Court rejects Uduaghan's bid to stay beyond May 29

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An Asaba based Federal High Court, has ruled that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan's tenure ends on May 29, 2011 as he is not entitled to stay in office till January, 2015, by virtue of the fresh oath of office and oath of allegiance that he took on January 10, 2011 when he was the January 6, 2011 governorship re-run election in the state.

By this judgment, the April 16 Governorship Election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will hold as planned, except the decision is overturned by a superior court.

However, the trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba was categorical in his judgment that Governor Uduaghan was caught up by the newly amended Section 180 (2) A of the 1999 Constitution, which clearly stipulates that the period already spent in office by a Governor whose election was cancelled and a re-run ordered counts if he wins the re-run election.

The amended section was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan at about 10.00 am on 10th January, the same day Dr. Uduaghan took oath of office and oath of allegiance, between 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm, for a second time as governor, after his April 14, 2007 victory was nullified on November 9, 2010 by the Court of Appeal, Benin City.

Justice Buba added “I am of the considered opinion that the mandate of the governor is with the electorate and does not lie with the court under a thin disguise of official interpretation”.

Governor Uduaghan who was apparently not bothered about the ruling, continued his campaign which kicked off in Obiaruku today.