The battle for political survival by the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, Peremobowei Ebebi yesterday shifted to Abuja where he had gone to ask a federal High Court, sitting in the federal capital city to stop the panel set up by the Chief Judge of his state to commence impeachment proceedings against him.
The embattled official argues that the inauguration of the seven man panel by the Chief Judge, without regards to the pending suit which he filed at a Yenogoa High Court, is an abuse of due process of law and an affront to the said court.
He therefore urged the court to declare that he “remains in office as Deputy Governor until the final determination of the constitutional issues herein raised.” He also prayed the court to direct the Chief Judge to “stay action on the reported empanelling and inauguration of the seven - man committee purportedly being set - up by her in view of the pendency of these proceedings and until the determination of the constitutional issues”
The Deputy Governor’s prayer were contained in the originating summons by the law firm of Collins A. Aimuan and Co. on his behalf, which asked the court to determine “whether, in view of the pendency of the suit No. YHC / 201/ 2010: Rt. Hon. Peremobwei Ebebi Vs. Speaker Bayelsa State and others, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State can invoke and apply and apply Section 188  of the constitution pending the determination of the suit in which the Chief Judge is a party (5th Defendant)?” Specifically, Mr. Ebebi wants the court to determine “whether, when the process leading to the passage of a purported motion and resolution requesting the Chief Judge to set up a panel to investigate a public officer is being challenged in a court of law, the said Chief Judge [as custodian of the constitution and Rule of Law in that state] is not expected to stay action on the appointment or inauguration of the panel until the due determination of that pending suit?” And to rule on “whether or not the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State is not under a legal duty to ensure that the said constitutional conditions - precedent to the setting up of the said panel have been fully complied with by the House of Assembly prior to the inauguration of the panel.” He also wants the court to hold that the Chief Justice of Nigeria , National Judicial Council [NJC] and the Federal Judicial Service Commission are under legal duty to formally intervene by directing the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to refrain from the inauguration of the panel.
In his affidavit in support of the Originating Summons he said that the process of attempting to remove him from office is fundamentally defective, because it was done through a Notice of Impeachment. “Neither was he (Ebebi) nor other members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly served with the purported Notice of Impeachment,” the claims said.
In the last few weeks, the relationship between state governor Timipre Sylva and Mr. Ebebi deteriorated as accusations and counter-accusations flew from both sides, following the frosty relationship existing between them since their re-run election in 2008.
While the governor accused the deputy of being a traitor who is angry because he was refused the chance to dip his hands into the state coffers, the deputy governor described his relationship with his boss as that of the biblical Cain and Abel.
Mr. Ebebi accused the governor of muscling him out of the government by refusing to pay him his allowances and overheads to run his office so as to undermine his political leadership in his native Ekeremor Local Government Area.