OGHENEJABOR IKIMI:”I make bold to say that if Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was really serious about ensuring the continuity of democracy at the third tier of Government in the State, he should have done the needful by sending the above bills to the State House of Assembly long before the tenure of the present crop of elected Chairmen and Councilors in the 25 Local Government Councils would have expired.”
Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe: “The legal and constitutional implication of the procedures followed to dissolve DSIEC is that the entire people of Delta State agreed through their representatives at DTHA under the universal democratic principles of representative government. In the light of the above, it will be out of place and at the same time mischievous for any right thinking individual, group or few number of persons to say that Gov Okowa dissolved DSIEC without consulting a former governor in the person of Chief Ibori.”
OGHENEJABOR IKIMI, ESQ.,
Gentlemen of the Press, my attention has been drawn to the recent executive bill sent by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to the Delta State House of Assembly to repeal the State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC), Law 2012 and some aspects of the State Local Government Law, 2013 less than a month to the expiration of the existing tenure of the democratically elected Chairmen and Councilors in the 25 Local Government Councils in the State and I state without mincing words that the above move by the State Governor is nothing but a criminal conspiracy between the State Executive and the State Legislature to deny, overthrow and rob the people of democracy at the grass root by illegally imposing Caretaker Committees or appointing Heads of Personnel on the people to run the affairs of the 25 Local Government Councils in the State in violation of Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended states that the system of Local Government by democratically elected Local Government Councils is guaranteed, hence my decision to institute an originating summons in the Delta State High Court against the Delta State Governor, the State Attorney General and the Delta State House of Assembly for the proper interpretation of Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended should they decide to deny, overthrow and rob the people at the grass root of democracy in the 25 Local Government Councils in the State by imposing undemocratic structures on the people.
I make bold to say that if Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was really serious about ensuring the continuity of democracy at the third tier of Government in the State, he should have done the needful by sending the above bills to the State House of Assembly long before the tenure of the present crop of elected Chairmen and Councilors in the 25 Local Government Councils would have expired.
It is indeed sad that since the inception of our present Democracy in May 29, 1999 the people of the State at the grass root are yet to witness any meaningful development in their various Council Areas owing to the undemocratic manner the third tier of Government has been operated most times by the State Government as a mere Government department thus my numerous calls for the autonomy of all the 774 Local Government Councils nationwide. I therefore use this medium to call on the State Government to urgently set in motion measures aimed at democratizing the 25 Local Government Councils in the State before the expiration of the present tenure of her democratically elected Chairmen and Councilors.
Long live Delta State! Long live Nigeria!!
SIGNED: OGHENEJABOR IKIMI, ESQ.,
FROM Barrister Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe (EA Communications GOVDELTA).
The beauty of constitutional democracy is the recognition of the rule of majority and the right of minority. It follows that no matter the interests of the minority, the larger interest of the greater number of people will always prevail.
When this sound democratic principle is widely interpreted, the end result is usually reasonable justice, equity, good conscience and progressive governance; which is why representative government is the best for today’s world.
It has been observed that some online newspapers, particularly SAHARAREPORTERS recently published a report alleging that the dissolution of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DESIEC); may truncate or delay the forthcoming Council elections in the state and at the same time generate bad blood between major stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) political family.
The report went further to allege that former governor of Delta State, His Excellency Chief James Onanefe Ibori is in cold war with incumbent governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, for what the paper described as ” for Okowa not consulting Ibori before DESIEC dissolution.”
Chief Ibori is a strong supporter of Gov Okowa and his administration and it is unfair for the opossition party in the state to use a section of the press to consistently mislead the general public. Elections are not won by irresponsible media propaganda especially when such dirty media politics do not reflect the realities on ground.
It is the constitutional duty and responsibility of the executive arm of government to ensure good governance of the state through powers, functions and responsibilities assigned to it by the constitution and other enactments.
It follows that the executive as part of its functions can initiate executive bills and it is the duty of the legislative arm of government to scrutinise such bills through relevant committees, debate and either modify, reject or pass any bill into law. The legislature can always exercise its powers without inference by the Executive arm.
In accordance with democratic principles and the constitutional powers vested on the legislature by section 4 (6) (7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) at a lawful session presided over by the Seapker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori and based on majority votes dissolved DESIEC, which procedurally set in motion the legislative process for the possible enactment of a new DESIEC LAW 2017.
House majority leader, Hon Tim Owhefere moved the motion for the dissolution and was ably seconded by Hon Samuel Mariere. The Speaker by the powers vested on him under section 98 (1) called for voting and the members complied under section 98 (2) of the CFRN 1999 (as amended). The process dissolving DESIEC was lawfully completed as required by the constitution and the House Rules.
The legal and constitutional implication of the procedures followed to dissolve DESIEC is that the entire people of Delta State agreed through their representatives at DTHA under the universal democratic principles of representative government.
In the light of the above, it will be out of place and at the same time mischievous for any right thinking individual, group or few number of persons to say that Gov Okowa dissolved DESIEC without consultating a former governor in the person of Chief Ibori.
It must be stated that Chief Ibori do not interfere with the day to day administration of Delta State as an ex-governor. Gov Okowa is the incumbent governor working closely and in harmony with other independent arms of government for the good governance of the state and may consult major stakeholders and party leaders on some issues where necessary.
It will be wrong to insinuate that Gov Okowa must consult ex-governors in all matters that enhances good governance before doing the needful; afterall the governor is not and will never be remote-controlled to do his job and to fulfil his campaign promises to the good people of Delta State, as captured in the SMART AGENDA blueprints.
More importantly, Hon Owhefere while moving the motion for the dissolution of DESIEC cited “Defects and Shortcomings” as some of the vital and critical reasons why DESIEC must be dissolved and referred to section 7 (1) of DESIEC LAW 2012 which gave power to the lawmakers to dissolve DESIEC whenever they deem fit.
It is hoped that the lawmakers will speed up the process so as to enable elections hold within reasonable time frame. The governor earlier assured that Caretaker Committees will not be constituted to run the Councils and his decision stands.
Okowa and Ibori are enjoying the best of political relationship and healthy friendship without any crack or misunderstanding whatsoever.
The fracas alleged in the online newspaper report is not true and should be disregarded by PDP party faithuls and supporters of Gov Okowa and Chief Ibori. Our findings revealed that the report was largely influenced by the major opposition party in the State.
It must be stated that with the kind of half-truth and unbalanced reports published recently by SaharaReporters, the online newspaper is gradually losing steam and it may soon become worthless if the trend is not checked by its management.
The DESIEC BILL 2017 when passed into Law, according to the majority leader of DTHA, Hon Tim Owhefere will further guarantee credibility and substantially enhance electoral process in the state. This is very important and should be supported and encouraged by all Deltans.