Justice Ibrahim Buba turned down an ex parte application to stop Justice Kate Abiru, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, from conducting the swearing in of Chief Nyesom Wike, the governor-elect of Rivers State come May 29, 2015.
The Justice made this decision at a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. He said the granting the application would be tantamount to “adding insult upon the injury” of the Rivers State people, who “have no judiciary,” as it stands.
He stated that granting the ex parte application could occasion a state of anarchy in the state while also acknowledging that the applicants had a valid case since it bordered on the sanctity of the constitution.
“I am of the firm view that no court should make the order ex parte to further compound the problems in Rivers State,” Buba held.
The suit marked FHC/L/CS/769/2015 has Monday Ubani, John Nwokwu and Gabriel Okoro, who are all Lagos State based legal practitioners, as the applicants while the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Abiru and Nyesom Wike are joined as respondents.
The applicants are contending the May 19, 2015 decision of Mr. Adoke’s appointment of Justice Abiru of Bayelsa State to swear in a governor elected in Rivers State.
The constitution only allows for the Chief Judge or President of the Customary Court of Appeal of a state to carry out such duties.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Adoke, decision was taken based on the fact that there is currently no substantive Chief Judge in Rivers State. He had claimed that the decision was to avert a likely constitutional crisis in the state.
He stated that his decision was not out of line with constitutional demands urging people to take note and respect it.
The deposition of Nkwokwu in a 25 paragraph affidavit claims that the A.G’s decision “is already causing public confusion and uncertainty in the country.” In light of this, the applicants “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.”
Alternatively, they pleaded with the court to give an order “restraining the defendants whether by themselves, agents, servants and privies from taking any further steps in connection with the matter pending determination.”
The applicants claimed that if their application is granted, the interest of justice would be protected. Justice Buba refused the application asserting that “we cannot all be shallow or be shallow-minded. There shall be no room for anarchy,” and adjourned the hearing of the motion on notice till June 29, 2015.