Thursday, 28 November 2019

Open Letter to Gov Ben Ayade of C/River State in respect of state chief judge appointment

28 November 2019 



Constraint on Governor in appointing a Chief Judge. 

The Constitution of Nigeria in section 271 (4) provides for the appointment of an Acting Chief Judge by the Governor, the Most Senior High Court Judge in the event that the office of the chief judge becomes vacant or the occupier of the office could no longer perform the function of that office. The governor is required by the constitutional provision to appoint the most "Senior Judge of the High Court " to act in the office of the Chief Judge to fill in any vacancy that may occur therein for any reason. 

This Sir is the clear provision of the Constitution Of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

The National Judiciary Council's recommendation of Hon Justice Akon Ikpeme is not strange to the Constitution sir. 

The State Judiciary Commission and the Attorney-Genaral of the State lack the Legal Right to reject/refuse the recommendation of the NJC as the seniority factor is a very clear provision of the Constitution and cannot be changed for your interest.
H.E Sir, the recommendation by the NJC has not/did not attempt to interfere with or take away the power and right of Governor to appoint the State Chief judge of the State, but the governor must make the said appointment and in excise of the constitutional rights in respect of the provision of the recommendation to him by NJC for appointment as it was enjoined and expected to be. 

Any thing short of that is unconstitional.  
See the case of Rivers State on same issues of imposition by the then Governor, Mr Rotimi Ameachi... the Appeal Court held that: It is clear that the Governor and the State Judicial Council lacks the locus standi to interfere in the recommendation of the NJC. 

Mr Governor sir, in the opinion of the Court of Appeal, the unfettered discretion vested in the NJC in the exercise of the power and authority conferred on it by the Constitution to make Recommendation to the governor is very clear and unambiguous.

The Honorable Justice Akon B. Ikpeme is constitutionally the next most senior judge in CRS judicial commission and by the constitution and established precedent the next Chief Judge of Cross River State as prescribe by the 1999 constitution in section 271 (4). 

Your Excellency, who the cap fits, let him wear it. For who God has blessed after over 30 years of active service as a judge with the CRS judiciary commission, our wife, sister and mother, she should enjoy the fruit of her hard work. Let's remember her in our prayers. 

Leaders and stakeholders, Cross Riverians, let's together support good over evil, the regrets that we most time (all of us) experience in life come from failing to act when we ought to. 

May I call on the Cross River State House of Assembly to support good over evil, a Right cause over a Bad cause. Truth shall for ever stand tall over evil. 

Justice Akon B. Ikpeme is the Right Choice for Chief Judge of Cross River State. Politics apart. 

Thank you.

Goddie A. Akpama. 
28 November 2019

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