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Published On: Sat, May 3rd, 2014

Group Calls for Reversal of Appointment of New Delta State Speaker

Delta State Speaker Peter Onwusanya

LAGOS MAY 3RD (URHOBOTODAY)-Group under the aegis of Civil Liberties Movement(CLM} has petitioned the The Attorney General and Federal Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN),calling for thorough probe and immediate reversal of the appointment of Mr. Peter Onwusanya as Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA).
The group which claimed the appointment of Onwusanya is both illegitimate and undemocratic in a petition titled, “Open letter to the Attorney General, Federal Republic of Nigeria on usurpation of the Judiciary in respect of the appointment of an illegitimate Member of the Delta State House of Assembly as the Speaker” signed by Dr Reginald Odey made available to Urhobotoday an online medium argued that his appointment is directly in absolute defiance to the Judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal, Benin Division, ORS APPEAL NO CA/B/132/2011 ORS, (2014) LPELR-22191(CA) dated 30th January 2014 which dislodged him as a member of the DTHA.

The petition reads, “For clarity, the decision of the Appellate Court set aside the initial ruling of Federal High Court, Asaba which gave Mr. Onwusanya seeming authority to become a member of the DTHA. In addition, affirmed that the judgement of the Lower Court was erroneous. Specifically, according to Justice TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU who delivered the lead judgment “In the end, the appeal is allowed, on ground four of the amended notice of appeal, consequently, I need not consider the remaining issues in this appeal, since the appeal is allowed on the issue of fair hearing. See oged orunnwo &Anor V Iheanyinchukwu Woko & 2 ors (2011) 6 SCNJ PT. 1 Page 124 at 137. Where his lordship Chukwuma- Eneh JSC re-echoed the opinion of my lord , Uwaifo JSC in Brawal Shipping Nig. Ltd V Onwudike Co. Ltd & Anor. (2000) 6SCNJ 508 at 512, that “it is no longer in doubt that this court demands off and admonishes, the
lower courts to pronounce, as a general rule, on all issues properly placed before them for determination …”the judgment of I N BUBA J. delivered on suit no FHC/ASB//CS/41/2011 dated 14th April 2011 is set aside, in its entirety”.
“Specifically, for ease of reference, an earlier written notification by the CLM dated 17th March 2014 (copy attached) was forwarded to the Clerk of the Delta State House of Assembly. This was prior to the Delta State Governor’s alleged misguided and ill action in disregarding the Judgement of the Federal Court of Appeal, Benin Division, a court of competent jurisdiction. The said notice served to the Clerk of the DTHA constructively and objectively through personal service and public disclosures in both the electronic and print media
drew the kind attention the Delta State Governor and the then
leadership of the Delta State House of Assembly to the reality that Mr. Peter Onwusanya, a proposed nominee for Speakership of the DTHA by the PDP State leadership only became a member of the DTHA in 2011 through a default judgment by the Federal High Court, Asaba as stated in the referenced Judgement of the Federal Court of Appeal, Benin Division.
“Ordinarily, it would have been easy to assume that the Clerk of the DTHA intentionally subdued this vital information with the criminal intend to mislead the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and the entire members of the DTHA to act in absolute ignorance but this conjecture has proved to be wrong especially given that all parties mentioned herein were appropriately advised as the said notification was placed in public domains particularly on the website of the Delta
State owned newspaper, which is accessed by the majority of
politically inclined persons in Delta State. Consequently, we stand convinced that all parties to this illegality acted out of premeditated impunity to usurp the Nigerian Judicial system for self interest.
As we tender this fresh petition to the Esteemed Office of the
Attorney General, Federal Republic of Nigeria, we state that the Delta State public and democratic activists are very worried over this naked issue of imposition of an illegitimate Member of the DTHA as its Speaker which is undoubtedly a clear case of cover up with a mix of political corruption and obstruction of justice aided by some individuals and top executives of the Delta State Government. In particular, the State Governor’s position in swearing in Mr. Onwusanya as Speaker of DTHA despite the information alleged to be made available to him shines a light into this darkness.
“It is important to state that the action of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in swearing in Mr. Onwusanya indicate that the Delta State government deliberately interfered with and undermined the judgement of the Federal Appeal Court. Indeed, this action becomes highly suspicious when we take into consideration of the fact that even after this seeming anomaly, the State Governor’s attention has been severally drawn to this illegitimacy, yet no remedial action has been initiated.
We therefore crave intervention of the Hon. Minister of Justice as the Chief Legal Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to probe any inactivity or evasive legitimate activity in this matter especially given that on this detailed usurpation of the Judiciary, a vast array of questions remain unanswered especially on those posed in the direction of the law enforcements in Delta State including the leadership the State Police Command. Indeed, we are shocked at the silence of these authorities on those who caused, aided and abetted this serious crime.
“The CLM, as an organisation focused on the promotion of democratic ethos, hereby affirms that what has been allowed to take place in the DTHA, a supposedly legislative arm of government is not only a mockery of the type of separation of power that exist in the Nigerian polity but portrays a complete inability of the law enforcement agencies to check the impunity of the Executive arm over disobedience of Court orders.
Indeed, this ugly incident raises some very fundamental questions on the rule of law in Nigeria’s democracy and we conclude that this is a glaring evidence of undermining the justice system; a situation if unchecked may tend to go out of control. In truth, this undemocratic practice of swearing in a non elected member of the DTHA as its Speaker is a tragic metaphor for Nigeria’s judiciary, law enforcement agencies and security outfits. Obviously, it portrays a lawless society where justice can be painfully killed by the sheer impunity of the Executive arm of government or some persons.
We therefore request in conformity with the laws that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federal Government of Nigeria promptly and effectively take remediation steps on this issue. Specifically, we state that the office of the Attorney General of Delta State has failed in its duty under the Nigerian constitution to act appropriately by not initiating criminal procedures against all those that refused to treat this issue of illegitimacy of Speakership of the DTHA in the way of justice including individuals involved in the cover up of these established crimes under the Nigerian Criminal law.
“Finally, we wish to state categorically that the Appellate court judgment under reference supports the points made in this Petition for the promotion of democracy in Nigeria and we firmly believe that such a vital document may aid your decision to correct the impunity of both the Delta State Executive and Legislative arms over the Judiciary. Indeed, we believe that this sad issue indicting these two arms of Government must not be left out for only NGOs like the CLM but should be a priority for all those that want justice to thrive in Nigeria’s democracy because the stakes are high, and they go beyond Delta state.
We therefore urge the Attorney General, Federal Republic of Nigeria to take immediate action on the violations of the laws and obstruction of justice that have been aided by the Government of Delta State. For prompt action, we state that the referenced documents have adequately identified and established the violations by some persons and the Delta State Government to the extent that any prolonged preliminary investigation may not be necessary.”

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