By Onome Oghenetega
In what is consider as fresh move to stall the suit filed by human rights lawyer, Mr Omes Ogedegbe, challenging the appointment of Samuel Idah Azubuike as Director General of the Delta State Traffic Management Agency (DETSMA), Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has asked the State House of Assembly to confirm the appointment of the of the retired Navy Commander.
Ogedegbe had approached the State High Court sitting in Ughelli asking it to quash the appointment of Azubuike , alleging that the state governor, Okowa failed to comply with the act establishing the agency in the appointment.
In the suit marked UHC/171/019, Ogedegbe is seeking a declaration of the court that the purported appointment of Azubuike who was until now a Director of Operations as DESTMA Director General by Governor Okowa without confirmation of the Delta State House of assembly runs afoul of Section 12(1) of the DESTMA Law, 2013.
The originating summon had the state governor (Okowa), Delta State House of Assembly, Delta State Traffic Management Agency (DESTMA) and Cdr Azubuike Idah (Rtd) as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents respectively.
Ogedegbe in the suit claimed that the 3rd respondent (Azubuike) does not poses the required cognate experience as traffic management expert to be appointed into the position by the governor.
Citing relevant portions of DESTMA, the rights activist in another relief, prayed “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.”
Facts made available to NIGER DELTA TODAY indicate that Azubuike was first appointed as Head of Operations of the agency in 2016. It was further gathered that it was the first time he would be working as a traffic management officer thus lacks the requisite 10 years cognate experience in road traffic management or other related matters to qualify his elevation to the office of Director General.
But the governor in a quick move to frustrate Ogedegbe’s suit, forwarded the name of the nominee who was alleged to have resumed as DESTMA DG since September 23rd to the State House of Assembly for confirmation as substantive Director General of the traffic management.
Governor Okowa’s letter was read by the Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori during Thursday plenary and the nominee is slated to undergoes lawmakers’ screening next week Tuesday (Dec. 3, 2019)
Azubuike will be taking over from the former Director General of DESTMA and renowned international traffic expert, Olorogun Stephen Dieseruvwe.
The governor in the letter said the nomination was in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 12 sub Section 1 of the law establishing the Delta State Traffic Management Authority of 2013.
The governor said he would appreciate if prompt action is taken to place the name of the nominee before the House for consideration and confirmation to enable him effects his appointment in line with the law.
The Majority Leader, Honourable Tim Owhefere moved a motion for the House to receive the letter for further consideration and was seconded by the Minority Leader, Honourable Innocent Anidi before being adopted.
Oborevwori thereafter directed the nominee to submit thirty five copies of his curriculum vitae to the office of the Clerk on or before December 2, 2019 and appear for screening on Tuesday December 3, 2019.
Meanwhile, when the matter came up for hearing on Thursday (28th of November, 2019) the court could not proceed as the bailiff informed the court that the 4th respondent, Cdr Azubuike (rtd). the avoided personal service.
The matter was adjourned to January 21, 2020 for adoption of written addresses.
See copies of the copies of the suit and originating summon and documents addressing Azubuike as Director General without confirmation from Delta State House of Assembly