Nigeria, July 10, 2015, (Blank NEWS Online) –
Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike, on Thursday night swore in twenty two caretaker committee Chairmen to replace the elected council executives dissolved by a a Federal High court ruling delivered by Justice Lambo Akanbi, Thursday morning.
The governor said he vowed to respect the rule of law when he assumed office on May 29, stressing that it was why he did not dissolve what he termed the illegality put in place by the outgone government.
According to him, some state governors had gone ahead to dissolve local government councils when they came on board but he took time to allow due process.
The governor said he did not dissolve the twenty two local government areas, noting that it was the decision of the court. He said the caretaker committees had to be sworn to avoid any vacuum in government.
The governor warned the newly sworn in caretaker committee Chairmen to ensure they discharge their responsibilities effectively, stressing that he would not hesitate to sack anyone found wanting.Governor Wike further reminded the caretaker committee chairmen that their appointment was not political patronage.
Recall that the Federal High court in Rivers State on Thursday, dismissed the 22 local government council chairmen in the state.
The local government chairmen were fired because their election contravened a court order which had earlier been issued restraining it, Justice Lambo Akanbi, the prciding judge said.
Lambo also dissolved the local government councils.
The local government election that brought on board the now dismissed local government chairmen was conducted by former governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
*Rivers PDP Applauds Dissolution of LG Council
The chairman of the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bro Felix Obuah says the nullification of the illegal Local Government Council election in the State by the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt is a welcome development.
The PDP chairman said by this impartial judgement, the Court has once more strengthened the confidence and trust of the people in the Nigerian judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
Thanking God for vindicating the party’s position that there was no council election in the State, Bro Obuah noted that the court victory is not only for the PDP but also the entire Rivers people who are the beneficiaries of the sanity and rules of law that have been ushered in by the council election nullification
He however appealed for calm and co-operation from all, saying that the Nyesom Wike led-government is humane and capable of instituting a legacy that will serve the general good of all Rivers people being the Governor of Rivers State and not Governor of PDP.
*This is travesty of justice – Rivers APC
The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC is saddened that despite his earlier ruling to stand down the matter until the appeal questioning the jurisdiction of his court is determined by the Appeal Court from October 12, Justice Lambo Akanbi, this morning, handed out ruling on a matter that was awaiting a decision of the Appeal Court.
Without any hearing notice to parties except, perhaps, to the PDP, Justice Akanbi presiding over Federal High Court 1 in Port Harcourt commenced sitting this morning and quickly handed down a ruling in respect of a matter between PDP and other parties including the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission [RSIEC] voiding the election of 22 Local Council Chairmen and Councillors in Rivers State. He claimed to have earlier ordered that the elections should not hold.
However, that position by Justice Akanbi is far from what transpired in the matter.
The truth of the matter remains that there is a pending appeal on the substantive case in which same Justice Akanbi on the 29th of April gave as reason for adjourning the matter sine die until the appeal is dispensed with beginning from 12th October. How come Justice Akanbi decided to bring forward the matter without even serving hearing notices to the parties? Why does Justice Akanbi want to ambush and foist on the Court of Appeal a situation of hopelessness? What business does Justice Akanbi have in reopening the matter other than fragrant display of judicial rascality?
It is important to re-iterate here that APC applied to join in the matter which the Judge turned down and APC immediately proceeded to appeal that refusal to be joined and that appeal is also pending. Why has Justice Akanbi acted in a manner aimed at frustrating that appeal?
As a law-abiding party, the APC would like to appeal to the elected Chairmen, Councillors and its numerous members across Rivers State to disregard any ruling of any court other than that of the Court of Appeal which will sit on October 12, 2015 of which notice of hearing has been served on all parties.
More so, APC is not bound by the court ruling handed down today by Justice Akanbi because APC duly applied to join in the matter and when the learned Justice refused the joiner application, the party proceeded to appeal that refusal, an appeal that is still pending at the Court of Appeal. Why did Justice Akanbi not wait for the Court of Appeal ruling on the APC application before proceeding with the matter? Therefore, the APC will wait and abide by the decision of the Court of Appeal, in line with the earlier Order of Justice Akanbi himself that the matter can only be reopened after it has been dispensed with by the Court of Appeal which has already served all parties notice of hearing.
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