Lawyer Blames Tambuwal’s Entourage For NASS Fracas

George EkehA legal practitioner, George Ekeh, on Monday apportioned blame to the entourage of the House of Representatives speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, for the fracas which occurred at the National Assembly last Thursday, insisting that they had been unruly.

According to him, their unruly behaviour had proven that the intelligence report that hoodlums would cause mayhem at the National Assembly, as disclosed by the Police, was accurate and necessitated the security measures put in place.

Commenting on the issue on Sunrise Daily, Ekeh noted that the fracas was embarrassing to the entire nation, as it had attracted both local and international attention. He, however, insisted that although the footage of lawmakers scaling a gate was a sensation for both local and international media, “it is important for us to appreciate what happened by looking at it sequentially”.

He stressed that nobody was above the law and that self-help on the part of the lawmakers was not an option.

Lawmakers had scaled the gate of the National Assembly after security agents including the Police and SSS had barred them from gaining entrance and shot tear gas canisters at them.

The Police had explained that they had received security intelligence that there was going to be mayhem hence the measures put in place.

Ekeh backed the claim, noting that “even if we did not believe them, the situation that we found ourselves in vindicated whichever officer that gave that report; That indeed there was going to be mayhem and indeed there was mayhem”.

He noted that the police had the right to be at the National Assembly since it was their duty to maintain law and order.

However, footage of the fracas had revealed that the last gate leading to the chambers had been locked and police officers did not open to lawmakers who questioned their action.

Ekeh defended the action saying “they did not shut down the National Assembly. They were screening people. They had screened some people even if it was quite torturous.. David Mark himself said he was screened at three points”.

He claimed that the Speaker and the Representatives in his entourage had assembled, based on their perception of events, and “all of them came and obviously overwhelmed the police”

He added that the gate had been locked because the Representatives had become unruly, hence, interrupting the screening process at the gate.

Asked if it would have been out of place for the Police to have informed the leadership of the House of the intelligence report and the planned action, Ekeh argued that such announcement would depend on the strategy adopted by the Police.

“I don’t think that it behooves on the Police to first of all inform members and say we are going to screen you people.”

He noted that “if the Police said they were trying to fish out thugs, or hoodlums – thuggery is not a profession. It is the conduct of a person”, insisting that if the conduct of a lawmaker becomes unruly, “the police should be able to rein him in”.

Mutiny: Court Martial Verdict Was Right – Lawyer

MutinyLegal Practitioner, George Ekeh, has disagreed with the view that the Nigerian soldiers recently sentenced to death for Mutiny by a court martial were wrongly tried.

This was in reaction to veteran Lawyer, Femi Falana, who, in an earlier interview, had expressed the opinion that the soldiers, under the Armed Forces Act, should have been tried under Section 52:2.

Ekeh argued that the soldiers were rightly charged under the right section of the constitution – Section 52:1 – which he read during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

He noted that Mutiny has always been a grave offence in the military and these soldiers had been aware of it from the moment they were recruited.

He also took on the insinuations that some of the officers that made up the military court were not legal practitioners and their  judgement could be faulty.

Ekeh emphasized this as an erroneous assumption, stating that many of the officers were qualified lawyers.

He made reference to the recently held Nigerian Bar Association, NBA conference in Owerri, which he said had about 5% of participants attending in the military uniforms.

Ekeh also dismissed the view that the soldiers had feeble representation which might have worked against them. He argued that the most important thing was that the lawyer stood up to plead for mercy on their behalf.

He noted that the court was also working based on evidences and all available evidences must have pointed against the soldiers, a situation which meant that the case was already a bad one.

A Channels Television viewer, however, suggested via social media that Nigeria needs more of its soldiers alive as it battles insurgency and this view Ekeh shared.

Although he maintained that the death sentence was the rightful judgement, he conceded that because of the circumstances of Nigeria being in a state of war, the soldiers could be pardoned.

Taraba: Lawyer Says Suntai Does Not Look Fit Enough For Office

SuntaiA Legal Practitioner, George Ekeh, believes that the interpretation of ‘permanent incapacitation’ as suggested by the an aide of Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai, to justify his stay in office is not realistic.

Speaking on Channels Television, Ekeh said that permanent incapacitation as described by former Taraba State Commissioner for Information, Emmanuel Bello, cannot be defined.

If we start looking at permanent incapacitation, that section of the constitution can never be invoked. It cannot be because if you start looking at when someone is permanently incapacitated, the person would have been dead.”

Ekeh said that from all indication, Governor Suntai has lost his fitness to cope with the demands of the office of a Governor.

He demanded a contextual interpretation of the constitutional provision on permanent incapacitation as this would be necessary in resolving the matter.

Ekeh also maintained, contrary to Bello’s submission, that the Suntai case is very similar to what was experienced during late President Yar’adua’s illness.

He stated that some level of political morality crept into the unfortunate incident and this is what the Governor’s loyalists are basing their acts on – to keep the Governor in office and help him run the affairs of the state.

He said that the medical panel recently set up by the State Assembly should have been set up long ago as verifying the state of the Governor’s fitness and capacity to run the office would have saved the state all the trouble.

On the need not to portray insensitivity to the leadership capacity of people living with disability through the Suntai matter, Ekeh noted that this should not be offensive as a crippled man with a sound mind can run any office but Governor Suntai, by his observation, has also “lost orientation with regards to time and place – where he was, where he is and where he possibly would be going to.

“On the surface he may look healthy but we are now talking about if he is fit to run and take the demands of that office.”

He maintained that physical and mental fitness make up the capacity of the Governor to remain in office.

Mr Ekeh also said that having waited for about two years for the Governor to recover and he seems not to have achieved the level of fitness expected of a man in the very demanding office of the Governor, the constitution recommends that he should be led out of the office.

APC Is Built On A Strong Ideology, Youth Leader Carpets PDP Member

The Chairman of the All Progressives Youth Forum,  Ahmed Ismaeel, has hit back at the claims of Mr. George Ekeh, who claimed the merging opposition parties lack an ideological path because the “people that people the party are the same”, saying the All Progressives Congress (APC) was borne out of an ideology.

Ismaeel said “A political party is supposed to be an institution of democracy, it is not a platform for those who are seeking political office, political job to come and realize his ambition. It is about the instrumentality of democracy, it is about the values of democracy and good governance and that is what APC is all about”.

Ismaeel, who quoted a Hausa proverb which if translated, means “a market is not all about the shops but about the marketers (the buyers and sellers)”, continued saying the party is about people joining to give the “Nigerians what they have been yearning for, that is good governance and quality representation”.

He said the imbroglio they presently locked in with a rival group will surely come to an end and they (APC) will be registered as a political party. He said they were the ones who made the name and acronym “the national phenomenon that it is today”.

Speaking further, Ismaeel said “INEC can do whatever they want but at the end of the day we shall be registered as a political party”.

APC Is Out To Grab Power, Lacks Ideology- George Ekeh

Ahead of the 2015 general elections, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), George Ekeh has labeled the yet-to-be-registered All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party without ideology and just another political party seeking to grab power for their selfish interests.

“I have always said that they are simply coming to grab power… forget about all those progressive definitions” he said.

Ekeh accused the merging opposition parties of “Trying to elbow PDP out and then take over power”.

Ekeh, who was speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programme on Channels Television, wondered if the merging parties will be registered with the name APC after another group claimed possession of the acronym long before now.

He however said “what is in a name if their intention is right”, pointing to the fact that the figures in the opposition are the same.

“The people who people the parties are the same.. For purposes of emphasis they are the same. The only way you can know is that you can see how people meander from this party to the other one. The moment you don’t have the platform to contest in this party, you end up in another one” he continued.

Ekeh said for the PDP to survive they should be able to send Trojan Horses into the camps of other political parties, as it is a strategy that will help confuse the opposing camps.

He also wondered why the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) would oppose the formation of the PDP Governors Forum as there are other issues he needs to contend with within the ACN and APC.

On the issue of ideologies in Nigerian political parties, Ekeh said “the issue of ideology does not exist”.

Leadership is Nigeria’s core problem – Ekeh

A legal practitioner and public affairs commentator, George Ekeh on Monday said the major problem Nigeria is faced with is that of committed and selfless leaders.

Analysing the Independence Day speech of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Ekeh said the 1 October speeches of successive Nigerian presidents is becoming a ritual with a disconnect from the reality on ground in the country.

Mr Ekeh, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the solution to the problem of leadership in Nigeria should start from electoral reforms.