That they were able to play the legal system of our country and stay an extra nine months? Wow!
The Supreme Court has just removed five state governors in an unprecedented and epic ruling. The 7-panel justices headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher, delivered its ruling in the controversial tenure elongation suit filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking to quash the tenure elongation approved for the 5 governors by a Federal High Court and upheld by an appeal court.
The five governors are Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aliyu Wammako, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris (Kogi State), Admiral Murtala Nyako (Adamawa State), and Senator Liyel Imoke (Cross River State). The five of them belong to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a unanimous decision, a 7-man panel of justices of the apex court, maintained that the affected governors exceeded the 4-years tenure that was specifically stipulated in section 180(2) of the 1999 constitution.
Counsequently,it made an order setting aside the two lower courts judgments that ab-initio elongated the tenure of the governors till this year.
The fate of Nyako and Imoke is uncertain as both have already secured their party’s ticket ahead of their State’s governorship elections scheduled to hold at different dates this year.
It is now expected that the Speakers of the House of Assembly in the affected states will now take over, in acting capacity, the functions of the governors of those states.
I love Prof. Pat Utomi’s take:
“The traditions of democratic culture and its institutions must evolve naturally. Today, the Supreme Court of Nigeria made a major input to the evolution of the institution of democracy in Nigeria by removing the obtuse structure of judicial elongation of tenure. It is my hope and prayer that this is just one installment in bringing real democracy to Nigeria where many unsuitable people have taken advantage of an unenlightened electorate and the fact that many decent patriots did not trust that the military were really going in 1999 to institute a political culture that has not served the Nigerian people well. There may well be hope that these kinds of decisions will result in a democracy in which the will of the people is sovereign and power serves the people rather than the people serving power and the love of power is replaced by the power of love. It should also signal that impunity may not last forever. ”
- INEC vs 5 govs: Reactions as S/Court’s defer hearing (vanguardngr.com)
- BAYELSA HOUSE SPEAKER MAY ACT AS GOVERNOR FOR A MONTH – John Idumange (transformationwatch.wordpress.com)
- Judiciary in 2011: A theatre of unexpected and suspense (vanguardngr.com)
- TENURE OF FIVE GOVERNORS: Searchlight beams on Supreme Court (vanguardngr.com)