Desperate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders renewed yesterday their push for the removal of the five governors who dumped the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The plan is to use the court to declare vacant their seat, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The governors are Rotimi Amaechi(Rivers), Murtala Nyako(Adamawa), Rabiu Kwankwaso(Kano), Aliyu Wammako(Sokoto) and Abdulfatai Ahmed(Kwara).
The hawks in PDP are said to be considering filing an ex-parte motion at any high court which will lead to a declaratory order asking the governors to leave office immediately.
But President Goodluck Jonathan is said to have asked the PDP leaders behind the plot to pull the brakes on it because of its likely consequences on the nation’s political environment.
One of the lawyers engaged in filing the suit last night however said: “We have not yet filed any document in court.
“I think the President has not agreed with the PDP leaders who are pushing the matter. The President has asked them to stay action.”
It was learnt that some PDP leaders were shocked by the threat which the defection last Tuesday might pose to the PDP’s electoral fortunes.
They were said to have agreed on creating legal hurdles for the governors.
It was learnt that the party has already secured the services of a 10-man legal team, including Chief Alex Iziyon (SAN), who is more or less the counsel to the President; Phebian Ajogu (SAN), Austin Alegeh (SAN) and a Northern constitutional Lawyer.
A source said: “We learnt that the PDP is either considering filing a motion ex-parte or pushing for accelerated hearing of its application.
“But some leaders of the party are in favour of a motion ex-parte. Once the application is granted, the five governors will be asked to vacate office immediately or be ejected from office.
“In fact, the PDP is banking on the invocation of Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution to support its application. This Section was invoked by the Supreme Court to declare Amaechi as the Governor of Rivers State.
“The party is claiming that the governorship tickets of the five governors belong to the PDP and not the occupants.
“Also, we learnt that the party might apply the principle of ‘Case Stated’ to compel a Federal High Court to ask for interpretations of Section 221 from the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to seal the fate of the governors at the lower court.”
As at press time, a meeting of the APC governors was being convened at Kano Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro District, Abuja.
The session, expected to be closed door from 9pm, might go far into the night.
One of the APC governors , who spoke in confidence, said: “This is our first meeting after five PDP governors joined the progressives club. We are going to chart the way forward for the party to make the merger of the New PDP and the APC to work.
“We will also take time to discuss issues affecting our governors, including plans by the PDP to declare the seats of the five governors vacant.
“The PDP is capable of any mischief; we are also going to put our legal team on standby.”
The National Chairman of the merged New PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, said: “There is no law backing the declaration of a governor’s seat vacant.
“Why are they just talking now when some PDP governors have joined the APC? I was the one who received ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim when he defected from PPA to PDP. Was Ohakim’s seat declared vacant? Wasn’t Governor Isa Yuguda in ANPP before joining PDP? What of Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State who defected to PDP from PPA. Did all these governors vacate their seats?
“This is not the first time the PDP has tried to declare the seats of our members vacant. Some of our members in the National Assembly have actually sued Bamanga Tukur.”
Another leader said the conditions for removing governors are contained in Sections 188 and 189 of the 1999 Constitution.
Section 188 reads in part: “A governor can be removed by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with Section 188 or 189 of this Constitution.”
Section 188 says in part: “The Governor or Deputy Governor of a State may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.
“Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third member of the members of the House of Assembly is (a) presented to the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State; (b) stating the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified.
Section 189 says in part: “The Governor or Deputy Governor of a State shall cease to hold office if (a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the Executive Council of the state, it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and (b) the declaration in paragraph (a) of this sub-section is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.”