Tenure Elongation: Go To The Field, Court Tells Governor Uduaghan
SAN FRANCISCO, March 15, (THEWILL) - The move by the Delta State incumbent governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to bar the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting April’s governorship election in the state has failed due to a Federal High Court Asaba ruling that he has no locus standi to enjoy such privilege following the signing into law of the amended electoral act.
The governor had argued that since the 2007 governorship election in the state was annulled by a Court of Appeal, and a rerun was conducted, where he was declared winner and took another oath of office, his fresh four-year tenure ought to have started in January 2011.
But his in his verdict, Presiding Judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba said that the prayers of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on his constitutional tenure was uncalled for adding that Dr. Uduaghan should not depend on court to give him victory but should get it in the field.
Justice Buba noted that the amended 1999 constitution took effect from 16th July, 2010, signed into law on 10th January, 2011, the day Governor Uduaghan took another Oath of Office.
According to the Judge, court cannot be swayed into granting elongation to his (Uduaghan) tenure but should go to the field (election) for victory, stressing that Uduaghan’s case was different from those five governors that were granted tenure elongation by Abuja court recently.
Justice Buba therefore ruled that Uduaghan’s case has to be determined by the section 180 sub section 2(A) of 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, saying that the 1999 Constitution does not allow a sitting governor to spend 7 years as against four years as the initial Oath of Allegiance taken by Uduaghan cannot be thrown out, but also counts.
In his reaction shortly after the judgement, Chief Great Ogboru, DPP Governorship Candidate for April 2011 elections described the victory as “Quite scholarly, very brilliant, very incisive, intelligent as well as a sound judgment.”
Chief Ogboru who was reacting through his younger brother, Mr. Turner Ogboru, said it was a clear case from what he heard in court, saying “You see when you look at the constitutional perspective, it is very clear that section 180 sub section 2(A) of 1999 constitution came into effect from 16th of July.”
THEWILL gathered that the governor had already commenced his campaign for the April election and was on a campaign stomp in the Delta North Senatorial zone when the court delivered its verdict.
Meanwhile after what Deltans described as land mark judgement, Gov. Uduaghan’s loyalists and supporters who had came to the court with their dancing regalia and drums left the court without any fanfare.
Some market women, students, civil servants, Okada riders and motorists were seen jubilating in the state capital.
After his rerun victory, Uduaghan had moved to mend the cracks in the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).