By Elizabeth Emmanuel
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has returned to court seeking to invalidate the mandate of Governor Benedict Ayade of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claiming that his tenure has expired since 2016.
The Cross River State chapter of APC, its candidate in the 2012 governorship election Dr. Mike Ogar, together with Hon. Festus Effiom has filed a fresh suit No: SC/473/2018 at the Supreme Court against the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP and Professor Bededict Ayade, asking the apex court to order governor Ayade’s to vacate office, since he was elected into office in 2012.
According to counsel the appellants, Barrister William Ballantyne, any governorship election held in Cross River State in 2019 will be a nullity, since Governor Ayade was supposed to vacate office in 2016, four years after his election, as required in our constitution.
Ballantyne drew the attention of INEC to the fact that there is a pending suit in the Court of Appeal, asking the court to interpret Section 272(sub-section 3) of the Nigerian Constitution, which deals with the issue of tenure of office of a governor and his deputy.
He said, “until the prayers of that particular suit is determined, INEC has been by that pending matter been put on notice that; any governorship election planned for Cross River in 2019, will not be tenable under our electoral laws.”
The APC counsel cited the case of former Governor Peter Obi and Andy Uba, who after being sworn in was asked by the court to vacate office after 11 days in office as governor of Anambra State, because his election was held in disregard to a pending matter against him at the Supreme Court.
He therefore counseled INEC not to waste Nigeria’s resources in organizing an election that will be unconstitutional, after all.