One of the aggrieved members of G-22, a platform that serves as a nexus for the 22 aggrieved Governorship aspirants in the 2015 Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) primaries in Akwa Ibom State, Barrister Asuquo Okpo, allegedly reported to be the brain behind the many sponsored attack on the nomination of Mr. Nsima Ekere as the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has finally approached the Court to get an order stop the National Assembly from approving that request.
Barrister Okpo, who denied his non-attendance of the periodic meeting of the group as having anything to do his opposition to the Ekere’s appointment, through the Incorporated Trustees of Oron Union on Thursday approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking an interim order to stop the Senate from confirming the nominations of Nsima Ekere and Frank George.
It could be recalled that the duo was selected for appointment as the Managing Director and Commissioner on the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) respectively.
Barrister Okpo through the Union also asked the court to restrain further appointments into the Board pending the outcome of the suit.
The plaintiffs were represented by their counsel, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), in the suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/603/2016, dated August 11.
They told the court that the nominations of Ekere and George were wrongly made as the two men were not from the oil producing areas of Akwa Ibom State.
Okutepa urged the court to give an ex-parte order, saying he secured the leave of court to hear the case during its long vacation due to its urgent nature.
He said the order was to restrain the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the National Assembly from confirming the appointments, adding that his application was supported by two affidavits – a 24-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion disposed to by Dr. Effiong Edunam, the President-General of the Union.
Okutepa further added that the second was an affidavit of urgency, a five-paragraph document, arguing that the NDDC Act sets out those qualified to be appointed as MD and Commissioners on the NDDC Board.
According to him, “Paragraphs 20 and 21 of the affidavit in support of the application stated that Ekere and George were not from the oil producing areas of Akwa Ibom. And as such, they were not qualified to assume the positions for which the Federal Government and the Commission had forwarded their names to the National Assembly.”
“The nominations for appointment were done without regard to the provisions of Section 171 (5) of the 1999 Constitution and the provision of the NDDC establishment Act 2004. The appointment may, (thus), threaten peace and development in the region due to ethnic and sectional marginalization,” he argued.
Okutepa therefore urged the court to grant the application in the interest of justice.
After careful study of the ex-parte application argued by the plaintiff and the reliefs endorsed therein, Justice Okon Abang ruled that there was the need to hear from the defendants before taking a decision.
Abang said “There is a compelling need to hear all sides.
The issue is not whether the court will hear the application or not but Section 5 sub-sections 1 and section 12 of NDDC Act is fundamental to the determination of the suit.”
Abang, therefore reserved ruling on the ex-parte motion until the court hears from the defendants and directed the plaintiff to serve the defendants with the originating summons.
In the hearing, which was adjourned till August 23, 2016, for ruling, President Muhammadu Buhari was also named as defendant in the suit.