Thursday, 5 December 2013

Defection Saga: PDP Drags Amaechi To Supreme Court...

Wants Him Removed
The last may not have been heard of Governor Chibuike Amaechi's defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
As the echo of the self-expulsion from the ruling PDP reverberates, the air is rent with news of legal suits about to be preferred by the PDP to push Gov Amaechi out of office in line with the nation's electoral law 2011 as amended.
The law is very explicit on cross-carpeting or defection to other political parties by elected office holders and demands that such decampees forfeit their seats.
We have it on good authority that the legal team of the ruling PDP with the mandate of the party have dusted their files to take on Amaechi before the Supreme Court to vacate the Office of the Governor of Rivers State with immediate effect having lost the platform under which he cruised to power.
The PDP argues that with Gov. Amaechi's continued stay in office, it means that Rivers State is APC controlled while it was the PDP that won the election and had been directing the affairs of the state before Gov. Amaechi's defection.
The party further maintains that from all empirical proofs, the party remains supreme in all party matters, stressing that this, as a democratic principle had also been observed to the last letter as the pivot around which, the PDP's internal democracy revolves.
It's also in strict observance and respect for this guiding principle, according to concerned party members that the PDP accepted in good faith the contentious Supreme Court judgement that removed a duly democratically elected governor of Rivers State, and successor to Sir Dr. Peter Odili in 2007 general elections in the person of Sir Celestine Omehia.
The Supreme Court undeniably based its judgement on same principle of party supremacy, political analysts contended, citing Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who did not contest the 2007 Governorship election neither was he even in the country at the time of the said election as the sole beneficiary of that historic judgement.
The Supreme Court had posited that whether or not Amaechi contested the election, having been elected by the party (PDP) in the primaries before he was circumstantially substituted, was the rightful winner of the election.
Salient in the Supreme Court's wisdom is that it is the party that was voted for and not necessarily the individual.
In this wise, both the party and the candidate are one and same entity, the separation of which makes the elected office a nullity.
This group of political commentators also cited the cases of Governor Theordore Orji of Abia State and Senator Omisore of Ogun State among others both of whom were in detention during their respective elections to further buttress the supremacy of the party in the party affairs.
If it was not the party that is given the credit for winning the election, why should one who never took part in the voting, who did not vote nor was voted for, be asked to be sworn into office on the party ticket, analysts further queried.
This, has again brought a lot of legal questions to the fore as to what becomes of the party that won the election, its programmes for the state which ostensibly are threatened by the turn of events occasioned by the defection of its former leader to the opposition.
What programmes will the defected, ie. Governor Amaechi be subscribing to, those of the ruling party or the opposition that seems to have become the ruling party though unauthorized?
The situation is made more complex with the coercion of most of the elected and appointed public office holders like the council chairmen, commissioners, directors and chairmen of state parastatals into the opposition alongside their paymaster, the Governor.
Statutorily and by reason of the party that won the election with lined up programmes, these public office holders were given such positions to implement such programmes for the party which remains accountable to the people that entrusted it with the responsibilities and also takes all the blame should they fail.
The situation becomes more complicated by the absence of the State House of Assembly that could possibly call the Governor to order whenever he is tempted to overstep his bounds.
Worse still, the relationship between the executive arm of government and the state judiciary cannot be said to be at its best, as the sour taste left by the appointment of the President of the State Customary Court of Appeal as the Acting Chief Judge of the state against the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) has hardly faded.
The fallouts of this exco-judicial disharmony arising from the executive interruption of the judicial process have already started manifesting with Governor Amaechi going ahead to ridicule the recent judgement by a Port Harcourt High Court reinstating the unlawfully suspended Obio/Akpor Local Government Council led by Hon. Timothy Nsirim.
Two days after the reinstatement, Gov. Amaechi, visibly angry and opposed to the judgement invoked some section of the Rivers State Local Govt. Law 2012, dissolving the reinstated council in a alleged clear breach of the judgement that had barred him, his agents or privies from intercepting in the affairs of the council until the reinstated officers completed their tenure.
The PDP has however dismissed the purported dissolution of Obio/Akpor Council as reckless, illegal, null and void and of no effect.
It went on to ask Hon. Timothy Nsirim and his team to go about their normal lawful duties without any fear.
While the scenario sets in motion another round of legal battle, Hon. Nsirim, his Vice and the 17 councilors remain in charge of Obio/Akpor Council but the greater bulk of the allocation with which to run the council cannot be accessed without the endorsement and authorization of the executive governor.
What a democratic confusion.###

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