At last, the erstwhile chairman of the Anambra state Independent Electoral Commission(ANSIEC), Prof Titus Eze has dragged Gov Peter Obi and the state House of Assembly(ANHA) to court challenging the manner of his sack, last September 6, 2011.
The suit Ref. A/136/2011 has been fixed for hearing this morning before His Lordship Justice Ozor of the state High Court 3, Awka.
Among the four key issues for determination being canvassed by Prof Eze were that he was irregularly removed as due process was not followed, and that by virtue of Sec 199(1) with which he was appointed, and Sec 201(1) and 125(3), (4), and (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his removal was unconstitutional.
Especially when there was no audit report or query to him or was he summoned or given opportunity before any administrative, judicial or legislative panel for his defense or answer any charges for which he was indicted.
According to Prof Eze’s originating summons, “in view of the fact that the defendants did not comply with Sec 201(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federation, and the fact that he was not removed for misconduct, moreso that the Auditor General of the state relied on his periodic inspection cannot be the basis of misconduct which misconduct is unfounded.”
Citing the case of Gov of Kwara state Vs Ojibara. NWLR p661 as decided Justice Oguntade, of the Supreme Court, Eze saw his ouster as judicial ambush which short-circuited all legal norms of natural justice, hence rendering their actions null and void.
Eze therefore wants his sack to be reversed and for the governor to be restrained from appointing anyone in his stead until the full determination of his suit. He was appointed in May 2010, for a five year term as the chairman of ANSIEC.
The suit, some political observers noted would help to put the conduct of the council election in the state on hold pending the final determination of the suit. This does not augur well for the state that last held council election in 1998.
However, others have expressed readiness to go to court to restrain the Minister Of Finance, the Accountant General of the Federation and the Fiscal, Revenue Mobilization and Allocation committee from releasing the allocations due the 21 councils in the state to Governor Obi pending the conduct of the council election in the state.