Court Dismisses President Goodluck Jonathan Constitution Review Panel-Member Motion Covering-up Constitutional Violations
ON November 17, 2011, President Jonathan inaugurated a 21-member Presidential Committee on the Review of Outstanding Constitutional Issues, with former MOSOP leader, Barrister Ledum Mitee as a member.
Although Mitee has lost his MOSOP position, a lawsuit filed against his penchant for constitution violations and degradation of court process continues to haunt him.
On May 20, 2007, while an angry former President Olusengun Obasanjo, who was in Bori to commission a memorial for Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni martyrs for which Ledum Mitee had received funding, did not see the memorial and he called Mitee a thief. Mitee now faces the Economic Financial Crimes Commission for billions of naira, including foreign donations, still unaccounted for.
From Murtala-Obasanjo to the second coming of Obasanjo, every ruler, except Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen Buhari and Gen Abdulsalami Abubarkar, has had a Constitutional Conference involved Nigerians who write Nigeria's constitution, like Mitee that have no respect for due process under the rule of law.
In a lawsuit filed by current MOSOP President and Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo, a High Court in Port Harcourt has dismissed another Motion meant to cover up violations of MOSOP Constitution by Mitee who held unto power for 14 years.
Diigbo has called for thorough judicial reforms in Nigeria aimed at a democratic climate for effective administration of justice and to encourage gender balance at the bench.
He said judicial reforms should integrate means to protect transparent judicial officers from “sharp legal practices” and that: “Speedy trial, is not only necessary, but essential for vulnerable citizens to seek justice against violation of individual rights and fundamental freedoms.”
On Tuesday, March 20, 2012 a High Court Judge, Hon. Justice C. A. Okirie in Port Harcourt, dismissed a motion by Ledum Mitee, which former MOSOP leader, had filed to challenge a lawsuit instituted by Diigbo, bordering on constitutional individual rights and collective will of the Ogoni people as provided by the MOSOP Constitution.
Similar motions by Mitee had earlier been dismissed. Mitee's series of court motions followed a High Court injunction on April 29, 2009, that restrained him from further parading and representing himself as MOSOP President.
Mitee had held MOSOP presidency without formal elections for 14 years in violation of MOSOP Constitution, which provides for only two years in office, and another two years, making a total of four years, if re-elected.
Diigbo filed the ongoing lawsuit Suit Number: BHC/36/2009, following the MOSOP General Elections held between April 10 and April 15, 2009, in which Ledum Mitee lost the presidency, while Diigbo won and was sworn-in on the 26th of April, 2009.
In Bori, the lawsuit was secretly dismissed. A female president in the High Court 2 in Bori, Hon. Justice A. I. Iyayi re-instated the case. Then, the court discovered that records of the lawsuit were all missing.
After Hon. Justice Iyayi ordered that records must be produced on a specified date, defendant lawyers began relentless verbal hostility against the judge. The court clerk linked with the defendant, later produced the files and apologized to the court and the plaintiffs.
After May 25, 2010, when another motion on jurisdictional competence by the defendant was dismissed, the defendant secretly arranged for the moving of the case to Port Harcourt. Mitee had claimed that he was no longer safe to appear in court in Ogoniland.
On reaching Port Harcourt, Mitee introduced other delaying tactics and then filed the latest motion, now dismissed by Hon. Justice Okirie.
Diigbo said although the lawsuit has taken a long time, it is already having positive impacts on the ground, by capturing the fundamental values of MOSOP, encouraging a sense of democratic accountability, public participation in decision-making, and rationality in grassroots mobilizing and organizing.
MOSOP's attorneys from Uche Onyeagucha, Chinda & Associates Law Firm, led by Attorney Iheanyichukwu Wodi argued on points of law that the lawsuit was valid and that it conjures up concepts like law and order, security, justice and peace necessary among social grouping. “No responsible social grouping,” Wodi had said, “operates without reference to law or a constitution.”
Associate Editor, MOSOP Media