AKHA: Stay Of Executive Order, Too Little Too Late For Ituen, Others –Barr. Andem
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley |
The Special Assistant to the Governor Legal Matters, Barr. Ndem Andem, has described the efforts by the former member representing Itu State Constituency, Hon. Idongesit Ituen, to obtain a stay of execution from the Federal High Court in order to reverse his eviction from the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, as a move rather too late.
Speaking on a live radio programme, Akwa Ibom Rising, on Inspiration FM on developing issues in the polity, Barr. Andem stated that the Stay of Execution cannot be granted on an action that has already been carried out, adding that the seat has already been deemed vacant and stay of execution cannot return Idongesit Ituen and his co-travelers back on seat.
He said “The seats had already been declared vacant on Monday as provided by the Constitution of the country.
“Mr. Idongesit Ituen, and his co-travelers remain former members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, except a higher court gives contrary ruling in their favour.”
“There was nothing wrong to justify the defections by the lawmakers to APC as required by the constitution. It was a follow-follow defection.”
“Stay of Execution cannot be granted on an action that has already been carried out. The seat has already been deemed vacant and stay of execution means that the status quo remains. What is the status quo?
“The status quo as that the seats had on Monday been declared vacant as provided by the constitution of our country. Mr. Idongesit Ituen, and his co-travelers remain former members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, except a higher court gives contrary ruling in their favour. ”
It could be recalled that Idongesit Ituen had left the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state without providing tangible reasons.
According Barr. Andem, there was no crisis or division in the PDP to justify the defection of any member as required by the Constitution, unlike the crisis in APC that gave birth to Reformed APC at the national level and the Real APC in the state, hence the decision of the member representing Uruefong Oruko State Constituency, Hon. Asuquo Archibong, to decamp from APC to PDP as required by the Constitution.
“No APC member challenged the defection of Hon Archibong, because it was difficult for any of the factions to lay claims on him.”
Barr Ndem said that the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Luke, gave the five former lawmakers, what he termed reasonable time to provide credible evidence but they failed, hence his decision to act on the order of the court to declare their seats vacant.
It would be recalled that the matter in the federal high court was even instituted by Hon. Idongesit Ituen, who sought the protection of the court to prevent the speaker from declaring his seat vacant.
The speaker had filed a counterclaim, seeking for “a declaration that having defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress before the expiration of the tenure of four years for which he was elected to serve, Hon. Idongesit Ntuen has therefore lost his seat as a lawmaker in the State House of Assembly.
The Federal High Court sitting in Uyo and presided over by Justice F.O. Riman, passed a verdict asking Idongesit Ituen to vacate the Itu State Constituency seat in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly with immediate effect with reference to the Constitution of the Federation according to section 109 sub 1 (g).
The court order also restrained the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly or any other person acting on his behalf (including the staff of the House of Assembly) from further recognising Hon. Idongesit Ituen as a member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Idongesit Ituen however approached the same High Court on Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, and got an order from the same Justice Riman granting a stay of execution on the ruling that he earlier gave which gave a notice prompting the Speaker to sack Ituen and was carried out.