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Adamawa: Ngilari loses bid to stop INEC’s planned bye-election

Ex- Adamawa State’s Deputy Governor, Bala Ngilari yesterday lost in his bid to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting bye-election to fill the vacant governorship seat following the impeachment of Murtala Nyako as the chief executive of the state.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a ruling yesterday, refused Ngilari’s ex-parte motion in which he sought an interim restraining order against INEC.

The judge ordered that INEC be put on notice and fixed 13 August,2014 for hearing of the motion on notice containing similar prayer of injunction.

Justice Ademola, who listened to Ngilari’s lawyer, Festus Keyamo moved two ex-parte motions filed for the plaintiff, granted his prayer for substituted service, via the newspaper.

The judge also granted leave to the plaintiff to serve court processes on the defendants outside Abuja.

Ngilari, whose office was declared vacant on July 15 by the state’s lawmakers following their impeachment of the governor, had earlier this week sued the legislators and asked the court to sack the state’s acting Governor, Ahmadu Umaru and make him (Ngilari) the governor.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/545/14, has Umaru, the Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly, the House of Assembly, the Acting Governor, Adamawa State, Nyako and INEC as defendants.

Ngilari, who denied resigning his position within the contemplation of the provision of Section 306(1), (2) & (5) of the Constitution, said the purported resignation letter he sent to the Speaker was not meant for to be acted on by the House of Assembly.

He stated, in a supporting affidavit, that “I did not submit any letter of resignation to the 5th defendant (governor) or any other person other than the 1st defendant (the Speaker).

“I only submitted a purported letter of resignation (exhibit A), to the 1st defendant but I never intended to comply with the strict provisions of sections 306 (1), (2) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution by submitting it to the 5th defendant (the Governor).

“I never intended exhibit A (the letter) to be any subject of debate or resolution by the 2nd defendant (House of Assembly), but a private correspondence between myself and the 1st defendant, hence it was marked ‘secret’.

“That exhibit A was only submitted to the 1st defendant with the intention of discussing the contents with him privately at a more convenient time to alert him at a possible action I may take at a later date because of certain political developments in Adamawa State, hence I did not submit it to the 5th defendant (as Governor of Adamawa State) as strictly stipulated by section 306(1), (2) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution.

“That I was therefore shocked to see that my letter was read and acted upon by the entire members of the 2nd Defendant when it was never addressed to them,” Nggilari stated.

The embattled Deputy Governor raised seven questions for the court’s determination, and asked the court to restrain INEC and its agents from conducting a bye-election to fill the office of the Governor following the impeachment of the governor and the purported resignation of his deputy.

He seeks an order “removing the 3rd defendant (Umaru) as the Acting Governor of Adamawa State forthwith”, and “an order directing the Chief Judge of Adamawa State (or Acting Chief Judge, as the case may be) or the President of the Customary Court of Appeal to swear” him (the plaintiff) in as the state’s substantive governor.

The plaintiff also seeks:

*A declaration that by the combined provisions of section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the plaintiff (Barr. Bala James Nggilari), as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, did not resign his office by addressing a letter of resignation dated 15th July, 2014 to the 1st defendant (Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly).

*A declaration that by the combined provisions of section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the purported resignation of the Plaintiff as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State did not take effect when the purported Letter of Resignation was received by the 1st Defendant (Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly) on the 15th of July, 2014.

*A declaration that by the combined provisions of section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the declaration of the office of the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State (then occupied by the plaintiff) vacant on the July 15th, 2014 vide the votes and proceedings of the 2nd defendant of same day is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

*A declaration that by the sequence of the legislative business of the 2nd defendant as contained in the transcript of the votes and proceedings of the Adamawa State House of Assembly (2nd defendant) of Tuesday, July 15th, 2014, the 5th defendant (Murtala Nyako) was still the Governor of Adamawa State at the time the 1st and 2nd defendants received, accepted and acted upon the purported letter of resignation of the plaintiff (Barr. Bala James Nggilari) to declare his seat vacant.

*A declaration that by the combined provisions of section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the Plaintiff (Barr. Bala James Nggilari) did not resign from office as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State as strictly stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

*A declaration that by virtue of section 191(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), after the impeachment of Murtala Nyako (5th Defendant) as Governor of Adamawa Sate, the Plaintiff ought to be sworn in as Governor of Adamawa State.

*A declaration that by the combined provisions of section 191(1) and 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the swearing-in of the 3rd defendant (Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru) as Acting Governor of Adamawa State on 15th of July, 2014 is illegal and unconstitutional.

*A declaration that, by the provision of section 191(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the 6th Defendant cannot conduct any election to fill the office of the Governor of Adamawa State after the impeachment of Murtala Nyako, as the Deputy Governor (Barr. Bala James Nggilari) did not resign from that office as strictly stipulated by section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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