The Speaker’s action might not go down well as persistent disobedience to a court order can lead to contempt. “[And] this offence may land him in prison.”
After the court ordered that Garba Chede, a politician from Bali/Gasol Federal Constituency of Taraba State, be sworn in as a member of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker whose responsibility is to carry out the order refused to honor the court.
When Chede met the House leader with the order of mandamus, a court directive mainly for a public servant to carry out a responsibility imposed on them under the law, the speaker told him there is somebody else above the court.
“There is somebody called Sarki Abba who is a Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs in the Presidency who has an interest on the current person,” Gbajabiamila was reported to have told Chede.
Garba Chede contested for the House of the Representatives seat for his constituency and lost to one Mubarak Gambo whom the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared winner in the 2019 election. But Chede challenged his counterpart’s victory in court and received a judgment declaring him the original winner of the election.
For someone who is a lawyer, Gbajabiamila knew the implications and the risk of his inaction.
The Speaker, deferring the court order admitted Abba’s statement that the current occupant of the seat at the lower chamber had gone to appeal the judgment. Therefore swearing-in for the person declared winner by the court cannot be automatic.
In a bid to make Gbajabiamila obey the judgment, Chede said he met the minority leader of the house, Hon. Ndidi Elumelu, to persuade the Speaker on his behalf which yielded no positive result.
“To my surprise, the speaker was so adamant to [disobeying] the ruling of the court,” he said.
Without wasting much time, Chebe has decided to head back to court as the last hope.
“When we are talking of court order, we are talking of the law and law supersedes every individual,”
Meanwhile, the Speaker’s action might not go down well as persistent disobedience to a court order can lead to contempt. “[And] this offence may land him in prison.”
For someone who is a lawyer, Gbajabiamila knew the implications and the risk of his inaction. This drives to the conclusion that the Speaker either deliberately ignored the possible implications or decided to take the risk for pretentious political gains.
“When we are talking of court order, we are talking of the law and law supersedes every individual,” Chede said when addressing the newsmen in Abuja. “I am surprised that he disobeyed court judgment and I doubt much how he will make law and disobey the law at the same time.”