Chairman of the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission (ISIEC), Barr. Amaechi Nwoha has dragged Governor Rochas Okorocha to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for alleged unlawful termination of his appointment and replacement with another person.
In suit No NICN/OW/15/2018, he filed against the Governor, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, and the Independent State Electoral Commission as co-defendants, he is asking the honourable court, to declare that he is still the substantive and authentic Chairman of the commission until he is removed as stipulated by law and his entitlements which have been withheld for four and half years paid in full.
He is also seeking a declaration that the appointment of Mr. Tony Ibebuchi as the new Chairman of ISIEC, is illegal, null and void because it did not follow due process, hence any action he takes as ISIEC Chairman is illegal and of no effect. Besides, their tenure is still subsisting and will elapse in September 2018. He urged the court to also declare that he or any member of the commission can only be removed in accordance with the provision of section 201 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and section 119 which clearly stipulates the tenure of the Chairman and members of the board of ISIEC.
Some legal pundits who spoke to Community Watchdog Newspaper, on condition of anonymity averred that it is only the Imo state House of Assembly that has the statutory powers to remove the ISIEC Chairman or dissolve the commission with a vote of no confidence by two thirds majority. They also posit that, with this development, the proposed Imo state local government election is not likely to hold until the courts dispense with the suits before them.
When contacted, Barr. Amaechi Nwoha maintained that he is till the substantive Chairman of ISIEC, until the court declares otherwise because his tenure and that of the other members of the commission will elapse in September. Asides, aside other constitutional provisions, one of the grounds upon which he said, their tenure can be cut short is corruption or related misnomer, which they were not charged with.
Keen observers of political developments in the state are wondering why the state Governor is suddenly bent on conducting local government elections now, “considering the fact that he has in the past seven years, ignored calls by well meaning Imolites for the conduct of local government elections to fast track rural development. He has always used the case instituted by the former elected local government Chairmen whom he unilaterally sacked on the 6th of June 2011 as an excuse”.
Most Imolites are also suspicious and opine that Governor Okorocha’s renewed interest in conducting the local government elections now, against all odds is aimed at achieving some sinister political objectives, because the legal battle between him and the sacked LGA Chairmen which he had always said is the major obstacle is not yet over, “yet he is now desperately anxious to do what he vehemently refused to do in the past seven years”.