Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has described the resignation of Adamawa State Deputy Governor, Mr. Bala Ngglari as illegal and unconstitutional.
In an open letter to the President Goodluck Jonathan, Keyamo said the impeachment of the state governor, Murtala Nyako and the resignation of Ngglari were characterised by illegalities.
He warned that the nation might be gradually sliding into "a state of anomie, if Your Excellency turns a blind eye and deaf ears to the various illegalities that have characterised the process employed in the gale of impeachments, or threatened impeachments and/or removal of elected representatives of people in various parts of this country."
He argued that as at the time Ngglari purportedly resigned, Nyako was still the governor and therefore the letter of resignation should have been addressed to him (Nyako) and not to the Speaker.
According to him, at the material time the assembly received and purportedly accepted the supposed resignation of the deputy governor, Nyako was still the governor of the State.
He said: "Your Excellency, what does the 1999 Constitution (as amended), – which you have sworn to defend and uphold – say about such a resignation?
"Sections 306 (1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution, state as follows:
“(1) Save as otherwise provided in this section, any person who is appointed, elected or otherwise selected to any office established by this Constitution may resign from that office by writing under his hand addressed to the authority or person by whom he was appointed, elected or selected.
(2) The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorized by that authority or person to receive it.
(5) The notice of resignation of the Governor and of the Deputy Governor of a State shall respectively be addressed to the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the governor of the state.”
He argued that the declaration of the seat of the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State vacant by the House of Assembly was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
According to him, the House has no such powers and can play no such role under the constitution.
"The least we should have expected was for the House to impeach the governor (assuming but not conceding that due process was followed in his case) and swear in the deputy governor as the substantive governor," he added.
Keyamo said that by the provisions of sections 306 (1),(2) & (5) the purported resignation of the deputy governor never took place, or at worst, never took effect.
"It can only take effect, upon receipt of it by the governor," he added.
He explained that from the facts of the impeachment Nggilari, addressed his resignation to the speaker, and not the governor of the state. At the foot of the letter, the governor was only copied.
He stated that Nyako did not receive any such letter from the deputy governor.
He pointed out the acting governor (who was the former speaker), could only hold office for three months, pending fresh elections.
He said: "Even the winner of that election, by the provision of section 191(2) of the 1999 Constitution can only complete the unexpired tenure of Murtala Nyako.
"It means if we have a governorship election in October in Adamawa State, we will have another again within four months, going by INEC’s timetable for elections next year. What a waste of public funds!
"Your Excellency, if proper constitutional procedure is followed, let wise counsel prevail by reverting immediately to the situation where the deputy governor, Nggilari, is sworn in as the governor and he nominates a deputy to complete the term of office of Murtala Nyako in the next few months.
"This will save the state from unnecessary election crises and unnecessary waste of public funds by INEC.
"We cannot imagine a situation where any interested party now heads to court to challenge the removal of Nggilari from office and he is re-instated at the last minute when election materials have been printed and personnel already deployed at great expense.
"Mr. President, you can save this nation this unnecessary waste of public funds by doing the needful.
I remain yours most trusted."