BETWEEN TAMBUWAL AND TONY NWOYE
As the national Coordintor of a Democracy friendly Non-Governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS'ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) I am daily inundated with presentations from diverse schools of thought on development in the polity and some of these issues brought to our considered attention actually demand immediate advocacy campaign.
When a voluminous presentation was therefore sent to our office from the campaign office of Tony Nwoye we took time to look at the merits and otherwise of it and after thorough investigative findings we ended by faulting the failure of the speaker of the Federal House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to inaugurate Mr. Tony Nwoye as the legally recognized member to represent Anambra East/West Federal Constituency in the National Assembly.
Convinced that Tony Nwoye, the erstwhile national president of the National Association of Nigerian Students [NANS] has obtained all the legally valid requirements to be inaugurated as member of the Federal House of representatives in exercise of the mandate of his constituents since last year as a consequence of the post-2011 election litigation and pronouncements from competent courts of law, we therefore resolved to ask the House leadership to comply with the rule of law and swear -in Mr. Tony Nwoye without any further breach of the law.
Part of the larger problems afflicting and inhibiting the advancement of democracy in Nigeria is the failure of those in position of civil authority to always stick to the letters and tenets of the principle of rule of law and so when our attention was drawn to alleged abuse of office, arbitrary and unlawful act by the leadership of the Federal House of Representatives by its refusal to accord Mr. Tony Nwoye his constitutional right to be inaugurated to take his seat as the member representing Anambra East/West Federal Constituency at the National Assembly in full compliance with extant decisions of competent courts of law, I was personally disappointed because of my personal knowledge of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives as a man who respects the sanctity of the principle of rule of law given his formidable background as an activist lawyer of many years standing.
From several legal documents made available and from my analysis of the situation surrounding the matter of Tony Nwoye which in any case has been saturated in the popular press, I was made aware that on July 13th 2012, Mr. Tony Nwoye secured the order of mandamus/Judgment mandating the Independent National Electoral Commission to recognize Mr. Tony Nwoye as the candidate of the April 2011 general election and also to issue him with certificate of Return in compliance to Supreme Court of Nigeria's verdict of 9/6/2012 in appeal Number SC/69/2012 between Prince Emeka versus Lady Margery Okadigbo in which the apex Court among other prayers validly affirmed Mr. Tony Nwoye as the validly nominated candidate for the election by virtue of the fact that only the list produced by the National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party is sacrosanct.
Also information available in the public domain is to the effect that the House leadership is breaching the law by refusing to inaugurate Mr. Tony Nwoye since he is the valid holder of the certificate of return issued on 16th/7/2012 by INEC in compliance to the due process of the law making it imperative and inevitable to conclude without any shadow of doubt that any further violation of the due process of the law by the Federal House of Representatives in this instance remains an affront to democracy, rule of law and respect for the fundamental human rights of a Nigerian.
Through this medium I am therefore appealing to speaker Tambuwal as a reputable legal practitioner, to respect the due process of the law and the legal advise offered him on 12th September 2012 by the Director of legal services of the National Assembly, by immediately inaugurating Mr. Tony Nwoye as member representing Anambra East/West Federal Constituency rather than allow the current occupant of the seat who from all available court records is adjudged not to be the validly nominated candidate of the ruling party which won the coveted seat in compliance with extant decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
A salient aspect of this whole debacle is why the hierarchy of the Federal House of Representatives has failed to comply with the due process of the law when it is not in dispute that the Independent National Electoral Commission had on July 16th 2012 issued Tony Nwoye with the certificate of return as the legitimately elected member to represent his constituency at the Federal House of Representatives.
One wonders why the delay in inaugurating a man who has cleared all the constitutional hurdle including a pronouncement of the highest court in the land which is clearly in his favour even when Mrs. Okadigbo who was on the same situation had since been sworn in by the Upper legislative chamber [Senate].
The speaker must take special note not to paint a bad public image as a leadership that picks and chooses when to comply with extant judicial pronouncement because as a law making chamber the people who are the owners of the sovereignty are watching keenly to see if those who make these laws are only asking us to do as they write and not as they do.
The defence by the house spokesperson that it was following due process in this matter is a red herring since from all available legal records there is no legal impediments to the inauguration of Tony Nwoye except if there is a big political god father somewhere breathing down on the house leadership to look the other way and to continue to disrespect the decisions of the competent courts of law.
But I know the Speaker as a man who would not easily allow external forces to impede his official and public functions. All eyes are on the House particularly when the man in question Mr. Tony Nwoye has paid his dues as a pro-democracy campaigner who has worked vigorously to defend civil rule.
***Emmanuel Onwubiko, Head, Human Rights Writers' Association of Nigeria, blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com.