A Nigerian lawyer has said that the stay of execution claimed to have been filed by the lawyer of the former acting governor of Adamawa State, Mr Umaru Fintiri, may not have been filed at all or was not filed at the right time.
Mr Liborous Oshomah told Channels Television on Friday that the stay of execution would have been adhered to if the counsel to Mr Fintiri had filed the request for stay in the court immediately the judgement was delivered.
After the judgement was delivered, Mr Fintiri said he had directed his lawyer, Mr Bayo Ojo, to file an appeal, a statement Mr Oshomah said showed that the appeal and stay was not submitted in court.
“The counsel to the former acting governor should have prepared his appeal and a request for a stay of execution in the court and served relevant persons before leaving the court. That would have made the swearing-in of Mr Bala Ngilari impossible.
“What some lawyers do is that they take their laptop to the court, draft an appeal and a stay of execution right there in the court. And then before the appeal, the election would have been held and the rest would completely be destroyed.
“Swearing-in the governor has destroyed the purported rest, but if the court of appeal rules that the governor had properly resigned and so the speaker remains the acting governor pending when a by-election is conducted, then Mr Fintiri will be reinstated,” Mr Oshomah explained.
Contradicts the law
On whether the court’s judgement was right, he stated that the court’s decision based on the Nigerian constitution was right, as the “law states that the deputy governor can only forward his resignation letter to the governor”.
The court had ruled that Mr Ngilari did not properly resign and had asked the former acting governor to vacate the position.
The said letter of resignation was collected by Mr Fintiri while he was the speaker of the State House of Assembly, a process that court says contradicts the provision of the law.
“If you also look at the whole issue, I have had cause to listen to the argument of the council that was here before me and the question you will ask is; if you intend to resign and rather than giving the letter to your boss you give the letter to your cook, will your cook now say because I have received the resignation letter that you have resigned?”
“If the law says the letter must be addressed to your boss and as at the time the letter was collected by the speaker, Mr Murtala Nyako, (the impeached governor) was still the governor of the state then the right process was not followed. If the letter is not addressed to you, you cannot act on it. The role of the speaker in all of this is that he ought to be a gate-keeper pending when an election is conducted,” the lawyer said.
He further said that there were underlying political intrigues in the issue, but insisted that he would not talk about them.
The lawyer, however, warned that if the issues were not properly handled, the masses would bear the brunt.