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Govs’ removal: Falana tells Jonathan to ignore Clark

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Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to ignore a call by a First Republic minister and prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, to remove the governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, on the account of subsisting emergency rule in the states.

Falana said in a statement on Tuesday that the call was diversionary and the act of removing elected governors or suspending democratic institutions during emergency rule in a state was illegal.

Falana said such call should be taken seriously because it came from a personality like Clark “who wields enormous influence around the presidency”.

He therefore urged the President to shun such advice by “people with vested political agenda to resort to undemocratic tactics associated with military dictators”.

He said, “As Nigeria has successfully replaced autocracy with democracy all actions of the government have to be conducted in strict compliance with the tenets of the rule of law.

“In view of the clear provision of the Constitution on the vexed issue of a state of emergency I am compelled to urge the President to ignore the illegal and unconstitutional call for the removal of the governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.”

Clark had been quoted to have said that, “There is nothing like partial declaration of a state of emergency in the 1999 Constitution; what section 305 (c) of the Constitution contemplates is the recourse to ‘extraordinary measures to restore peace’ and security where there is a breakdown of public order and public safety.

“This in effect means that all democratic institution should be suspended to permit the military exercise full control until peace and order returns”.

But Falana said that nothing in section 305 of the constitution referred to by Clark empowered the President to suspend democratic institutions in a state under emergency rule.

Falana said, “With profound respect to the elder statesman, Section 305 of the Constitution which empowers the President to declare a state of emergency in any part of the country does not make any provision, expressly or impliedly, for the removal of elected democratic structures.

“In other words, the power of the President, to take ‘extraordinary measures to restore peace and security’ under a state of emergency does not include the removal of elected public officers or the dissolution of democratic structures.

“In any case, state governors cannot be held vicariously liable for the inability of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to stem the rising wave of insurgency in the country.”

He pointed out that the Ijaw leader was unable to point to any law or decided court case to justify his stand in enjoining “President Jonathan to follow the bad example of President Obasanjo”.

Falana said the suspension of the then Governor of Plateau State and the Acting Governor of Ekiti State for six months by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during his tenure as President was “in utter violation of the Constitution”.

He added, “That was an era of executive recklessness, which has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

“Assuming without conceding that President Obasanjo was right is Chief Clark suggesting, by any stretch of imagination, that if the Federation is waging a war against another country leading to the imposition of emergency rule in the entire land the President should vacate office for a retired General to take over and run the country like a Sole Administrator?”

Article Credit: Punchng

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Mr. Femi Falana Advice President Goodluck Jonathan To Ignore Clark