The former deputy governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Bala James Ngilari, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking an order compelling his swearing in as the governor of the state.
Ngilari, who purportedly addressed his resignation letter to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Ahmadu Fintiri, who is now the acting governor, following the impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako, is asking the court to declare his July 14, 2014 resignation letter as illegal, null and void.
In his suit, marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/545/14, Ngilari argued that his resignation letter was in breach of the provisions of sections 306(1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution, because it was addressed to the Speaker and acted upon by the House of Assembly.
According to his lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, the constitution provides that a deputy governor, who intends to resign from office, is “strictly” required by the provisions of the law to send his resignation letter to the governor and not the Speaker of the House of Assembly as his client did.
Recall that as at the time Ngilari’s letter was read on the floor of the assembly and acted upon by lawmakers, Nyako had not yet been impeached, which effectively means that he did not satisfy the provisions of the constitution to make his purported resignation stand.
The defendants in the suit are the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, the House itself, Ahmadu Fintiri, who was sued as an individual and as the Acting Governor of the state, Nyako and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The plaintiff asked the court to nullify the declaration of his office vacant on the account of his resignation letter dated July 14 and also the subsequent swearing in of Fintiri as the acting governor on July 15.
He is also seeking an injunction restraining the INEC from conducting election for the office of the governor of the state.
He argued that based on his purported illegal resignation, he was the one who ought to have been rightfully sworn in as governor after Nyako was impeached from office.
The plaintiff’s prayers read in part, “A declaration that by the combined provisions of section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the Plaintiff (Bala James Ngilari), as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, did not resign his office by addressing a letter of resignation dated July 15, 2014 to the 1st defendant (Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly).
“A declaration that by the combined provisions of section 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the purported resignation of the Plaintiff as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State did not take effect when the purported Letter of Resignation was received by the 1st Defendant (Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly) on the July 15, 2014.
“An order of injunction restraining the 6th defendant (INEC) whether by itself, its agents, servants, privies, officers or otherwise howsoever, from conducting a bye-election to fill the office of the Governor of Adamawa State as a consequence of the impeachment of the 5th defendant (Murtala Nyako) and the purported/unconstitutional resignation of the plaintiff (Bala James Ngilari) as Deputy Governor of Adamawa State”.
The case has not been assigned to any judge.