within 90 days from the date of the judgment.
Speaking with Orient Daily, the Anambra State Publicity Secretary of APC, Okelo Madukife said, the assembly has demonstrated that it is lawless because there is an order given by the Chief Judge of Anambra state which sacked all local government transition committee members or contraption.
Okelo, who maintained that it was only a competent court that could set aside the judgment, wondered why Obiano and Maduagwu tampered with the judgement, despite being aware of the judgment.
“Anambra state does not deserve this kind of lawlessness and impunity. This is the kind of impunity that got President Goodluck Jonathan out of power, and it will surely send Obiano out of power. Additionally, people should be held responsible for their actions.
“The Speaker should be impeached and be recalled by her constituents. Our party has a reputation for dealing with impunity without fracas. I am calling on Nnewi South 11 constituents to quickly begin the process of recalling their daughter because she is unfit and incompetent to be a lawmaker and speaker. This is wilful disruption of court order and court shall have its way on that.
On his part, a Human Rights lawyer and President, Voters Rights International, Onitsha, Barr. Jezie Ekejiuba, described it as an impeachable offence, adding that it violates section 7 of 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Ekejiuba, recalled that he instituted a case on the subject matter in the Court of Appeal Enugu division, claimed that he would have obtained order of mandamus or call for Obiano’s impeachment but that would be too late since he was convinced that the governor will vacate his seat by March 17, 2018.
“On Thursday June 8, 2017, special 3-Man Appeal Panel of Court of Appeal of Enugu heard the Appeal in no. CA/E/437/2012 between Barrister Ejezie Ekejiuba verses Governor of Anambra State, Anambra State House of Assembly, and Attorney-General of Anambra State as first, second and third respondents seeking for perpetual injunction against Caretaker/Transition Committees in Anambra State pursuant to section 1 (2) &7 (1) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Hon. Justice C.N. Uwa, presiding, led other members of the panel, namely; Hon. Justice H.A. Barka and Hon. Justice B. M. Ugo who heard the appeal, and after the counsel for the parties adopted their respective briefs of argument, the Court reserved the appeal for judgment without a date.
The appearances for the suite are Bar Jezie Ekejiuba, appellant for himself; Mrs T.O Igwegbe for 2nd respondent, Mrs Okonkwo Okom for 1st and 3rd respondents,” he disclosed.
Responding, APGA Secretary in Anambra state, Barr Anthony Ifeanya declared that the suits that gave judgment in favour of APC and that awaiting judgment on Appeal Court Enugu Division have been overtaken by event.
According to him, the judgement of Chief Judge’s was in reference to the Local Government Council elected officials whose tenure began in 2014 and ended in 2016 but were appointed TC members, while that of Ekejiuba was in connection to the 2014 local government election.
“There is nothing like contempt of court because the tenure of the council officials in the motions have ended. Also, the judgment came after the appointment of the current TC members who were reconfirmed last Tuesday. So, APC or Ekejiuba should have sought for a rejoinder to add the current TC members if they had wanted the judgment to apply” he noted.