By Ise-Oluwa Ige
The Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), yesterday, commenced an action before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, asking it to declare the offices of the Governor and the Deputy Governor of Imo State vacant.
The PPA is inviting the high court to issue the declaratory order on the account that the two office holders ditched the political party (PPA) that sponsored them for election for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Chief Ikedi Ohakim and Mrs Ada Okwuonu- the Governor and Deputy Governor of Imo State whom the plaintiff wanted sacked from office on account of their defection.
They were sponsored by PPA for the exalted offices and won the election on the political partyâ€™s platform.
They defected from PPA on July 25, this year.
PPA is contending in the pending suit that the duo breached relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution by defecting to PDP without resigning their membership of PPA and their present offices.
Besides, PPA is also urging the court to issue a separate order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election to fill their vacant seats.
In the constitutional suit instituted by PPA at the registry of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Chief Ohakim, Mrs. Okwuonu, INEC, PDP and the Attorney-General of the Federation were named as defendants.
The suit was filed by the Chambers of Chief Solo Akuma (SAN).
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.
It was commenced by way of originating summons suggesting that the life span of the case would be short since the issues involved are purely those of law.
In the originating summons lodged at the registry of the court, three fundamental cum constitutional questions were formulated for the court to answer including:
Â· Whether a sitting Governor and Deputy Governor of Imo State of Nigeria who were sponsored by the Plaintiffs Political Party and elected into office under the Plaintiffâ€™s platform can dump the sponsoring Party for another Party during the currency of their term without losing their positions.
Â·Whether by virtue of the Supreme Court decision in Amaechi V !NEC & Others (2008) 5 NWLR pt 1080 P 227 which held that it is a Party that wins election, the 1st and 2nd Defendants who have dumped the Plaintiffâ€™s party that sponsored them to win election on 28/4/07 as Governor and Deputy Governor of Imo State of Nigeria respectively for another Political Party have not abandoned their offices of Governor and Deputy Governor ofImo State of Nigeria.
Â·Whether having regard to the combined provisions of sections 177 (C), 180 (1) (d) and 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 the positions of the 1 st and 2nd Defendants as sitting Governor and Deputy Governor ofImo State of Nigeria have ceased and or become vacant after they have dumped the Plaintiff s sponsoring Party for the 4th Defendantâ€™s Party.
Should the three questions or any of them be determined in favour of the political party, it is asking the court for the following declaratory and injunctive reliefs:
Â·A Declaration that by virtue of Sections 177 (c) and 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 the 1 st and 2nd Defendants as a sitting Governor and Deputy Governor of!mo State respectively who were sponsored by the Plaintiff and elected under the platform of the Plaintiffs Party shall remain as members of the Plaintiff s Political Party through out the duration of the 1 st and 2nd Defendantsâ€™ term of Office as a Governor and Deputy Governor of lmo State respectively that is, from 29th May, 2007 to 29th May, 2011.
Â·A declaration that the dumping of the Plaintiff s sponsoring Party by the 1 st and 2nd Defendants as a sitting Governor and Deputy Governor of Imo State respectively on 25th July, 2009 for the 4th Defendantâ€™s Party is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever and tantamounts to abandonment of the offices of the Governor or Deputy Governor of Imo State of Nigeria and the 1 st and 2nd Defendants have ceased to hold their respective offices by virtue of Section 180 (1) (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
Â·A declaration that the posts of the 1 st and 2nd Defendants as Governor and DeputyÂ· Governor of Imo State respectively have become vacant by the dumping of the Plaintiff s sponsoring Party for the 4th Defendantâ€™s Party.
Â·An order of this Court declaring the posts of the 1st and 2nd Defendants vacant and or compelling the 3 rd Defendant to declare the posts of the 1 st and 2nd Defendants as sitting Governor and Deputy Governor of Imo State respectively vacant and to conduct a fresh election to fill the vacant positions.
Â·An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants by themselves their servants, privies or otherwise howsoever from parading or further parading themselves as the Governor and Deputy Governor oflmo State of Nigeria respectively.
Â·An order of Lnjunction restraining the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants jointly and or severally by themselves, their agents, servants, privies or subordinates now whatsoever described from recognizing, treating, addressing the 1 st and 2nd Defendants as members of the 4th Defendant and as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Imo State of Nigeria respectively.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.
The background of the case is that Ohiakim was a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He joined the PPA to contest for the Imo state gubernatorial election after he lost the partyâ€™s contyroversial governorship primary in 2007 to Chief Ifeanyi Ararume.
But after he won the election on the platform of PPA, he remained with the party that sponsored him from April 2007 till July 24, 2009.
On July 25, 2009, he defected to the ruling PDP like his colleagues, Governors Aliyu Shinkafi (Zamfara) and Isa Yuguda (Bauchi).
But moments after he joined the PDP, many a Nigerians had criticized him and his deputy on moral ground.
His political party that sponsored him however threatened to drag him to court in order to collect back the mandate of the people he secured on its platform.
The threat was made true yesterday weith the court action.