Anambra State V. Dr. Ngige: Those Who Come To Equity, Must Come With Clean Hands.
Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
How much character, integrity, dignity and credibility did Dr. Ngige have before he became governor of Anambra state? How much of these important attributes does he have left now? That is, assuming that he had them in the first place! This writer, in "Anambra state, parochial or national interests" expressed great concern over the unending crises foisted upon my compatriots in Anambra state; The Anambra state continuing saga, is as much, a political, legal/constitutional as moral issues.
How did Dr. Ngige get into this mess of mortgaging the future of Anambrarians? How did he tie his owns hands, by agreeing, carte blanc, with his political godfather, to perpetrate all the illegalities and the sorry-tales that we have been saddled with since July 2003? How did a very educated man, a medical doctor? turn himself into an amoral man without a scintilla of dignity?
Godfatherism led to gangsterism and lawless goons, engaged in undemocratic conduct which culminated into the anarchy in July 2003; Again, this week, we have been witness to the resurrection of this crises, that some have assumed resolved, through a negotiated peace deal brokered by political leaders in South East, which was led by the senate president, Senator Wabara.
Dr. Ngige's political father is no angel, but would any of these mess have happened without Dr. Ngige's connivance and collusion with Mr. Uba and others, from the very begining of their political romance? What do Nigerians make of the audios, videos and other information that have all pointed to the fact of misconduct on the part of Dr. Ngige? All of which Dr. Ngige has not retracted effectively? It is true that no individual Nigerian should be Judge, Jury and Executioner all in one, as Mr. Uba and his followers appear to assume such powers, but what are we to say of Dr. Ngige who gave them the opportunities?
The main focus in the Anambra crises should be on Dr. Ngige, because afterall, he is the one, who needed a godfather for his own ambition and purpose, the people and the electorate in Anambra state, did not ask for these mess! Mr. Chris Uba is a private citizen, who should be compelled to obey the laws of the state and the country, but it must be said, that Dr. Ngige is the rat in the house who informed the rat in the farm-field, of the presense of food and hospitality and invited the bush rat indoors.
Why in the name of democracy must Anambra state continue to be the grass that suffers in these fights of ugly political elephants? Is Dr. Ngige the last man standing that can be governor? The situation in Anambra state is made worse, by the fact the state House of Assembly have flip-flopped several times, what with their hasty actions over the purported letter of resignation by Dr. Ngige? What with their 360 degree turn to repudiate their own actions, mea culpa? What with their current rally and support for Dr. Ngige? How is it? That these legislators in Anambra state appear or seem to want to be all things to all people, i.e, pleasing Mr. Uba, Dr. Ngige, Speaker Azodo etc etc.?
The role of the High Court in Enugu must be understood and interpretted from the point of the situs of Honorable Achukwu's complaints to the court! The locus in quo was Okpara Square in Enugu state, and everyone must understand that Justice Nnaji and his court have jurisdiction over events that transpire in Enugu state, as in the case of the flagrant abuse of and infringments on Honorable Achukwu's fundamental human rights! How come many Nigerians appear not to voice disapproval of the intimidation, assault and near-death that was visited on Hon. Achukwu? Does he not posses the right to disagree with Dr. Ngige and withraw his support? How come some are not voicing disapproval on the alleged attempts by Dr. Ngige and cohorts to bribe or buy Hon. Achukwu? Or is it now the rule, anyone who refuses to be bought, anyone who disagree with the powerful must be intimidated or even assasinated? Why should Nigerians or any courts in Nigeria ignore the allegations of a near-death experience, in the hands of thugs, as recounted by Hon. Achukwu, of the Nnewi South Constituency II? Hon. Achukwu said, "I was beaten and I was drenched in my blood." He also stated that he was "in Enugu at the Michael Okpara square. I was accredited"
I am revolted by the information regarding the inhuman actions that were visited on Hon Achukwu, it is also a reprehensible and repulsive use of power, for the House of Assembly to suspend Hon Achukwu, it must be clear that the House has been acting as if a puppet on a string controlled at one time by Mr. Uba and at another, by Dr. Ngige, the House has flipped-flopped severally on many issues on many occassions.
The House of Assembly in Anambra state could have saved the individuals involved in these bragadocios and power tussles, save the House itself this embarrassingly ridiculous political ping-pong, the House could have saved Anambra state and the nation from this crippling crises, pregnant with far-reaching ominous implications.... If the House had acted transparently, when it received the resignation letter by Dr. Ngige as delivered to Speaker Azodo; The House of Assembly has had more than one opportunity to propely resolve, whether or not, Dr. Ngige resigned as governor effective July 2003, and the House, months since could have, but did not, but instead, it allowed itself to continue to be manipulated by various forces, forces that appear outwardly amoral, the House exercised its power in suspension and denial of salaries and allowances to Hon. Achukwu, but were such actions not arbitrary and as a consequence of further manipulations? What happens to Mrs Eucharia Azodo or Deputy Governor Udeh? Perhaps these cases will eventually wound up in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, for a once and for-all pronouncement.
A court needs to interprete and make pronouncement on the validity, effectiveness or a lack of validity and effectiveness of Dr. Ngige's resignation as governor, lets use audio, video and handwriting expert or analysts; If Dr. Ngige effectively resigned, does it not follow that, he was trespassing an invitation-only event in Okpara Square, Enugu, which was meant for the political caucus leaders from Anambra state and Congress and others? If Dr. Ngige had no right to be at the square, but he was there, worse, conspired wtih others to carry out illegal acts, as perpetrated on Hon. Achukwu... a trespasser committed an illegal act, within the jurisdiction of Enugu, while the trespasser relied on the immunities attached to his hitherto relinquished office.
Another issue to be mindful of, is, Hon. Achukwu's properly filed and served court processes on the government or the appropriate arm of government of Anambra state, these court papers appear to have been ignored or discountenanced by Dr. Ngige or his legal team/representatives? Nigerians should consider it an egregious affront on the rule of law, due process and every tenet of democracy, when and if any Nigerian disregards court processes and or court orders, whether such Nigerian is governor taxi driver! Nigerians should examine Dr. Ngige's pattern of behavior more closely.
Honorable Achukwu made these statements below, to a Nigerian newspaper, that I read online, "I went to court to determine whether Ngige he has the right to be at Okpara Square at the time was there". " He has invited me a number of times, to side him, I said no" "they offered me money to say that I do not know Uba and to withdraw the case in Abuja so that Ngige will have victory. It was recorded on video" "I only went to court because my rights were infringed. Should I have hired thugs to enforce my rights and beat up Ngige? If he is dissatisfied with the ruling, he can appeal. We should allow the rule of law to guide us and not anarchy"
"The constitution says that the letter is accepted when the speaker receives it, and not after the House has deliberated on it. The Speaker did not say she received it in error. "She filed the same action as I did in Abuja." House of Assembly committed an illegal and unconstitutional act by retracting that purported letter of resignation?" "You cannot appropriate and reprobate at the same time." "As the situation degenerated" "It was very illegal, a kind of corrupt practice"
"Ngige was deemed to have resigned immediately the Speaker received that letter" "I went to court here because I was assaulted and wanted to the court to determine whether the person who assaulted me had right to be in that very venue." "In a constitutional matter like this, only the court should be allowed to settle and interpret it." "the letter of resignation, which Ngige has never retracted" "Ngige and the Attorney General were served through the Anambra High Court, but they did not come to court" "When Ngige got the hint of our court action, he bribed the members and I was suspended. I was suspended because I went to court. John Orakwe moved a motion that I should be suspended for gross misconduct. I asked whether it was a crime to ascertain the rule of law". "When I went for my June salary and my allowances - furniture, house, and car loan - had been stopped by the governor"
Dr. Olatunji O. Abayomi, a prominent Nigerian lawyer stated the following to a Nigerian newspaper and I am in complete agreement. "The outgoing Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige present himself as under siege. He captures the emotion of a whole lot of interests and sectors of nation life. He is merely wasting our time on a simple uncomplicated resignation authored by him, accepted by the Speaker of House of Assembly according to the Constitution, and now regularly affirmed by the court of law". "The citizen who alleged the infringement of his fundamental right that is citizen Achukwu is a disabled lawyer. He understood the unequivocal provision of Section 46 of our current Constitution which provides inter alia:"
"He stated that the governor was served through the Attorney General of Anambra State. The Governor was sued in his official capacity as he could rightly be sued under Section 308". His words: "The court decided the justice of the case and gave judgment affirming quite rightly that Dr. Chris Ngige had become a trespasser to the office of Governor with effect from July 10, 2003, the date his letter of resignation was received by the House of Assembly under Section 306(5) of the Constitution. "It is clear that the entire machinery of government under Governor Ngige has become a joke and lawless. It is under the same system that a direct affront and disrespect of a lawful order of court was publicly proclaimed in Akwa while serving a pernicious injunctive order against a co-ordinate Federal High Court".
Abayomi said that Ngige was no longer Governor, noting," his act confirmed it, the constitution affirms it and now the court has again firms it up". According to him, it will, therefore, be utterly wrong to work up sentiments unduly in favour of an adult, educated man, who voluntarily chose his path to greatness by trading away his commission of governorship office. "We must not and should not allow the governor to destroy our institutions simply to satisfy his wrong interest. "Enough is enough, Governor Ngige should leave office". He is the one that needs to set Anambra free not Uba, not Udeh, not PDP, not the Nigerian Police Force, not the President, not anyone, because, he alone, by his voluntary choice, is roughing up the peace of Anambra simply because he does not want his act to bind his path. And this is wrong, very wrong."
Anambra House of Assembly, could have saved everyone else these troubles, if they had impeached Dr. Ngige, based on all the information that has been known to the public since July 2003, especially, Dr. Ngige's apparent undervalue and complete disregard for such important concepts as character, integrity, dignity, honesty or even credibility! According to Dr. Okey Ndibe, Dr. Ngige, "A medical doctor like Ngige should never have permitted himself to be in a relationship where a secondary school dropout is said to be his godfather In 2004, may all political godsons renounce and obliterate their so-called godfathers" And I might add that, Dr. Ngige who is a Christian, a very educated man, but he allegedly took so many actions and bewildering steps, that ran counter to his pedigree? Where is the man in him? Has he not betrayed the people and voters in Anambra state enough? Why do so many Nigerians shed tears for Dr. Ngige? He is not blameless in all of these! He is no hero! Just as Mr. Uba is no angel, Anambra state and the whole of Nigeria may be the loser in the Ngige vs Uba imbroglio.
Dr. Ngige has caused these political and constitutional crises, he is the genesis of these gangsterisms and illegalities, he is to blame for taking loans from loan-sharks, while using public properties as his collateral, the creditor wants to enforce an agreement, albeit, an illegal agreement, should Anambrarians and all Nigerians not be focused on Dr. Ngige who pledge public property and public trust reposed in him for his personal loan? Why, all of a sudden, some to ignore Dr. Ngige's insidious and invidious roles in all of these? If I tell a creditor that he can appoint some commissioners for a state, in which I preside as governor, is this not corruption and an impeachable offence? Why does anyone think that the tainted Dr. Ngige still has the dignity or even goodwill to remain governor?
The political and legal issues raised in the cascading crises in Anambra state presents different sides that must be addressed, in order for a meaningful and enduring solution or resolution to take firm hold, Nigerians must take a good look at the origin or genesis of the crises, without exonerating any of the participants.
Should Dr. Ngige not be held responsible for his actions? Is he not the one, who foisted his godfather on us? He took a personal loan from Mr. Uba and Dr. Ngige apparently used his power to offer Anambra state to Mr. Uba as collateral for the personal loan he took! Dr. Ngige in doing so, betrayed mandate and public trust, to be governor! This is a moral issue.