Elder statesman and pioneer spokesman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Anabs Sara-Igbe, has called on political parties to challenge Executive Order 21 signed by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike because it is unconstitutional.
According to him, the Executive Order is obnoxious and the height of political intolerance, adding that it wasn’t backed by the Constitution.
Naija News gathered that Sara-Igbe, who challenged the Executive order in a statement issued in Port Harcourt today, said “The action of the Rivers State Governor in respect to Executive Order 21 asking political parties to apply to the Hon. Commissioner of Education for permit and as well pay the sum of N5 million before carrying on with their campaigns in public schools premises and other public squares, is not covered by the Constitution.
“Therefore contrary to Chapter IV, Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which provides for the right to Freedom of Association and Assembly. The Governor is only trying to intimidate, suppress, stifle, harass, arm-twist and cow other political parties from carrying out their legitimate campaigns for the 2023 elections.”
He noted that the so-call Executive Order 21 cannot withstand legal interrogation because it lacks constitutional backing and that if the actions of Wike are not checked, it may result in a major political crisis in the state.
Executive Order 21, he said, “is undemocratic, obnoxious, demonic and an oppressive administrative rule of the Governor and it is not an enforceable law in Nigeria because it is unconstitutional null and void, as it is inconsistent and contrary to the Provisions of 1999 Constitution.”
Sara-Igbe, who is now the National Coordinator of the South-South Elders Forum, noted that Order 21 was made in bad faith by the Wike who is a lawyer and life bencher, “ it is most unfortunate and a ridicule to the Nigerian Body of Benchers.”
He however said the development was not surprising because of the Wike’s “usual antics, repressive style of governance and undemocratic tendencies.”
The former Niger Delta Forum spokesman explained that executive orders of a State Governor are a mere instrument for administrative purposes or directives to agencies and departments of government. “It is not a law as it does not form part of the Constitution nor claim parity with it.”
“The obnoxious Executive Order 21 is a deliberate move by the Governor to constrict and stiffen the political space in Rivers State, weaken the strength of other political parties and kill fair electoral contest with the sole intention of conferring undue political advantage on his party against other political parties ahead of the 2023 General Election,” he added.
Sara-Igbe, who described the signing of Order 21 by Wike as executive rascality and the height of political intolerance, maintained that laws are made for peace, order and good governance of society, rather than for selfish purposes, noting that, “only tyrannical rulers can make such cruel and oppressive order.”
He continued saying Wike’s continuous undemocratic actions have continued to portray him as the biggest threat to the survival of democracy in Rivers State.
Therefore, “It is obvious and clearer that the Governor and his Party, the PDP, are not sure of victory in 2023 general election, hence, the desperation to apply and introduce crude and dirty political means of coercing and intimidating other political parties and the electorates in the State.”
He pointed out that Wike recently took other political parties to Court with the intent of asking the Court to ban them from contesting in the 2023 elections, “Is it that the Governor wants somebody to cover his back when his tenure expires?”
Sara-Igbe urged well-meaning citizens of Nigeria, the Commissioner of Police, the Director of the State Security Service and other relevant security agencies to quickly advise Wike and his cohorts to stop this act of intimidation.
He added, “may I also call on the leadership of other political parties in the state to swiftly take legal actions, challenging the constitutionality of the so-called Executive Order 21 in the Federal High Court with a view to nullifying the obnoxious Order 21 and setting it aside as an illegal instrument of the Rivers State Government.”.