…Defy antics of the megalomaniac power hawks
By Benjamin Arida://
Members of the Progressive Democratic Youth Front in all the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have called on the FCT Minister, Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello to swear in the democratically elected representative of the people without further delay for the sustenance of justice and equity.
In a press statement issued and signed by leaders of the group, Sanbarka Danladi Garus, Chairman, Shehu Abdullahi Yaba, Secretary, Chika Ugochi Chinedu, Trustee among others, expressed shock over the judgement passed by a High Court in the FCT that the newly democratically elected Chairmen and Councillors of all the six Area Councils should not be sworn-in as scheduled on Friday, 20th May, 2022.
The group did not only referred to the judgement as dubious, but also explained that the basis for the judgement passed was questionable and suspicious, adding that the provisions of Section 108 do not affect the current Council elected officials in any way as their tenure has expired.
The statement read in full: With utter shock and amazement, we members of the Progressive Democratic Youth Front in all the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, received the devastating news of a cavalier judgement given by a High Court in the FCT to the effect that the newly democratically elected Chairmen and Councillors of all the six Area Councils will not be sworn-in as scheduled on Friday, 20th May, 2022.
According to the reports reaching us, the cavalier, anti-democratic and anti-people judgement followed a suit filed by the present out-going Chairmen and Councillors seeking for one year extension in their tenure on the spurious, patently illogical and irrational ground that Section 108 of the New Electoral Act, 2022 has empowered elected Councillors and Chairmen in the FCT to enjoy a four-year tenure.
While as democrats and respecters of the rule of law and the Judicial interpretations of the law, we are however concerned as we are convinced that, on the grounds of law, logic and rational reasoning, the judgement was not only dubious, questionable and suspicious as the said provisions of Section 108 do not affect the current Council elected officials in any way whatsoever besides the fact that their tenure expires on May 20th, 2022.
For one, the present Councillors were elected and sworn-in in the context of the law that stipulated a three-year term for Council Chairmen and Councillors. Therefore, in our candid opinion, and in the perception of any right-thinking, objective and informed commentators, since the provisions of Section 108 of the Electoral Act does not provide for RETROACTIVE EFFECT to its implementation, it is trite in law and in logic, for the present crop of Council Chairmen and Councillors to expect to benefit from the ‘largesse’, so to say, contained in that section of the Act.
Further to the above, it is a pertinent point to note that the Electoral Act, 2022 came into effect on the 16th of March, 2022 being the date that the Bill received Presidential Assent. How then, logically do the people that went to court and the judge that gave the verdict have expected that they should benefit when, it is critical to note, that the election of the in-coming Council Chairmen and Councillors was conducted on the 12th of February, 2022, thereby preceding the coming of the Act by clear 32 days! Pray, what a travesty of logic and judicial wisdom which in our view, amounts to somersaulting and sitting justice on its head.
We, as peace-loving, law-abiding and believers in due process and in the cause of democracy and democratic processes, we are, to say the least, flabbergasted and worried that the entire shenanigans constitute the very ominous and dangerous consequences on democracy, peace, security, serenity, tranquility and stability in the entire FCT.
Very importantly and worrisomely, the integrity of the Judiciary is once again, put on the stake, put to test and, we are afraid, is being rubbished. It is sad and painful that for whatever reasons the Judiciary is allowing itself once again to be brought down low by the avarice and inordinate political ambitions of a few maniacal, parochial power-mongers who cannot be bothered if the society goes up in flames for as long as their narrow, self-centered interests are secured.
We understand that curiously, it was only the FCT Minister, Mallam Musa Bello that was sued to the exclusion of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC who conducted the election, certified the results and issued certificates of return as well as the National Assembly who enacted the law.
Accordingly, we are appealing to the Honourable Minister, who in public perception, is seen and revered as a complete gentleman, a stickler for justice, due process, probity and transparency in the conduct of affairs of the FCT since his assumption of office, NOT to allow himself to be messed up by the antics and combustible ambitions of a few unscrupulous, unconscionable and gregarious megalomaniacs.
In other words, for the sustenance of justice and equity and fair play, the FCT Minister should go ahead and swear-in the democratically and popularly elected representative of the people.