Amaechi Suspension: Northern Govs Set To Leave PDP?

Rotimi-AmaechiIn apparent reaction to the suspension on Monday of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State from the Peoples Democratic Party, northern governors on the platform of the PDP were said to be considering leaving the party because of what they considered as “the narrowing of democratic options.”

Some of them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, according to what Information Nigeria gathered, decried the alleged intolerance in the PDP.

It was rife yesterday evening that about 14 Governors had tendered their letters of resignation from the party although as at the time of publishing this report, it has not been officially confirmed but an aide to one of the governors in the region said consultations on how to respond to the suspension of Amaechi were underway.

The source said, “We saw this coming and we have begun consultations.

“This is politics; there are National Working Committee members who are with us. We built this party from the scratch and we cannot be shoved aside.

“It is either they allow true democracy to prevail or we seek our political fortunes elsewhere. Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), there are other platforms available today.

According to the source, it would be political suicide for any governor to openly challenge the party at this time but added, “My boss and his colleagues are also happy that at least Nigerians at home and abroad see what is happening.

“No matter how much the PDP wants to conceal it, everybody knows that Amaechi is being victimised for daring to stand for and win the governors’ forum election.

“Amaechi’s suspension is meant to scare those who support him. Northern governors are aware that his problem stems from his perceived support for the emergence of a northern candidate for the 2015 elections.”


  1. For God’s sake, why can we get things right for once.
    It is only in Nigeria people like Jonathan is elected in exalted position like the presidency.
    That imbecile should be apologizing to Nigerians for his fruitless trip to Ethiopia, for been such a drunkard and for missing his chance to deliver speech during the AU meeting. Such a national disgrace, how come the governors forum election turned more important to Jonathan than the whole country that he had to disgrace us that much? Recall my last submission supporting Asari in his broadcast, i made it clear that i do not support Jonathan as though i saw this national disgrace coming.
    PDP can not bamboozle Nigerians for ever, enough is enough for all this stupidity. Who is talking about corruption? What is the hand work of Patience Goodluck Jonathan and who does not know how much she has in landed property i Abuja. How about the court case between the wife of ex president Late Yaradua and Patience GoodLuck Jonathan? what do you call that national disgrace and display of greed by those women?
    As much as i do not exonerate Amechi of corruption, i do not see any where he has gone wrong contesting and winning an election.
    Any of this criminal government officials who said they have no sin should cast the first stone at Chibuike Amechi.
    How come that private Jet has suddenly become a big deal when the presidency could dish out so much money that will better the life of millions of poor Nigerians to buy PRIVATE JET for ordinary pastors.
    Did they not give AYO ORISAJIAFOR private jet, what was that for?
    All Nigerian pastors are now competing with ownership of private jet and some one is killing Amechi for ownership of Private Jet.
    You the criminal PDP chairman of Rivers State are you educated at all? you have been in the corridor of power for long and still does not know who’s responsibility it is to re-instate the Obiakpor LG executives. shame on you for been such an idiot.
    For those of you who just post comments without critically analyzing issues should think twice and be reasonable.
    Not discountenancing the fight against Boko haram and there God fathers, i maintain that we have not seen the end to the blunder of this man call Jonathan.
    Some one should tell the likes of Reuben Abati to resign for feeding Nigerians with lies and false presentations of situation.
    A president that gets himself so drunk to the extent that he misses his slot to make a speech is not fit to rule over a local government.
    God Bless Nigeria

  2. I have read, from varried sources, of the matter of a controversial aircraft, ordered grounded at an airport, in Nigeria, by a statutory agency of the Government of the Federation.

    Official reason for the grounding, by the National Civil Aviation Administration (NCAA) is, among others, “non-declaration” of flight manifest by the aircraft. This reason is vehemently disputed by the Government of Rivers State, which claims ownership of the aircraft. The Claimant adds that, in any event, the reason, even if granted, without conceding, is not a compelling federal ground for the grounding, in view of the aircraft’s “communicated” information to authorities of the airport, at landing, of Rivers State “sovereign” status of its manifest.

    It is stated by the prosecuting federal agency that the aircraft’s conduct or omission, as regarded by operational code of flights on Nigeria airspace, constitutes flagrant “illegal operation,” among other alleged misconduct of the aircraft.

    The Government of Rivers State claims the grounded aircraft as its property. It says the aircraft operates on Nigeria airspace and lands at any lawful airport in Nigeria as its executive aircraft, as used by the Governor of the State.

    But the prosecuting agency disputes Rivers State’s claim of ownership of the aircraft. The agency shows that the aircraft is foreign-registered; thus “foreign-owned” and, to that extent, treated as such, if it “commits offense” contrary to operational code of federal regulation of flight on Nigeria airspace and landing right at its airports.

    It is alleged that the aircraft’s prosecuting federal agency knows, or “should know” that the aircraft is owned by the Government of Rivers State; that purported “foreign registration” of the aircraft is not a compelling ground for the grounding; that the aircraft is not on “commercial,” but “sovereign,” duty, see Verlinden B.V v Central Bank of Nigeria, 461 U.S 480 (1983), as the aircraft is transporting the Governor of Rivers State, as at the time the aircraft is at the airport at which it is grounded.

    On grounding of the aircraft, I demur. My demurral is based on recurring non-performance, in Nigeria, of settled structure and praxis of federalism, in regard to coordinate harmony of state-federal relations. Fissures in coordinate state-federal harmony are recurring decimal in contemporaneous “practice direction” of separation of powers and jurisdiction between the Government of the Federation and of the several states, as ordained by the Constitution of Nigeria. See Attorney Gen of Ondo State v Attorney Gen of the Federation, Supreme Ct of Nigeria (2002).

    When the Governor of a state of the federation travels, within the federation, by air, land or water, the Governor travels as sovereign of the federating state. He governs his state, within 21 days, out of the state, from anywhere in the federation. The controversial nature of Rivers State, or foreign, ownership of the grounded aircraft, or country of its registration, is notwithstanding; the controversy has neither federal nor constitutional standing. See Macebuh, “On Independent and Adequate Grounds for Delimitation of Concept of the Constitutional for Advancement of the Federal,” Vanguard Nigeria (February 17, 2013). The aircraft, which is known, or should have been known, by its landing airport authorities, to be on non-commercial, but sovereign, flight and, by its manifest, “carrying” a sovereign, overrules the controversy.

    As executive sovereign of a state of the federation, any interacting agency of government, state and federal, shall, by canons of sovereign immunity of states, and the Constitution of Nigeria, accord the Governor full faith and credit, honor, respect and regard. It shall extend to the Governor all complementing executive protocols, apportunances and privileges, as may be related, as necessary and proper, to a sovereign, under sovereign immunity, while the sovereign is, ab initio, known to be visiting with a state, Federal Capital Territory, or other Territories and Possessions of the Federation, or making “innocent passage” through any or all parts of the Federation.

    The Governor shall not be estopped or inconvenienced by any action of any official of government, state or federal, acting in individual or official capacity, under any whims or caprices. No duty, state or federal, shall be imposed on the Governor while he is out of the Seat of the Government and Boundary of his state, on federal grounds, without consent of the Governor. Printz v United States, 521 US 898 (1997); Seminole Tribe of Florida v Florida, 517 US 44 (1996) (Congress has no power under the Commerce Clause of Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States to subject a state [and, by extension, its Governor] to citizen suit; Section 308, Const of Nigeria; or to any official action of government, state or federal, without consent of the State); United States v Lopez, 514 US 549 (1995).

    In Hans v. Louisiana, 134 US 1 (1890), the Supreme Court of the United States held the Eleventh Amendment (1795) a re-affirmation of sovereign immunity of states, which are, therefore, generally immune from suit in federal court without their consent.

    In strengthening the immunity of states from suit, the Court, in later cases, as in Blatchford v. Native Village of Noatak, 501 US 775(1991), among others, explained:

    “We have understood the Eleventh Amendment to stand not so much for what it says, but for the presupposition of constitutional structure, which it confirms: that the States entered the federal system with their sovereignty intact[;] that the judicial authority in Article III is limited by this sovereignty, and that a State will therefore not be subject to suit in federal court unless it has consented to suit, either expressly or in the “plan of the Convention.”

    In Alden v. Maine, 527 US 706 (1999), the Court explained that while it has
    sometimes referred to the States’ immunity from suit as “Eleventh Amendment immunity[,]” [that] phrase is [a] convenient shorthand but something of a misnomer[. This is because] the sovereign immunity of the States neither derives from nor is limited by the terms of the Eleventh Amendment. Rather, as the Constitution’s structure, its history, and the authoritative interpretations by this Court make clear, the States’ immunity from suit is a fundamental aspect of the sovereignty which the States enjoyed before the ratification of the Constitution, and which they retain today (either literally or by virtue of their admission into the Union upon an equal footing with the other States), except as altered by the plan of the Convention or certain constitutional Amendments.

    Writing for the court in Alden, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that in view of this, and given the limited nature of Congressional power, as delegated by the original unamended Constitution, the Court could not “conclude that the specific Article I powers delegated to Congress necessarily include, by virtue of the Necessary and Proper Clause, or otherwise, the incidental authority to subject the States to private suits as a means of achieving objectives otherwise within the scope of the enumerated powers.”

    This federalist principle is applicable to Nigeria, as similar federal constitutional republic as the United States.

    The Government of the Federation of Nigeria acts, in most part, in representative capacity for the several states of the federation. The airspace of Nigeria with its federal regulation constitutes airspace of the several states of the federation, combined; it belongs not to the Government of the Federation, to the exclusion of the Governments of the several states.

    Prior to the amalgamation of the distinct British Colonial Protectorates, leading to the formation of “what is now called Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria, for short), there existed, at various times, sovereign states, known as emirates, kingdoms and empires, made up of ethnic groups in Nigeria. Each was independent of the other with its mode of government, indigenous to it. At one time, or another, these sovereign states were either making wars with each other, or making alliances, on equal terms. This position existed throughout the land now known as Nigeria. In the Niger Delta, for instance, there were the O[k]rikas, Ijaws, Kalabaris, Efiks, Ibibios, Urhobos, Itshekiris, etc. Indeed, certain of these communities (Calabar) asserted exclusive rights over the narrow waters in their area. And because of the terrain, they made use of the rivers and the sea for their economic advancement[, and i]n fishing, trade and in making wars too. Trade then was not only among themselves but with foreign nations, particularly European nations who sailed to their shores, for palm oil, kernel and slaves.” Attorney Gen of the Federation v Attorney Gen of Abia State & Ors, S Ct 28 (2001).

    At formation of the Nigerian Federation, these sovereign states collectively surrendered to their new federal center their respectively essential sovereign powers, as above, etc, for presumably a more, but elusive, “perfect union;” powers they would retain and exercise, without abatement, if they had not been coerced into this federation, voluntarily formed, or joined, it, on equal terms.

    There is related matter, on state-federal relations. It is on another issue of aircraft, involving, as here, the Government of Rivers State, on one hand, and the Government of the Federation, on the other. It is on purchase of a helicopter, by the Government of Rivers State.

    The matter involves alleged “summons” by the National Security Adviser to the President of Nigeria, issued to the Commissioner of Information of the Government of Rivers State. The “summons,” according to the media, is for the Commissioner to “appear” in the office of the “National Security Adviser,” in Abuja. Purpose for the “summons” is for the Commissioner to “come and explain” to the “National Security Adviser,” on “when, how, why and wherefrom,” etc, of purchase of the helicopter by the Government of Rivers State.

    On “summons,“ by a ‘federal’ official, acting in his official capacity, to a state official, in her official capacity, I write, abridged, to the following effect.

    As arising under federalist praxis, in a federal state, as adverted of Nigeria, there is need to know, for state-federal harmony, the “independent and adequate” or compelling federal ground, if any, for a federal official, acting in his official capacity, to ‘summon’ a state official, in her official capacity, to ‘appear’ in the offices of the federal official, for the state official to ‘explain’ to the federal official, a state action, of the purchase of a helicopter, by her state govt!

    But, as an initial matter, we take a look at this issue of “national security adviser” with reach and “powers” of the office.

    A “national security adviser” is NOT a national officer of the federation. A national security adviser is not a constitutional officer of the Government of the Federation, in the same mode and manner as Minister or statutory officer of the Government of the Federation. This is to the effect that the office of national security adviser is unknown to and thus alien of the Constitution of Nigeria. In making provision for offices of the Executive Branch of the Government of the Federation, as national officers or officers of the federation, the Constitution ordains, among others, office of “Special Adviser” to the President, subject to “advice and consent” of the Senate; it ordains none as office of “national security adviser;” and there is no statutory provision for it, unlike the 1947 United States statute that created the NSC, without any mention of “national security adviser,” but “Executive Assistant to the President” on national security.

    The “national security adviser” is not subject to Senate Confirmation and, thus, not a national officer. The officer belongs to the Executive Office of the President, just as much as “senior special assistant,” to the President, and he or she speaks for and answerable ONLY to the President.

    This officer of the President may be summoned by the legislature on issue/s connected to the office, but only on standing, or case-by-case, waiver of “executive privilege” of the President.

    In summary, a national security adviser is not a national officer of the federation. The holder of the office has neither federal nor constitutional power to “summon” a constitutional officer of a state to “do this or that.” Not even the President has power to “summon” a state official. The President can give directive to officers of the Executive Branch of the Government of the Federation, and command the armed forces, as Commander-in-Chief; he has no federal power to direct or issue command to any other person; as the President is not Commander-in-Chief of the Federation. Accord, Nwabueze (2001). This is so, to the effect that “the President is not the United States [or Federal Republic of Nigeria].” O’Melveny & Myers v FDIC, 512 US 79 (1994); Clinton v Jones, 520 US 681(1997).

    But, on war, as may, or not, be declared by the federal legislature, or on operation of proclamation of state of emergency, as provided by the Constitution of Nigeria, the President may, where necessary and proper, for effective, expeditious and successful prosecution of the war, or emergency, assume and exercise marshal powers, on all persons within the zone of the war, or emergency. And presidential assumption and exercise of such extraordinary war or Emergency powers shall, where reasonably tailored, without suspension or abbrogation of guaranteed civil rights of the citizens, pass constitutional muster.

    On assumption and exercise of such powers, by the President, it may reasonably be presented by informed citizens, on the subject, that there cannot be found in the Nigerian Constitution any textual provision of marshal or extraordinary powers; let alone the powers vested in the President, for fear of their abuse. But such controversy is the nature of federalist conflict of textualism (that which, as the Borkian ‘limiting principle’ of “originalism” suggests, is written, or not, and thus “binding”) and derivative powers (as drawn from written Law, or out of it, and thus vexiously “activist”).

    Even where such controversy arises and the National Assembly fails to provide, or knowingly withholds, marshal powers in any consequent grant of war powers to the President, for prosecution of war, or state of emergency, in absence of constitutional provision for it, the assumption and exercise of the powers shall be deemed to have independent and adequate federal ground to sustain it, as derivable from the President’s “Oath of Office” power, to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution of Nigeria.

    Moreover, it is settled, under federal structure that neither the federal government nor its officials, acting in official capacity, can direct or compel a state or its officials to require enforcement of or enforce federal advice, even law, within the state, or be compelled to do this or that, without consent of the state. Laws of the federation, as competently made, by the federal legislature, regulate conduct of persons and property, and not the several states. A state is equal in the community of sovereinties. Printz v United States, 521 US 898 (1997); New York v United States, 505 US 144, 182 (1992); Lane County v Oregon, 7 Wall 71, 76 (1869).

    On Nigeria’s muddled state-federal relations, it had been presented: “People must not forget that the federating units of Nigeria did not come together to form Nigeria. You had Nigeria[, which] was now creating the federating unit[s]….. So, the component units of Nigeria at all tiers derived their authority from the [central] government….” Ojo Maduekwe, “Nigeria Cannot Continue Like This…;” ThisDay 15 (May 23, 2004).

    This presumably articulated presumption of federal power over the states is but misleading. By concept, principle and praxis of federalism, “‘federating’ units” do not derive their authority from their central government, created by or for them. Their authority and powers are natural, as preexisting sovereigns, save as their essential authority and powers have been delegated, on enumeration, by them, to their central govt.

    KCU Macebuh

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