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Rivers: Nothing unusual about tribunal’s ruling – Anyadubalu

Mr Pat Anyadubalu, a legal practitioner, prolific writer and public affairs commentator, in this interview, speaks on the the Rivers Election Petition Tribunal ruling on the 2015 governorship polls in Rivers state among others.

By Clifford Ndujihe

As a lawyer and author of Law books, what does the recent sacking of the Rivers State Governor, NyesomWike portend?

Pat-Anyadubalu
Pat-Anyadubalu

There is nothing extra ordinary about it. This is not the first time the election of a sitting governor is being nullified. Mr Celestine Omehia was sacked by the Supreme Court and replaced by his cousin, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Dr. Chris Ngige was also sacked and replaced by Mr Peter Obi ditto Mr. Andy Uba.

In Wike’s case, a rerun was ordered. Again, mind you that Governor Wike has appealed against the judgment and there are still two hurdles to go via Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. It is not yet Uhuru for any party. The legal contest is still open.

What are the chances of the parties?

I have not read the judgments and the notice of Appeal by the Appellant. Therefore, it will be inappropriate to comment on the chances of the parties. We should refrain from making inflammatory or derogatory attacks on the judiciary. Some of the vitriolic attacks on the judiciary especially by politicians are condemnable. If the judgment is unacceptable to you, please exercise your right of appeal.

What is your take on the perceived marginalization of the Igbo by the Buhari Administration in political appointments and ministerial nominations?

I think the outcry was not unfounded especially regarding the appointments. Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended guarantees that the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and conduct of its affairs shall reflect federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national Unity, the government has a moral duty to observe this provision.

Recently, over 20 appointments were announced and non among these appointments came from the South-East Zone. However, there are ministerial nominees which the South East has got its equitable share of one ministerial nominee from their States.

But even with the ministerial nominees, the agitation is still on

Yes, there is the contention that the ministerial nominees were based on the constitutional provisions that each State must have a minister. Therefore it cannot be a replacement for the earlier denial of the appointment.

How do you think Buhari Administration can pacify Ndigbo in terms of political appointments?

The answer is simple. While Ndigbo are waiting for their fair share of political appointment, Mr President can use this opportunity of appointment of ministers by ensuring that ministers from South- East are given Grade A ministries. These are Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige and Ogbonna Onu, two prominent faces of All Progressives Congress (APC) and well loved by Ndigbo. This is without prejudice to other nominees or other members of APC from the South-East.

Ngige for example is articulate, assiduous and has proved himself as a performer. Ngige is a game changer and he did same in Anambra State. His presence and his brother, Onu no doubt will, to a great extent, begin to restore the confidence of Ndigbo in Buhari Administration pending when the Ndigbo will receive their fair share from the Administration.

How will Ndigbo be compensated regarding other appointments?

There are other boards of parastatals, which Ndigbo may also be prominently represented. Above all, there are certain facilities that are very dear to Ndigbo like the Second Niger Bridge, the rehabilitation of federal roads like Enugu- Onitsha Expressway, Enugu – Port Expressway, full implementation of Enugu International Airport, Energy etc.

President Buhari will write his name in gold if he completes second Niger Bridge and tackle corruption. The system is built on corruption therefore it will be difficult to eradicate it. We only talk about corruption of political office holders who are products of the society. To eradicate corruption, we must start from the citizens, when the citizens are exorcised of corrupt tendencies, there will be revolution to fight against corruption and corrupt officials.


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