An activist, F. U. Obalim Esq, has dragged the President, Federal Republic Of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari to Federal High Court, over lopsided appointments of Directors of the NNPC Group in breach of Federal Character Spread and unlawful arrogation to self the powers of the Minister of Petroleum.
In the summon available to TheNigerialawyer, Attorney General Of The Federation, Federal Character Commission, President Of The Senate, Speaker Of The House Of Representatives And The Clerk Of The National Assembly, are also the Respondents in the suit.
This is contained in a suit instituted vide an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/242/2021 sought for the interpretation of the following questions of law namely:
Whether by the Combined reading of Section 147 (1), (2), (3); Section 148 (1)(a),(b),(c), Section 151(1),(2),(3); Section 14(2)(c), (3); Section 67 (1), (2) of the Constitution, Section 19 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Article 13(2) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act envisioned the self- appointment and employment by 1st Defendant into a subordinate office under his control that requires an independent, separate and conflicting Constitutional roles and Personae in a manner as to convey to himself an undue advantage as a public officer and whether as the 1st Defendant acceptance of the role of subordinate position appointee reserved for other Nigerians for the President’s supervision, advise and control other Nigerians have not being deprived of the right of participation in the government of their country.
If Question (A) above is answered in the negative: whether by the appointment and the acceptance of latter Public Office position, the 1st Defendant has not abdicated or vacated his former position as the President for a lower Ministerial role.
Whether the combined provisions of Sections 14(3), 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 4(1)(b),(c), (f), (g) and (h) of the Federal Character Commission Act compels the compliance of the Federal Character Principle in all Public Office appointments and Confirmations including into the 2nd Defendant’s in a manner devoid of preponderance of a section of the country to the disadvantage of another section.
Whether Sections 4(1)(a), (d)(i),(ii), 4(1)(e), 4(1)(j), 4(1)(h) of the Federal Character Commission Act that introduced executive wide discretions in the implementation of the 3rd Defendant’s positions and opinions on Federal Character provisions is not in conflict with constitutional provisions in Sections 1(3), 14(3), 42, 153(c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 8 (1)(a),(b) and (c) of Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that mandates all arms and tiers of government to enforce the Federal Character principle in all appointments.
If Question (D) is answered in the affirmative: whether Sections 4(1)(a), (d)(i), (ii), 4(1)(e), 4(1)(j), 4(1)(h) of the Federal Character Commission Act can be allowed to override the provisions of the grund-norm, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not liable to be struck down.
The Plaintiff claims against the Defendants jointly and/or severally as follows:
DECLARATION that the President Federal Republic of Nigeria self- appointment as Minister of Petroleum and the subsequent ratification and confirmation by the 3rd Defendant is ultra vires, illegal, null and void and acceptance of subsequent public office as a Minister operates as vacation and abdication of its earlier Public office as the President of the Federation from the date of assumption of duties as a Minister.
DECLARATION that all appointments by the 1st Defendant and subsequent confirmation by the 3rd Defendant into every office, inclusive of the 20 Principal Officers of 2nd Defendant should reflect Constitutional Federal Character Spread.
DECLARATION of the Court that the 3rd Defendant is Constitutionally obligated to issue binding opinions to all Ministries, Department and Agencies of government including the 1st and 2nd Defendants on all issues of appointments and employments.
DECLARATION that the provisions of Sections 4(1)(a), (d)(i),(ii), 4(1)(e), 4(1)(j), 4(1)(h) of the Federal Character Commission Act which sought to limit the powers of the 4th Defendant under the Constitution, vide Sections 14(3), 153(c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 8 (1)(a),(b) and (c) of Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is inconsistent, null and void and liable to be struck down.
ORDER OF THE HONORABLE COURT striking down the portions of the provisions of Sections 4(1)(a), (d)(i),(ii), 4(1)(e), 4(1)(j), 4(1)(h) of the Federal Character Commission Act that introduced delimiting discretion of the 1st Defendant in the exercise and execution of the Constitutional duties of the 4th Defendant.
ORDER OF THE HONOURABLE COURT setting aside the 1st Defendant’s Appointment of 20 Principal Officers for failure of the appointments to cumulatively reflect the Federal Character Principle and Ordering an immediate re-shuffle in accordance with the Federal Character requirement forthwith.
AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION mandating the 1st and 2nd Defendants to always request and be bound by the opinion of the 3rd Defendant on the Federal Character requirements for all appointments and employments for the Federation.
AN ORDER OF the court mandating the office of the 2nd Defendant to enforce the judgment of the court forthwith upon delivery of the judgment.
In the affidavit he deposed to, the Plaintiff himself alleged that the President has continued to act in disregard for the laws of the country since his assumption of office in ensuring an inbalanced favored appointment of the Northerners over the Southerners especially in the National Oil Company and after the unfair distribution, retains the remaining appointment to himself, also a Northerner. He said the court has a duty to call the Defendants to order in order not to allow a Precedent of Presidents flouting their oaths of office to obey the constitution. He asserted that powers of the Federal Character Commission under the Constitution to serve as appointment and employment spread watch- dog was intentionally and unlawfully purportedly whittled down by the National Assembly and reduced to an appendage of the executive taking orders and directives from the President without no true independence for that institution.
The Suit filed on the 3rd of March, 2021 is yet to be assigned to any court.