Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA:
Speaker of Delta state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sherrif Oborevwori; Delta state House of Assembly and Mr. Otto Aghoghophia have been dragged before the Federal High Court, Asaba over the illegal appointment of the Deputy Clerk in violation of the Delta State House of Assembly Service Law of 2013.
It could be recalled that the erstwhile impeached Speaker of Delta state House of Assembly, Mr. Monday Igbuya had allegedly deliberately arm twisted the leadership of the legislature to undermine laid down laws by foisting one of his cronies and tribesman on the House, even when the said Otto Aghoghovia did not meet the requirements.
In a rude display of ethnocentric chauvinism by the impeached Speaker, the legislature unilaterally approved the appointment of Barr. Aghoghovia Otto as the new Deputy Clerk, amidst claims by the legislative staff that the appointee is inexperienced and not yet qualified to hold such office.
The confirmation of Aghoghovia followed a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Hon Tim Owefere, seconded by Hon Oboroh Preyor and adopted.
The statement titled, Appointment as Deputy Clerk to the State Assembly, read in part: “I write to communicate to you the decision of the Assembly at its sitting on Tuesday March 28, 2017, approving your appointment as Deputy Clerk to the Delta State House of Assembly.”
In a suit No.: FHC/ASB/C8/56/2017, the plaintiffs, Barr. Ferdinand Okoh and Hon. Kema Augustine Egenu are challenging the appointment of Mr. Otto Aghoghophia (3rd defendant) as Deputy Clerk of the Delta state House of Assembly by the Speaker (1st defendant) and subsequent confirmation by the House of Assembly (2nd defendant) in total violation of Section 13 (3) of the Delta state House of Assembly Service Commission law, 2013 which prescribes that the person to be appointed Deputy Clerk of Delta state House of Assembly shall not be less than 14 years working experience in the House and not below Salad Grade Level 14.
The suit, which is seeking an order of injunction restraining the 3rd defendant (Otto Aghoghophia) from further parading himself in any manner whatsoever as the Deputy Clerk of Delta state House of Assembly is also praying the Court for an order to set aside his purported appointment and confirmation.
In the suit filed by the Plaintiffs’ Counsel, Simon Ngbakor Esq., the 3rd defendant (Otto Aghoghophia) was allegedly employed as a staff of the House of Assembly on the 1st day of March, 2004 (13 years working experience), stating that the 1st defendant (Speaker) and the 2nd defendant (House of Assembly) acted in error and as such must act in compliance with the provisions of the law, since they are there as representatives.
It added that the 3rd defendant (Otto Aghoghophia) is therefore not qualified to be appointed as the Deputy Clerk of Delta state House of Assembly, having not met the criteria as provided for in Section 13 (3) of the Delta state House of Assembly Service Commission law, 2013.
Earlier, a letter titled: THE APPOINTMENT OF BARR. OTTO AGHOGHOPHIA AS THE DEPUTY CLERK OF DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY IN BREACH OF SECTION 13 (3) OF THE DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY COMMISSION LAW, 2013/ CALL FOR URGENT REVERSAL OF SAME FOR OVERRIDING PUBLIC INTEREST and addressed to the Speaker on 20th April, 2017, counsel to the plaintiffs, Ngbakor Simon Esq., had demanded for the reversal of the contentious appointment of Mr. Otto Aghoghophia as Deputy Speaker within 30 days, pending the filing of the suit.
However, the leadership of the state Assembly has bluntly refused to reverse the appointment and reneged to comply with the provision of the law made by the legislature after becoming aware that the appointment and confirmation of Mr. Otto Aghoghophia as the Deputy Clerk of Delta state House of Assembly on Tuesday, 28th March, 2017 was in breach of the same law made by them.
According to Blank NEWS Online findings, Mr. Otto Aghoghophia’s first letter of “Offer Of Appointment” with Ref No: DTHA/SPK/SA/04/13/3, signed by Raymond Yavbieri (Deputy Clerk) on April 1, 2003 stipulated that the appointment takes effect fro 1st March, 2004.
The plaintiffs in their suit had argued that Mr. Otto Aghoghophia is unqualified, inexperienced and not competent to hold the office of the Deputy Clerk in respect of the qualification or criteria of would-be Deputy Clerk of Delta state House of Assembly.
They further hinted that the office of Deputy Clerk has been vacant since 2015, leading to public outcry for the vacant position to be filled for the effective running of the Delta state House of Assembly and for the interest of the general public.
The plaintiffs’ counsel in the originating summons filed at the Federal High Court, Asaba therefore urged the Court to declare that the actions of the 1st defendant (Speaker) in appointing the 3rd defendant (Otto Aghoghophia) and the subsequent confirmation by the 2nd defendant (House of Assembly) as Deputy Clerk are ultra vires, illegal, null and void abinitio as same violates the clear provisions of Section 13 (3) of the Delta state House of Assembly Service Commission law, 2013.
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka