Governor Fayose’s Rambunctiousness Must Have A Limit! By Okoi Obono-Obla
Is Governor Ayo Fayose such an uncouth, loudmouthed, rambunctious and rancorous person who is always putting his mouth into what he doesn’t know just to impress his small crowd of admirers?
Is he such a meddlesome interloper or “busy body” who wears the knight amour to fight skirmishes that doesn’t concern him?
Why is this man always shouting, mudslinging, ranting or shouting hoarse over nothing? It is a notorious fact that Governor Fayose is not learned in the arcane science of the law! So why would he delve into matters concerning the judiciary which is way beyond his league? Who told Governor Fayose that the president cannot appoint an Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria? Even if there is no such precedent; what is wrong with President Buhari setting a precedent?
Such wayward behavior and unguarded utterances by Governor Fayose is unbecoming of a Governor! It undermines and desecrates his office, which is an exalted one from whichever prism one looks at.
From the ranting of Governor Fayose on this matter, it is as clear as crystal ball that he does not have the modicum of understanding and appreciation of the workings of the institutions of the judiciary! So I can’t decipher why Governor Fayose would dabble into the matter of the appointment of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen and try to politicize such an important strategic institution under the guise of opposition to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari!
What is legally, constitutionally, statutorily or conventionally or morally wrong with the appointment by President Buhari of an Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria? Are there no precedents of appointments on acting capacities made by the President in this administration? The answer is in the affirmative!
The present Inspector General of Police; Director General of State Security Service; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission just to mention a few were appointed in acting capacities before they were eventually confirmed!
Indeed, Section 231 subsection 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) empowers the President to appoint the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria whenever the position of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is vacant. Section 231 subsection 4 of the Constitution provide thus:
“If the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the President shall appoint the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions “.
It is a known fact that the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, The Honourable Justice Mahmud Mohammed attained the age of 70 years on the 10th November 2016 which is the mandatory age of retirement of Justices of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Nigeria respectively.
It follows that the position of the Chief Justice of Nigeria has become vacant by virtue of the retirement of the then incumbent, The Honourable Justice Mohammed on the 10th November, 2016 when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed The Honourable Justice Onnoghen! So all the insinuation made by Governor Fayose to the fact that President Buhari did not want to appoint somebody from the South/South is hogwash and a poor attempt to whip Sectional sentiments against the President!
The pertinent question is: has the President not appointed Nigerians from the South/South into eminent and strategic positions? The answer is crystal glaring. It is a fact that the Chief of Naval Staff, Head of Service, Six Ministers etc from the South/South were appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari; so what the hell is Governor Fayose talking about?
Governor Fayose said that the appointment of Justice Onnoghen in an acting capacity is to make him subservient to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari! What poppycock! Governor Fayose ought to know that such appointments are normal in government.
I know that the present Chief Judge of my State-Cross River State Was appointed Acting Chief Judge for four months even though he was recommended and his name forwarded to former Governor Liyel Imoke by the National Judicial Council! I will kindly advise Governor Fayose to spare the judiciary his Sectional and divisive Politics of rancor, shenanigans and grandstanding from the judiciary!
Governor Fayose’s rambunctiousness must have a bound otherwise one will begin to doubt his sanity! Okoi Obono-Obla