DESTMA: Gov. Okowa Dragged to Court As He Attempts to Legalize, Illegal Appointment

Gov. Okpe of DELTA state

The recent action of Gov Ifeanyi Okowa has called for a legal battle, over the Action of the affairs in Delta State.

A legal practitioner cum Human Right Activist, Omemiroro Ogedegbe, Esq, has dragged the Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to court over the purported appointment of Cdr Azubuike Idah (Rtd) as Director-General, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA).

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Also joined in the originating summons, as 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents are Delta State House of Assembly, Delta State Traffic Management Agency (DESTMA) and Cdr Azubuike Idah (Rtd), respectively.

DESTMA

In the said affidavit to support his originating summons with Suit No. UHC/171/019 before the Ughelli High Court Judicial Division, Mr. Ogedegbe is seeking a declaration that the purported appointment of Azubuike Idah as DESTMA Director-General by Governor Okowa without confirmation of the Delta State House of assembly is “a breach of the provisions of Section 12(1) of the DESTMA Law, 2013 No. 00 which states that “there shall be a Director-General of the Authority DESTMA) who shall be appointed by the Governor subject to the confirmation of the House.”

Furthermore, the human rights activist and Legal practitioner averred, in another relief for “A declaration that the appointment of the 4th respondent (IDAH) as Director-General of the 3rd respondent (DESTMA), without the required ten (10) years cognate experience in traffic management, is in violation of Section 12 (3) of the Delta State Traffic Management Authority Law, 2013.

According to Section 12(3) of the law states that “The Director-General shall be a University/HND graduate with at least 10 years cognate experience in Road Traffic Management or other related matters.”

He further submitted that Mr. Idah was appointed Head of Operations of DESTMA in 2013 and does not possess the requisite 10 years cognate experience in road traffic management or other related matters to qualify his elevation to the office of Director-General.

He is therefore seeking “an Order of Court quashing the appointment of the 4th respondent by the 1st respondent for non-compliance with the Delta State Traffic Management Authority Law”, as well as “An Order of a perpetual injunction restraining the 1st respondent from carrying out any such appointment into the office of the 3rd respondent (DESTMA) without a confirmation by the 2nd respondent (DTHA).

According to Ibebe Rufus Akpobome, in an attempt, to stop the law from taking it's full course and to Legalize the State Governor's illegal act of appointing a new DESTMA DG without following due process, the State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi has sent the name of Cdr Samuel Azubuike Idah (rtd) to Delta State House of Assembly for clearance to be appointed as DESTMA DG on the 28th of November, 2019.

He has been requested to submit 35 copies of his CV on or before 2nd December and to appear for screening on 3rd December 2019.

ALSO READ : Delta APC Exposes OKowa/PDP alleged Plan to Cripple Delta State Economy

Gov. Okowa sending the name of Samuel Azubuike Idah (rtd) to the State House of Assembly to be cleared and appointed the DG of DESTMA, for an office Idah claimed to have been APPOINTED and has since 23rd September 2019 been performing the functions signing memos and appearing before the House of Assembly Committee on Transports to defend DESTMA's 2020 Budget.

With the established fact that section 12(1) and 12(3) of the Delta State Traffic Management Agency (DESTMA) law 2013, states respectively that “there shall be a Director-General of the Authority (DESTMA) who shall be appointed by the Governor SUBJECT to the confirmation of the House“and” a person to be appointed DG of DESTMA must possess ten (10) years professional experience in traffic management, we seriously do not see why the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, would blatantly disregard the said law, to have reportedly nominated and appointed one Cdr. Samuel Azubuike Idah (Rtd.) as Director General (DG) of DESTMA, despite the fact that the incumbent DG, Mr. Stephen Dieseruvwe’s four-year tenure will expire on June 2020. What better way to describe this, other than the fact that it is clearly an abuse of Executive powers?

According to Zik Gbemre, the recent development has already set tongues wagging as to why Governor Okowa is bent on flouting the Laws setting up DESTMA, and in violation of originating court summons just to favour his Ika ethnic kinsman, Idah, who was said to have boasted all along that he will be the next DG of the DESTMA. What is even more annoying is the fact that the said Idah, does not possess the ten years professional experience to be so appointed DG of DESTIMA, as required by the Law setting it. Disregarding the Law and the Court, the Delta State Governor still went ahead to send a nomination letter to the State House of Assembly (which was on the same day the Ughelli High Court 1 was approached to address this issue), to confirm Cdr. Azubuike Idah (Rtd) as DESTMA DG.

The crux of the matter here is that Mr. Stephen Dieseruvwe, who was appointed DG of the agency in June 2016 after being duly screened and confirmed by the Delta State House of Assembly, has not served his four year term of office, which ends in June 2020, and has not been officially relieved of his position. One begins to wonder why Governor Okowa is bend on violating the laws setting up the agency and even disregard the Ughelli High Court 1 by nominating Idah, his Ika kinsman when the tenure of Dieseruvwe, an Urhobo man, whose tenure is yet to expire?

What we also find quite appalling is the fact that some reports have revealed that the said Idah, has had since September 23rd, 2019, been functioning as the DG of DESTMA, in clear violation of the Agency’s Laws of 2013, which Governor Okowa hastily tries to legalize by sending Idah’s name for confirmation just a few days after having been served as 1st Respondent in the originating summons instituted in Ughelli High Court 1.

We, therefore, consider it expedient to strongly advise Governor Okowa to allow the existing Board and DG, Dieseruvwe, to run to the end of their tenure on June 2020, and stop tribalizing his administration. If the Governor must appoint Idah his kinsman, then he should, as usual, appoint him as one of his aides. At least until the tenure of Dieseruvwe tenure as DG DESTIMA, runs out in 2020. Otherwise, this is a clear abuse of official power, is totally uncalled for. Must Okowa’s kinsman be appointed to head every Delta State Government Department? This is clearly not how to govern and lead any State as a Governor. Okowa should be reminded that he is there to govern the whole State on ‘the equal basis’ irrespective of the tribe/ethnicity and socio-political differences amongst Deltans.

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