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Adamawa Saga: Keyamo Writes Jonathan Over “Illegal” Removal Of Deputy Governor

Lagos Lawyer Festus Keyamo

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo has written an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan over what he described as the illegal ouster from power, the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Bar. Bala James Ngilari.

Bala Ngilari

Bala Ngilari, Ousted Adamawa Deputy Governor

Keyamo, in the letter, said he is extremely worried that the nation might be gradually sliding into a state of anomie if Jonathan turned a blind eye and deaf ears to the various illegalities that had characterised the process employed in the gale of impeachments, or threatened impeachments and/or removal of elected representatives of the people in various parts of this country.

“In some cases, it is political considerations and manoeuvrings that becloud the sense of reasoning of the dramatis personae so much so that the proper constitutional requirements for such processes are thrown overboard.

“Take the case of Adamawa State. The facts as I understand them is that on 4th of July, 2014, the Acting Chief Judge of the State, Honourable Justice Ambrose Mamadi, at the request of the Speaker of the House of Assembly (following the adoption of a motion by two-thirds of members of the House to probe allegations of gross misconduct against the Governor and Deputy Governor), set up a seven-man panel to probe the Governor and Deputy Governor of the State.

“The Panel allegedly sat and submitted its report on the 14th of July, 2014. I will, at this stage, totally avoid the controversies regarding the service of the summons or allegations against the Governor and his Deputy, the proceedings of the seven-man panel, issues of fair-hearing and so on, I will proceed to the events of the 15th of July, 2014, which are not in dispute,” he said in the letter.

According to Keyamo, “from the Votes and Proceedings of the House on the 15th of July, 2014 (which I have obtained) the following transpired in sequential order: The Speaker and members took their seats, he House adopted the proceedings of its last sitting, the Speaker announced the absence of a few members, the Speaker announced the receipt of the letter of resignation of the Deputy Governor, Bar. Bala James Nggilari, addressed to the speaker and read the contents.

“The House considered and accepted the letter of resignation and declared the office of the Deputy Governor vacant. The House then went on to consider the report of the seven-man panel which indicted the Governor of the State, Murtala Nyako, and accepted the report. The Speaker then declared the Governor removed from office and the House directed the Acting Chief Judge or the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the State to swear in the Honourable Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru as Acting Governor pending fresh elections by INEC.”

He said from the above-stated facts, as they occurred in sequential order, the following facts are not in dispute that Nggilari, addressed his resignation to the speaker, and not the Governor of the State and that the then Governor, Murtala Nyako, did not receive any such letter from the Deputy Governor, “and this was later confirmed by the Governor in a press release on the 16th of July, 2014.”

Keyamo said at the material time the House received and purportedly accepted the supposed resignation of the Deputy Governor, Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) was still the Governor of the State.

He said this was against what the 1999 constitution revealed, which Jonathan sworn to defend.

Quoting from Sections 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution Keyamo said it could be clearly seen that the declaration of the seat of the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State vacant by the House of Assembly was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

“The House has no such powers and can play no such role under the Constitution. The least we should have expected was for the House to impeach the Governor (assuming but not conceding that due process was followed in his case) and swear in the Deputy Governor as the substantive Governor. We were never told that he was indicted by the seven-man panel set up by the Acting Chief Judge of the State.

“Consequently, by the provisions of sections 306 (1),(2) & (5) above, the purported resignation of the Deputy Governor never took place, or at worst, never took effect. It can only take effect, upon receipt of it by the governor.

“As it is, the present Acting Governor (who was the former Speaker), can only hold office for three months, pending fresh elections. Even the winner of that election, by the provision of section 191(2) of the 1999 Constitution can only complete the unexpired tenure of Murtala Nyako. It means if we have a governorship election in October in Adamawa State, we will have another again within four months, going by INEC’s timetable for elections next year. What a waste of public funds!

“Your Excellency, if proper constitutional procedure is followed, let wise counsel prevail by reverting immediately to the situation where the Deputy Governor, Bar. Bala James Nggilari, is sworn in as the Governor and he nominates a deputy to complete the term of office of Murtala Nyako in the next few months. This will save the State from unnecessary election crises and unnecessary waste of public funds by INEC,” he told the president.

“We cannot imagine a situation where any interested party now heads to court to challenge the removal of Bar. Bala James Nggilari from office and he is re-instated at the last minute when election materials have been printed and personnel already deployed at great expense. Mr. President, you can save this nation this unnecessary waste of public funds by doing the needful,” he added.



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