I have read the directive by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), directing the Honourable Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, to swear in the governor-elect of Rivers State, on May 29, 2015. This is nothing but a continuation of the impunity that has characterised the outgoing administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
It is unconstitutional for the Hon A.G.F. to be issuing directives to a sitting Chief Judge of a State, in a federation. The swearing in of a governor of a state, is a matter for the internal affairs of that state and this cannot be usurped or taken over by the Hon A.G.F. Although it is true that section 185(2) of the 1999 Constitution permits the Chief Judge or the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, of another State, to swear in a governor in another State, such function, can only be performed, at the behest of the particular State concerned, in this case Rivers State, and not upon the directive of the Hon. A.G.F., with due respect.
Nigeria is not operating a unitary system of government and it is not under military rule, as to warrant the intervention of the Hon A.G.F., in the internal affairs of a State, unsolicited. The office of the Hon Chief Judge of a State, is different and autonomous from that of the Attorney-General and the latter cannot issue directives, to the former. The performance of this function by the Hon Chief Judge, is a rare departure from the hallowed principle of observing the territorial boundaries of one state, from the other, to the extent that such exceptional jurisdiction, should be exercised sparingly and upon proper foundation. We cannot be used to a situation, whereby the Executive takes over the Judicial arm of government, to issue unlawful directives, for immediate compliance, as if the latter is an appendage of the former.
Consequently, the Hon Chief Judge of Bayelsa State is humbly urged to ignore this directive from the Hon A.G.F., with due respect, until there is a lawful request, from the government of Rivers State, to that effect.
I appeal to the Governor of Rivers State, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, to formally request the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, to conduct the swearing in. The fact that the All Progressive Party is challenging the election of Nyesom Wike, before the Election Petitions Tribunal, is no reason to frustrate his swearing in, as required by law. The pendency of APC’s petition, is in itself a concession of the election of Nyesom Wike, however wrongful, it may have been.
I also appeal to the President-elect, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), as the current leader of the APC, and indeed all lovers of democracy, to join me in appealing to the current Governor of Rivers State, to make the appropriate application, and set in motion, all machineries, to facilitate the swearing in of the governor-elect. The destiny and future of the entire people of Rivers State, should take prime priority, over the ambition of the PDP and the APC.
We cannot be championing CHANGE with one side of the mouth and then be breathing out impunity and illegality, with the other side.
God bless Nigeria.
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Esq.
May 20, 2015