Refusal to swear-in three winners of Bayelsa State House of Assembly seats is illegal and unjust.
It is pertinent to note that currently, three Constituency seats are vacant in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. The seats are the Brass Constituency 2 and Ogbia Constituency 2 and 3. The reason for this anomaly is not far fetched as presently their are persons who are validly in possession of Certificate of return empowering them to occupy the above seats, yet the powers that be have not allowed them take their oath of office. This is a flagrant abuse of the rule of law and also amounts to unlawful denial of members of the affected constituencies their lawful representation in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. More so, this unlawful posture of the relevant authorities is a dangerous precedence.
It is trite that the Court of Appeal is the highest court in House of Assembly and National Assembly Election Petition matters. The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt had in their infinite wisdom declared Mr Belemote Alfred Walton, Mr Munalabh Gibson and Mr Ogbara Gabriel Michael, winners of the House of Assembly seats in Brass Constituency 2 and Ogbia Constituency 2 and 3 respectively. The decision on the Brass Constituency 2 and Ogbia Constituency 2 seats were given in early February of 2016 while that of Ogbia Constituency 3 was given as far back as early December last year. INEC has since issued them their Certificates of Return, yet the House of Assembly authority, acting on the orders of superior powers and interests, have refused swearing them in.
This present situation shows a reign of illegality and a flagrant abuse of the rule of law. Nigeria is a democratic state and Bayelsa state, which is but a part of it, is not an exception. All the institutions of government derive their powers from the constitution. The Judiciary, via the Courts, is the arm of government enshrined with the duty of interpreting and upholding the law. The refusal to swear in the said persons is a clear show of disregard to the Court of Appeal.
Furthermore, the refusal to swear in the winners of the Brass Constituency 2 and Ogbia Constituency 2 and 3 Bayelsa State House of Assembly winners amounts to an unlawful, wicked and unmeritorious denial of members of the respective constituencies their lawful representation in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. The people perpetrating this illegality should know that they are not undoing “three persons” rather they are stifling the voices of thousands of persons who are members of the respective constituencies.
Most worrisome is the fact that the ruling party in Bayelsa State by their action appears not to tolerate any opposition and this is a dangerous precedence unbecoming of a democratic state. The winning parties for the affected constituencies as declared by the Court of Appeal are as follows: All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Brass Constituency 2, Labour Party(LP) for Ogbia Constituency 2 and Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) for Ogbia Constituency 3. Meanwhile the Bayelsa State House of Assembly speaker who had to face a rerun election, won the election and had since been sworn in while the Brass Constituency 2, Ogbia Constituency 2 and 3 seats still remain in abeyance. This illegality is a dangerous precedence and must be nipped in the bud.
On this note, the Bayelsa State Chapter of Change Organisation Nigeria is calling on all well meaning members of the society to speak up against this illegality and compel the Bayelsa State House of Assembly authority to obey the Court of Appeal and swear in Mr Belemote Alfred Walton of the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), Mr Munalabh Gibson of the Labour Party (LP) and Mr Ogbara Gabriel Michael of Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) as members representing Brass Constituency 2, Ogbia Constituency 2 and 3 respectively in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
Nabai Alfred INEMUGHA Esq
Bayelsa State Cordinator CON