Impeachment: Nyako’s Deputy Asks Court to Declare Him Governor
The former Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Barr Bala James Ngilari, had asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to Declare Him Governor of Adamawa State saying he did not resign his office as Deputy Governor as stipulated by the Constitution.
The immediate past Deputy Governor has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to swear him in as the substantive governor of the state following the impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako on July 15.
The Assembly Speaker, Umaru Fintiri, had shortly before the impeachment of Mr. Nyako informed the lawmakers that Mr. Ngilari had sent in his resignation letter to the Assembly.
Mr. Ngilari’s resignation letter was read at plenary by Mr. Fintiri, after which the lawmakers approved it.
After his impeachment, Mr. Nyako issued a statement saying that the letter written by his deputy was of no consequence because the constitutional stipulation is that the deputy should have written to him as governor.
Mr. Nyako said that the purported resignation was a breach of Section 306 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We wish to State categorically that Section 306 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended requires that the Deputy Governor resigns not to the House of Assembly but to the Governor,” Mr. Nyako said in a statement issued by Ahmad Sajoh, the then Director, Press and Public Affairs, Governor’s Office.
“As at the time the supposed resignation was said to have been tendered in the House, Murtala H. Nyako was the Governor of Adamawa State. No such letter was written to him, none was received by him and none was approved by him.
“It should therefore be known that in the eyes of the Law, the Deputy Governor has not resigned. Barr Bala James Ngillari is still the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State. This clarification is necessary to avert another subversion of the Constitution since the other processes relating to the impeachment saga have all been in contravention of the Constitution and the Law.”
Mr. Ngilari on Wednesday approached the Federal High Court Abuja through his counsel, Festus Keyamo, to declare his resignation illegal and also give an order immediately removing the current acting governor of the state, Umaru Fintiri, and also direct 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 in as the substantive Governor of Adamawa State.
Court papers made available to PREMIUM TIMES also showed that Mr. Ngilari wants the court to give an order of injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, “whether by itself, its agents, servants, privies, officers or otherwise howsoever, from conducting a bye-election to fill the office of the Governor of Adamawa 0State as a consequence of the impeachment of the 5thDefendant (Murtala Nyako) and the purported/unconstitutional resignation of the Plaintiff (Barr. Bala James Ngilari) as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State.”
Mr. Ngilari said based on the combined provisions of section 306 (1), (2), and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), he did not resign his office as his letter was wrongly by addressed to the Speaker instead of the Governor.
He also argued that by virtue of the same constitutional provision, his purported resignation as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State did not take effect when his letter of resignation was received by the speaker on July 15.
The former deputy governor is also asking the Court to declare Votes & Proceedings of the Assembly’s sitting on that day which declared his seat vacant as “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void”.
Mr. Ngilari stated that going by the sequence of the legislative business of the Assembly as contained in the transcript of the Votes and Proceedings of July 15, Mr. Nyako was still the Governor of Adamawa State at the time the Speaker and the Assembly “received, accepted and acted upon the purported letter of resignation of the Plaintiff (Barr. Bala James Ngilari) to declare his seat vacant”.
Submitted by Ahmad I. Sajoh, mnipr
Director, Press and Publicity
Murtala H. Nyako Press Office