An Abuja Judicial Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the impeachment of the former deputy governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi. In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Musa Abba-Aji, the court dismissed the appeal brought before it by the impeached deputy governor for lacking in merit.
The panel of five justices of the intermediary court unanimously held that the Taraba State House of Assembly complied with section 188 (1-9) of the constitution in the impeachment of the state’s deputy governor. “The Respondents followed all the procedures for the removal of appellant, in accordance with the law”, Justice Abba-Aji held. Consequently, the appellate court upheld the judgment of the Taraba state High Court delivered on March 19, 2013. “Accordingly, this appeal is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit”, Justice Abba-Aji held.
Danladi, who was impeached by the Taraba State House of Assembly in September last year over allegations of gross misconduct and engaging in private businesses, had gone to the court to challenge the processes and constitutionality of his impeachment. The Taraba State High Court sitting before Justice Yusuf Bashir in its judgment, punctured all the issues raised by the plaintiff and upheld that the processes involved in the impeachment of the erstwhile deputy governor by the State Assembly were constitutional. Counsel to the deputy governor, Yunus Usgaz Usman (SAN), had amongst others, challenged the competence of the State Acting Chief Judge, Justice Josephine Tukur, who instituted the panel that investigated his client over the alleged gross misconduct having overstayed in the office for three months.
In his ruling, Justice Bashir held that the acting judge who constituted the panel was competent, saying that her tenure was renewed and there were letters from the National Judicial Service Commission and Chief Justice of the Federation to that effect. The judge also held that the sitting of the House where the decision of the former deputy governor’s impeachment was taken, took place on the floor of the House as against the averment of the plaintiff that the decision was taken in a private residence of a House member. Dissatisfied with the judgment, the former deputy governor headed to the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, challenging the decision of the trial court which upheld his impeachment.