‘Two-thirds majority of National Assembly members must ratify order’
The threat by the Federal government to impose a state of emergency in Anambra State has drawn the anger of some prominent Igbo leaders who described it as a prelude to rig the November governorship election. They further accused the Federal government of sectionalism, contending that many states in the North have been embroiled in serious security crisis yet a state of emergency has not been declared in those states.
Former governor of Anambra State Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife told Saturday Telegraph that it is an affront to punish the state and the South East in general socially, politically and economically. He said: “This move is indeed unfortunate and unbecoming of a government that claims to be responsive to the plight of the people. What about other states in the North and places like Yobe, Borno, Kastina, Kogi Taraba and the rest of them? “These states are currently facing heavy security challenges in the past five years and the level of killings and burning of houses is monumental but the Federal Government has not found it proper to declare a state of emergency.”
First Republic Minister for Aviation Chief Mbazurike Amechi told Saturday Telegraph that the state of emergency plan is yet another way of telling the Igbos of the South East that they are war captives. Amechi said: “This shows that we are war captives and that the Nigerian civil war is not over yet. Why would you declare a state of emergency in Anambra State when we have worst cases in the North? “The state government has not said that they cannot handle the situation; beside I know that this would come through an act of the National Assembly and not just by fiat. Also, the international community has not come in to take over from Muhammadu Buhari since Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and banditry started in Nigeria.
“This is an indictment on the APC-led government in Nigeria that the only thing they can do to fight insecurity in Anambra State is to impose a state of emergency when they could not handle the security matter. It is even worrisome that at every election in Anambra State we begin to entertain such security issues or is there something that these people know that we do not know? Is there a plot that they are trying to hash ahead of the election in Anambra State?” Similarly, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Secretary-General Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has said that he expected that President Muhammadu Buhari should have declared a state of emergency in Kaduna, Kastina, Borno, Zamfara, or Yobe states before threatening to declare a state of emergency in Anambra.
Isiguzoro said Ohanaeze is astounded that APC led Federal Government is playing out the script for the hijack of the electoral process in Anambra Governorship elections, hence the threats to announce a state of emergency and replace Gov Willie Obiano with sole administrator. He said that the move is the gimmick of Imo governor Hope Uzodinma led National Electoral Committee on the Anambra Gubernatorial elections to install an APC governor in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra. Isiguzoro said that Ndigbo had earlier foreseen these moves to use the instrumentality of the Federal Government to install an APC Governor in Anambra.
He said: “Our suspicions had been reinforced with the recent presidential threats to declare a state of emergency in Anambra, as a reaffirmation that the insecurity challenges in the South East are sponsored and man-made. “Even the ‘Operation Golden Dawn’ of the Army was a deliberate action and threats from the Presidency, it’s all about politics and Ndi Anambra should resist this devilish plot of importing a sole administrator from the North to impose an APC Governor in Anambra.” Isiguzoro said that the threat is a wake-up call for South East governors to rise and voice out the truth to President Buhari on his deficiencies and flaws in governance and that the state of insecurity in the South East were based on marginalisation by his government. “A decorated slave fetching firewood for the roasting of another slave should be aware that his own life is not safe.
If Governor Willie Obiano is removed under the guise of state of emergency and replaced with a Northern sole administrator, definitely it will spread to other states,” he said. Adegoke, Ubani, Ekemezie reject FG’s plan Also, some senior lawyers have rejected plans by the Federal Government to impose a state of emergency on Anambra owing to a continuous breach of peace in the state. The lawyers while baring their minds on the issue urged government to shelve the idea and devise a better way of maintaining law and order in Anambra. Speaking on the issue, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Kunle Adegoke, cautioned government against imposition of a state of emergency in Anambra, saying it might send a wrong signal to the populace.
He said: “I’m of the opinion that the Federal Government should not go the way of declaration of state of emergency. It should rather devise a better way of maintaining law and order in Anambra. “Declaring a state of emergency in Anambra State would rather send a wrong signal since no state in the North East, Katsina, Zamfara or Niger state has been a victim of state of emergency despite the horrors of terrorism and banditry daily ravaging those states and the joint control of territories by bandits and terrorists with the lawful authorities in those states. I’ll rather appeal to the Federal Government to devise more creative ways of ensuring peace in Anambra State” Speaking in the same vein, a former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Ubani, said the threat of imposition of state of emergency in Anambra is not only funny but shocking.
“The threat by Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) to impose state of emergency in Anambra State due to the deteriorating state of insecurity in that state is not only funny but shocking to any discernible fellow. “The Section that provides for state of emergency in 1999 constitution is Section 305. The Section empowers the President to issue the declaration by way of official gazette. However two-thirds majority of National Assembly members must ratify the executive proclamation within two days if the legislators are in session, or 10 days if they are not. “Questions upon questions are popping up in my mind and they are as follows: Does the AG of Federation know that state of emergency declaration and implementation is not Executive act alone? Why is it that the state of emergency is not being contemplated for states like Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara and even Imo state where we have had more precarious state of insecurity all this while? In Kaduna state, people are being killed like chicken on daily basis.
Why this selective threat if I may ask? “Has the state of insecurity in Anambra deteriorated to the level contemplated by the Constitution to warrant the application of state of emergency? Assuming but not conceding that it does, what preemptive action has the government taken to prevent total breakdown of law and order in that state before contemplating the state of emergency? “I certainly smell a rat. The incoming election at Anambra State is at the root of the contrived insecurity and the expected effect is this subtle but easily discernible threat to impose a state of emergency on the state. Patriots should speak up and tell Mr. Malami that Nigerians are too intelligent for this move that smells politics. Electoral victory is secured through the mandate of the people freely given not through manipulation and intimidation. It will not work. We affirm no to selective state of emergency”, Ubani said. Another senior lawyer, Mr. Chris Ekemezie also faulted the Federal Government plan saying it is ill-conceived.
He said: “The threat of declaration of state of emergency in Anambra State is ill-conceived. The President of the Federation lacked the power to remove an elected governor of a state. Declaration of state of emergency cannot and should not be intended towards removal of a governor. The president cannot and does not have the power to appoint an administrator for a state. Power to remove a governor resides with the State House of Assembly through the method enshrined in the constitution.
“The security architecture of the entire country rests on the Federal Government. The President cannot blame a governor who lacks the power to control even the least police constable. Meanwhile, the president has not declared state of emergency in Katsina and Zamfara states that are being ravaged by bandits”.