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Obi Floors Lawmakers - Take Over From Etiaba

Jude Ossai, Enugu - 10.02.2007

Reprieve, again, came the way of the embattled Governor of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi, as he floored the lawmakers seeking his removal from office in a legal battle.

This followed the upholding of the judgment of an Awka High Court on Friday by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu that Obi remained the constitutionally recogni-zed governor of Anambra State.

In a unanimous judgment read by Justice Jimi Bada on behalf of four others, the court ruled that the removal of Obi by a faction of the Anambra State lawmakers led by the Speaker, Hon. Mike Bolonwu, was unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

The judgment read in part, “The removal of Obi by the appellant is hereby set aside. “He should be re-instated immediately and his rights restored by the appropriate authority, including the police.

“In order to promote reconciliation between the appellant and the respondent, I will not award any cost.” According to Bada, the court, after considering the submissions of the counsel to both parties, declared that the contention of Obi that he was not served with the notice of impeachment of gross misconduct was upheld.

The court maintained that there was nowhere in the counter affidavit where it was deposed that Obi was properly served with the notice of impeachment.

Shortly after the judgment, Mrs. Virginia Etiaba, Obi’s deptuy who had been holding forth for him while he fought the legal battle, handed power back to Obi in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Shortly after Etiaba handed over to Obi, a team of policemen arrived the Government House with its leaders holding a 10-minute discussion with both Obi and Etiaba.

None of those that took part in the meeting was willing to speak with the press. Meanwhile, the pro-impeachment lawmakers immediately after Friday’s judgment filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Enugu.

They sought for the setting aside of the judgment. The appellants included Balonwu, Ozo Ughamadu, Humphrey Nsofor, Ben Obidigbo, Uchenna Okonkwo Okom and the Anambra State House of Assembly.

Obi and the Attorney General of the Anambra State are the respondents in the suit. The appellant also prayed the court to relist the appeal for proper hearing and stay or otherwise suspend the execution of the judgment of February 9, 2007.

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