Four Akwa Ibom State-based legal practitioners have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari before a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, over non-appointment of an indigene of Akwa Ibom as Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, after the sack of Bassey Dan-Abia midway into his four-year tenure.
Other respondents in the suit are the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and acting Managing Director of NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari.
The lawyers, Aniekan Akpan, Essien Obong, Akpadiaha Ebitu and Emmanuel Ukor, chairmen of Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Eket and Oron branches of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, respectively described as unlawful, the appointment of a non-indigene of Akwa Ibom State after the termination of the appointment of immediate past Managing Director, Mr. Dan Abia on December 21, 2015.
Citing relevant sections of the NDDC Act, the plaintiffs in the suit are, therefore, seeking a declaration “that the premature termination of Dan Abia’s appointment as MD of NDDC by the President before the end of the four-year tenure allocated to Akwa Ibom State is unlawful and a gross violation of the people’s right.
They are also asking the court to declare that “Semenetari’s appointment is illegal and a gross violation of the right of Akwa Ibom people, particularly lawyers of Akwa Ibom origin, and equally a violation of the principles of proportional sharing of bureaucratic offices as enshrined in the Federal Character Commission Act Cap F7 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The plaintiffs, who recalled that Dan Abia was appointed on December 3, 2013, urged the court to declare that Akwa Ibom is the legitimate state statutorily entitled to produce an “Acting” or ‘substantive’ Managing Director of NDDC presently to continue and complete the four years tenure of office allocated to the state by the rotation arrangement as enshrined in Sections 3 and 12(1)(d) of the NDDC Act.
They are praying the court to compel the President to terminate Semenitari’s appointment.
They are also seeking an order of the court compelling the President to “Immediately appoint any Akwa Ibom State indigene as “Acting” Managing Director or alternatively, the Managing Director of NDDC and present him to the National Assembly for confirmation to complete the four years tenure of office allocated to the state.