Confusion in Bauchi as court orders reinstatement of impeached deputy gov

THE PUNCH Newspaper

There was confusion within the hierarchy of Bauchi State Government and the State Peoples Democratic Party on Friday immediately a State High Court ordered that the impeached deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Garba Gadi, be reinstated to office without delay.

Justice Haruna Tsammani of Bauchi State High Court 4, who delivered the ruling, also ordered the sitting deputy governor, Alhaji Babayo Garba, to vacate the office immediately and allow Gadi to resume duty.

Justice Tsammani also directed the state government to pay Gadi‘s salaries and allowances accruing to him while the illegal impeachment lasted. The judge described the seven-man committee set up by the Bauchi State House of Assembly as being in complete conflict with the integrity of the court of law.

Gadi was impeached on August 14, 2009 for his refusal to defect from the All Nigeria Peoples Party to the PDP like the governor, Alhaji Isa Yuguda.

Gadi was removed while still attending a meeting with the late president Umaru Yar‘Adua in Abuja. Yuguda is married to one of the daughters of the late president.

After the judgment, Gadi‘s counsel, Sani Gabas, told anxious reporters at the Court premises that his client was not anticipating any problem from the state government on its adherence to the court judgment.

He said, ”Whether there is any problem or not we have succeeded and if the government opts for an appeal our client will respond.”

The counsel also advised the supporters of Gadi to remain law abiding in their jubilations as well as abide by the rule of law and assert their rights wherever it is infringed.

Another lawyer on Gadi‘s defence team, Mr. Ado Dauda, described the judgment as ”a victory for the rule of law; a victory for justice, a victory for the masses and a victory for the truth.”

He added, ”If people are anticipating that there will be appeal there is a Court order and they must abide by it because they are bound by it; they must before the appeal abide by the court order. There is no need for enforcement once there is a court order, it is enforced. You don‘t need to enforce it unless there is failure; that is if the authorities fail to effect it. By the Law, Garba Gadi is now the deputy governor.”

Gadi, who welcomed the judgment, said if the governor or the State House of Assembly decided to appeal against the judgment, he‘s prepared to meet them in court, adding that the judgment showed that Nigerian legal system was functional and doing the right thing.

In his own reaction to the judgment, Mr. Ben Oguchi, who held brief for Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, counsel to the Bauchi State Government, said the Judge had done his job, but if his client was dissatisfied with the judgment, he had an option to appeal.

The counsel added that the position of the law provides for submission of application of ”Stay of the execution of the judgment” pending the determination of a suit at the Court of Appeal.

He said, ”The lower court has done its own bit; it is left for our clients to decide. The moment they decide and instruct us we‘ll go ahead and lodge an appeal. You know the judgment is appealable; we can appeal against it..”

Gadi lost his office in August 2009 and thereafter vowed to challenge his impeachment, which he described as a ”fraud” in court.

The leadership of the ANPP has, however, described Gadi‘s reinstatement as a welcome development.

ANPP spokesperson, Chief Emma Eneukwu, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the party was aware from the beginning that the way the deputy governor was removed was illegal.

He said the party was sure that the judiciary would upturn the impeachment. He, therefore, called on the members of the Bauchi House of Assembly who defected to the PDP to be ready to vacate their seats.

He said, ”We are happy with the ruling; it is a welcome development. We have been saying that the judiciary remains the bedrock of democracy and the only weapon the opposition has.

”Those lawmakers who also defected to the PDP without vacating their seats as stated in the Constitution should also be jittery by now because they are going to vacate their seats.”


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