Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and the Action Peoples Party (APP) have asked the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to order the vacation from office political appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose reappointment are yet to be made.
Among those the coalition is seeking their sack include Buhari’s Chief of Staff Abba Kyari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity and Special Adviser, Media, Femi Adesina amongst others.
CUPP, in the legal action, insists that it is an aberration for the presidential aides whose tenure ended with the expiration of the first term of President Buhari to continue in office without being reappointed.
Those sued as defenfants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/762/2019, include President Buhari, Abba Kyari, Boss Mustapha, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina, as 1st to 5th defendants.
The plaintiffs want an order of the court to restrain Kyari, Mustapha, Shehu, Adesina (2nd to 5th defendants) and any other personal staff of the president from parading themselves as the Chief of Staff, SGF and media aides to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria until official reappointment is made.
They also prayed the court for an order directing the 2nd to 5th defendants and any other aide or personal staff of the president, appointed pursuant to Sections 151 and 171of the constitution prior to May 29, 2019 and still acting in that capacity without reappointment to vacate their offices with immediate effect for breach of Sections 151 and 171 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The plaintiffs also prayed the court to order the defendants and other aides or personal staff of the president appointed prior to May 29, 2019 and still acting in that capacity without reappointment to return and pay into federation account all their emoluments, salaries and allowances received from May 29, 2019 till the day they vacate office.
They are also praying the court to order the defendants and any other aide(s) of the president not so reappointed after May 29 and subsequently subscribed to fresh oath of office and oath of allegiance from parading or acting in any capacity as SGF or as aide to the president.
The plaintiffs, in the suit filed on July 3, 2019 by their counsel, Chibuzor Ezike, formulated three questions for the determination of the court, one of which is, “Whether by Sections 151(3), 152 and 171(1)(2)(a and e) and (6) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the first defendant (Buhari) has the power to extend and elongate the tenure of the office of the 2nd to 5th defendants and any of his aides appointed pursuant to Sections 151(1) and 171 (2) (a and e) of the constitution without first terminating their tenure at the end of his four year term on the 29th, May, 2019?
“Whether the tenure elongation and continued service of the 2nd to 5th defendants and all other aides of the first defendant, despite the expiration of the President’s four year tenure on May 29, without official reappointment taken and subscription of oath of office and oath of allegiance is not in clear breach of Section 151(3) 171 (6) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended?
“Whether the 2nd to 5th defendants or any other aide of the president appointed pursuant to Section 151 and 171(2)(a and e) are entitled to any official emoluments and benefit with respect to their offices as from May 29, 2019 when the first four year tenure of the president ended?”
Meanwhile, CUPP said it has launched the new legal action to project the principles of the nation’s constitutional governance and seeking that the court should declare the offices of the presidential aides, the SGF and that of the Chief of Staff to the President vacant, their occupants as illegal occupants and impostors and a desecration of the sanctity of constitutional governance.
The CUPP said: “Former SGF, Boss Mustapha is still in that office, Sen. Ita Enang is still parading as special adviser to the president on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff, Adesina is still appearing in TV programmes as Special Adviser to the President on Media, likewise Garba Shehu parading as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
“These among other officials of the presidency are still illegally occupying their former offices without any lawful authority as the president have not made any announcement to the nation that he has appointed or reappointed officers onto these positions,” it said.
According to CUPP, “President Buhari’s inability to appoint personal/presidential aides or indeed any other appointments over one month after taking oath of office is a sign that the president is still not yet ready to govern and lacks understanding of the urgency needed to fix Nigeria.”
It warned all former aides of the president to stay away from their offices until they are armed with fresh appointment letters or risk criminal prosecution and trial for violation of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.