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TENURE EXTENSION: FIVE GOVERNORS KNOW FATE JANUARY 31

By NBF News
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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday fixed January 31, 2011 for its judgment in a consolidated suit through which the five governors of Kogi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Bayelsa and Cross River states are seeking elongation of their tenure in office to 2012.

Justice Adamu Bello had fixed the date following the adoption of briefs of arguments by lawyers to the governors and the defendants.

The lawyers - Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN); a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN); Mr. Samson Ameh (SAN), Mr. Ladi Rotimi Williams (SAN) and Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN) had represented the governors - Ibrahim Idris (Kogi); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto), Timipriye Sylva (Bayelsa) and Liyel Imoke (Cross River) respectively.

The lawyers had asked the court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Peoples Democratic Party from conducting elections in the five states next year on the grounds that their tenure would still be subsisting.

They informed the court that INEC came to the wrong conclusion that their tenure would expire in 2011 based on the nullification of their elections by the court.

Fagbemi stated that the tenure of the governors could not lapse in 2011 because they took oath of office and oath of allegiance in 2008 after those of the 2007 had been voided and set aside by different courts.

But the case took a new twist when the Federal Government and the PDP engaged in a war of words in the open court.

The Federal Government and PDP took different positions even though they were both defendants in the case.

The government raised an objection against the hearing of the case by the court and urged the court to dismiss it for lack of merit.

The Federal Government openly took a swipe at the PDP accusing the party of 'playing the devil's advocate' in its tacit support for the consolidated case of the governors.

The lawyer to the Federal Government, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who stood for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) accused PDP of playing unholy roles the suit.

The government's lawyer argued that no tenure elongation should be granted to any of the five governors since the amended 1999 constitution was against the development.

Responding, the PDP accused the government of attempting to twist the law and the decision of the Supreme Court on the controversial governorship tenure.