The Adamawa State gubernatorial bye-election scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Saturday, October 11, 2014 will no longer hold as James Ngilari, former Deputy Governor to impeached Governor Murtala Nyako, was sworn in as de facto governor of the state on Wednesday.
- Ngilari was impeached along with his boss by Adamawa legislators on July 15, 2014
- Speaker of the state House of Assembly assumed the governorship of the state following the impeachment
- Ngilari had tendered a letter of resignation prior to the impeachment and appealed against the decision on the basis of that action
- An Abuja Federal High Court granted his appeal on Wednesday and ordered that Ngilari be sworn in as governor immediately
- Fintiri says he will appeal the ruling
James Bala Ngilari, former deputy to impeached Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, has assumed the governorship of the state.
Ngilari was sworn in on Wednesday by Justice Audu Lagre of the state customary court, following the reversal of his impeachment by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Ademola Adeniyi gave the ruling after a hearing on the case filed by the former deputy governor, questioning his removal as the deputy governor before the impeachment of the former governor, Mr Murtala Nyako.
Breach of constitution
He ruled that the alleged resignation of Ngilari on July 14, 2014 was invalid, null and void as it breached the provisions of sections 306(1), (2) and (5) of the Nigerian Constitution because it was addressed to the Speaker and acted upon by the House of Assembly.
Ngilari, through his lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo, had submitted that by virtue of section 191 (1) of the 1999 Constitution that after the impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako, he, Ngilari being the next in the line of succession should have been inaugurated as governor.
The former deputy governor further stated that the assertion that he resigned his position as deputy governor was untenable given the claim by the House of Assembly that he, Ngilari, resigned in a letter addressed to the speaker of the House of Assembly.
Ngilari had relied on section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), that his resignation from office as deputy governor could only be addressed to the substantive governor at that time who he claimed was Nyako.
Nyako, in his submission to the court had also claimed that he did not accept the purported resignation of Ngilari as deputy governor.
Ngilari now replaces Umaru Fintiri, who has been the acting Governor of the state since July 15, when the then Governor of the state Murtala Nyako was impeached alongside his deputy.
In his acceptance speech, James Ngilari said he was grateful to God and the judiciary for enabling him assume his new position.
He urged the entire people of the state to forget about sentiments, religious or political differences and join hands with him in moving the state forward.The Governor assured citizens of the state that his administration would ensure justice and equity to all, as he promised to reveal his leadership agenda for the entire state soon.
James Ngilari immediately appointed Alhaji Chubadu Tijjani as his Chief of Staff.
He thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for providing the enabling environment for peace and justice to reign in the state.
In a swift reaction, the deposed Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri said he had already filed an appeal on the judgment of the court that re-instated Ngilari.
Spokesperson to Fintiri, Solomon Kumangar said Fintiri had reverted to his former position as the Speaker of the state House of Assembly.
“The former Acting Governor, Umaru fintiri is taking it calmly because he is law abiding. Don’t forget, he is still the Speaker, Adamawa state House of Assembly. He has instructed his lawyers to appeal the judgment and he has also gone to court to obtain a stay order on both the execution of the judgment in terms of the swearing-in of the Deputy Governor as Governor, as well as he vacation of office as the Acting Governor,” he said.
Kumangar added that the right of the appellant must not be jeopardized for whatever reason:
“In as much as we don’t want to talk about the merits of the court decision that has brought back Ngilari, it is a known fact that once an appeal is entered against a judgment, it means that the status-quo remains, till the determination of the case, in order not to abuse the rights of the appellant.”
Meanwhile, the people of the state have begun their normal activities while security agents patrol Yola the state capital and seat of government.
The Independent National electoral Commission INEC had scheduled Saturday October 11 for the conduct of gubernatorial bye-election in Adamawa state and Fintiri was the ruling party, the PDP’s candidate for that election, having won the party’s primary on September 7.
Fintiri defeated his rivals by securing 624 votes while his closest rival former Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education (UBEC), Dr. Ahmed Modibbo, scored 197 votes.
Former military administrator of Lagos State, Brig-General Buba Marwa, came third with 54 votes.
PS: Watch this space for further developments.