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NEW BAYELSA DEPUTY GOVERNOR DEFIES APPEAL COURT

By NBF News

Newly sworn in Bayelsa State Deputy-Governor, Hon. Werinipre Seibarugu, is carrying on with the functions of the office despite the ruling of the Court of Appeal that the status quo should be maintained.

Seibarugu had inaugurated five new commissioners shortly after his own inauguration and has also been receiving visitors on behalf of the state government.

Counsels to parties in the case have interpreted the court order in different ways causing some confusion in the polity.  While the counsel to the sacked deputy-governor, Alex Iziyon (SAN) said the court order means his client, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi remains the deputy-governor, Sebastian Hon (SAN) said the status quo as at the time of the court pronouncement was the inauguration of a new deputy governor.

In his reaction to the situation, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Legal Matters, Mr Dennis Otiotio, appealed to people not to allow themselves be confused.

According to him, a careful study of the court order would reveal that the court did not reinstate Ebebi as the deputy-governor.  Meanwhile, the Action Congress (AC) has hailed the pronouncement of the court, stating that it is in the best interest of the rule of law and Nigeria's democracy.

The AC in a statement signed by the party's State Chairman, Miriki Ebikibina said the decision of the Appeal Court was a mark of respect for the proceedings of the rule of law, fairness and equity which the High Court sitting in Yenagoa failed to adhere to when it struck out the case challenging the impeachment process and the composition of the investigative panel.

The statement reads in part: The court ruling has vindicated the position of the party on the need to respect the rule of law, equity and fairness on the controversial impeachment saga and save the state from further monumental embarrassment. The party faults the hurried swearing-in of the former speaker as the new deputy-governor at 12 noon instead of the 2.00 pm that has been announced. The party described the action of  the Chief Judge who is the custodian of the law in the state as not only illegal, sad and unfortunate but also partisan.