The Supreme Court of Nigeria has set December 18, 2018, as the date for sitting on the matter brought before it by Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike, to decide on whether elected local government chairmen he sacked from office are entitled to be joined in the matter instituted by the All Progressives Congress, APC, challenging the governor’s action.
In a sitting that lasted barely 5 minutes, the court resolved that the Department of State Security, DSS, being the 17th Respondent in the matter, be properly served by Wike.
This means that until the matter was determined, any further action, including the holding of the June 16 local government election, taken by Gov. Wike, would be both sub judice and a nullity.
One of the lawyers said: “The matter is still before the court; still pending. And since the matter is still pending, they ought to respect the processes before the court. It does not lie in their own mouth to begin to calculate when the tenure (of the elected chairmen) elapsed because the Federal High Court had said that it had nullified the election.
To them, that meant there was no election in the first place. So, if there was no election in the first place, how do you then ascribe tenure to something that had never been?
” So, it is the court that will determine whether there was an election, and if there was an election when their tenure will run in the light of the nullification done by the court. Will it begin to run when they were sworn-in or from the day the court said it was a nullity? It is for the court to determine. Not even the Supreme Court, but the Court of Appeal. So, if they sit in their bedroom and begin to calculate (the tenure of the elected chairmen), that amounts to calculating when a man yet to be born would die. So, they can do what they want to do in their lawlessness but we still have the law here. It is for the court to tell us what should be done. Not them.”
Reginald Ukwuoma stated that Wike had prayed for the exclusion of the DSS, a prayer the court declined in the manner it was presented.
“The subject matter is the same thing they want to conduct. So, by every legal implication, the matter will be sub judice. The matter is pending and if they go ahead to do election contrary to the position of the law, it is a nullity. And today the matter has been adjourned to the eighteenth of December for them to serve the Seventeenth Respondent which is the Director of SSS. And they had wanted to discontinue (them) since they couldn’t serve them but the court said no they couldn’t discontinue in that form. The court told them that they couldn’t just cross their name by a line. That they must do that formally.
“The implication in Law is very, very clear that if a subject matter has not been disposed of you can’t tamper with it in any form. It is elementary (in Law). But we know we are living in a state of anarchy where lawlessness prevails and the governor of the state is not given to rule of law.”