Court Rejects Application To Stop Wike’s Inauguration

Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday declined to issue an ex parte application to stop the chief judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, from swearing in the Rivers State governor-elect, Chief Nyesom Wike, on May 29, 2015.

According to Justice Ibrahim Buba, granting such an application would amount to “adding insult upon the injury” of the people of Rivers State, who currently “have no judiciary.”
The court also held that though the applicants had a meritorious cause of action because the issues bordered on the sanctity of the constitution, granting their ex parte application may occasion a state of anarchy in Rivers State.
“I am of the firm view that no court should make the order ex parte to further compound the problems in Rivers State,” the judge stated.
In the suit filed by three Lagos lawyers; Monday Ubani, John Nwokwu and Gabriel Okoro, the plaintiffs argued that Justice Abiri cannot swear Wike in because the constitution only allows the chief judge of the state or the president of the Customary Court of Appeal of Rivers State to do so.
Joined as respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/769/2015 are the attorney general of the federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Bayelsa CJ, Justice Abiri and Wike.
It will be recalled that Adoke had, in a press statement issued on May 19, directed Abiri to swear in Wike on May 29, since Rivers State currently has no substantive chief judge.
The minister said it was to avert a likely constitutional crisis in Rivers State and that the directive was in line with the constitution and urged the citizens to take note and respect it.
But in a 25-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex parte application deposed to by Nwokwu, the applicants claimed that Adoke’s directive “is already causing public confusion and uncertainty in the country.”
The applicants therefore sought an order “restraining the 2nd defendant from administering the oath of office on the 3rd respondent on the basis of the directive of the 1st respondent and to stay all actions pending the determination of the substantive suit.”
In the alternative, they wanted the court to make an order “restraining the defendants whether by themselves, agents, servants and privies from taking any further steps in connection with the matter pending determination.”
They had claimed that it would be in the interest of justice to grant the ex parte application.
Justice Buba, however, refused it, saying “we cannot all be shallow or be shallow-minded. There shall be no room for anarchy.”
The court has adjourned further hearing in the matter till June 29 to hear the motion on notice.

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