Friday, 2 April 2010
(Constitutionality And Effects Of The Senate’s Refusal To Comply With Section 14 Of The 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic Of Nigeria)
In pursuant to Section 147 (2) of 1999 Constitution which states thus:
Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.
The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, purportedly screened and confirmed 38 names out of 39 names of certain individuals that were sent to the senate by the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan GCON.
The events and circumstances that came to play before, during and aftermath of the above mentioned act of the senate have made it imperative to point out an apparent breach of our sacred constitution and its consequential effect of the wittingly and unwittingly acts or omissions of the acting President and the Senate which has in effect rendered the desired and laudable exercise aimed at injecting new blood and life to the governance of Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as snatching the nation from the strong jaw of the so called cabal in our polity null and void.
Without much ado, the Section 147 (2) of the Constitution mentioned above rested and is subject to the strict adherence to Section 14 (3) of the Constitution, as Section 147 (3) states thus:
Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:
It is therefore pertinent to remind ourselves that the provision of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution which provides thus;
The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no pre-dominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.
It is submitted that the opening of the above Section 14 , subsection 3 which is under reference spelt out the two (2) fundamentals and strong pillars the country political colours should be based, which are democracy and social justice as the Section 14 provides that:
14. (1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.
(2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that:
(a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority;
(b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and
(c) the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(3) The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.
(4) The composition of the Government of a State, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation
It is now almost elementary that various descriptions of the ideology of democracy envisage the importance of Constitution as the grund norm for the proper governance in any state.
Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary in page 85 of its Eight Edition, Leslie Rutherford and Sheila Bone define Constitution as “…those laws, institutions and customs which combine to create a system of government to which the community regulated by those laws accedes…The written document embodying these laws…”,
While the study of constitutional law is the learning of all rules which directly or indirectly affect the distribution or exercise of sovereign power. So much of the law as relates to the designation and form of the legislature, the rights and functions of the several parts of the legislative body, the construction, office and jurisdiction of the courts of justice.
In as much as a lawyer that respect and take into consideration of time tested judicial interpretation of which I was almost convinced with the argument that this provision dwells in the realm of unenforceable provisions of our Constitution as it is contained in Chapter II (Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy) of the Constitution.
I however equally reasoned and therefore submit that the drafter of our Constitution understood the reason for compliance with the principle of Federal Character when in Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, the grund norm provides for the establishment of the Federal Character Commission and shouldered it with enormous responsibilities which are sombre and enforceable.
Section 9 of the particular Part even extends the principles of Federal Character to the compositions of the Board of Directors of every Stated owned enterprises.
If the principle of Federal Character could be so important to the drafter of our constitution in management at state level, how much more of Federal level, especially in the appointment of people heading the affairs of Federal Ministries. This principle is cardinal in our constitutional democracy and the Senate cannot just waive same.
It is therefore with shock, disbelieve and alarm that one watch the Senate’s President, David Mark waiving aside and slaughter a very fundamental aspect of our constitution at the alter of sheer political permutations and exigencies by overruling his distinguished colleague from Plateau State, Senator Gogwin when the Senator requested that the provision of Section 14 be adhered to.
Whereas the Section 1 of the Same Constitution states:
(1) This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
(2) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(3) If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
With the foregoing and without any fear of contradiction from any quarters, I submit that the purported Senate’s confirmation of the nominees affected in the circumstances is an act in breach of the provisions of our Constitution and it is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
Kayode Ajulo, Esq.,
Chairman, Egalitarian Mission Africa.
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 07:06
(ARG) has watched with keen interest series of response to comments credited to Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi on the unity of Nigeria in the last few days. Gaddafi initially called for the break-up of Nigeria into two, along religious lines, to guarantee peaceful coexistence which attracted his condemnation as a “madman” by Senate President David Mark while the Federal Government recalled the Nigerian Ambassador to Libya for “consultations.”
The Libyan leader thereafter fired another shot at Nigeria by saying that the country should be broken into many states along ethnic lines.
While we believe that it is undiplomatic for the president of any country to be openly calling for the dismemberment of another country, the truth remains that not many sane Nigerians would agree with Senator Mark that Gaddafi has lost his thinking faculty for making such statements, given what we have shown of ourselves to the world over the years, and, especially, in the recent past.
It is a shame to the Nigerian leadership that it has even now taken Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, a small country we were trying to pull out of the brink a few years back, to be initiating peace moves between Libya and Nigeria, the one-time romantic ‘giant of Africa.’
The first question any rational mind would ask is why a Gaddafi has chosen to call for the balkanization of Nigeria and not Ghana or South Africa. The answer is simple! The Nigerian leadership, over the years, have behaved in the most irresponsible manner in tackling the national question in the country. We have pretended and believed in our own lie that we are a united country to the point that the few attempts to even have a semblance of discussion among the constituent parts of the country has always seen the issue of nationality question being listed as a ’no-go area’ whereas a nation is a daily dialogue.
Yet, the largely incompetent and corrupt leadership has failed to guarantee national prosperity and happiness which would have made the differences among our peoples to be secondary if our resources have been used to develop the enabling environment to engage the energies of the people. To compound the woes, it has also failed to allow the practice of true federalism which is a sine qua non for national harmony in a multi-ethnic state like Nigeria.
The resultant effect is that the attendant wants and deprivations have turned the people into regular instruments of carnage in the elite manipulation of their basest instincts. This explains the almost daily carnage that takes place in parts of the country. This ritual of killings with tonnes of corpses we regularly donate for entertainment on global television would ordinarily make a perceptive outsider to conclude that we are enemy tribes.
The challenge before Nigeria today is that we must critically look into the issues that have turned us into a worry for the world. We must work at solving our problems by forging a true nationhood built on true federalism and use our vast resources to banish poverty in Nigeria so as to guarantee national harmony and end the ritual of wanton killings that has become part of our reality.
If we do not do this, we would continue to have ‘consultants’ like the American Intelligence Unit and Muamar Gaddafi who would be telling us their projections and what should happen to us.
National Publicity Secretary,
Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG.
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 06:53
The Afenifere at its caucus meeting on Thursday, April 1, 2010 chaired by the National Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, examined the state of the nation, and observed that while it wholeheartedly welcomes the emergence of the former Vice President, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan as the acting President, it has been rather disappointed that its expectations of a quick break with the lethargic past to usher in a new era of purposeful people – centered governance, has not been met. For example:
(i) The presidential advisory body, apart from its being too unwieldy to be effective, consists largely of the same recycled personalities who have contributed to the ruination of the nation. They are not the sort of people that Nigeria needs now, to drive a new regime of progressive change.
(ii) In the same token, the process of constituting a new federal cabinet has been subjected to so much lobbying by individuals and surrendered to the dictates of party overlords, while their confirmation process in the Senate has been so much of a charade that the new team can only be seen as Jonathan’s intention to continue with business as before.
(iii)The same rhetoric about renewing the war on corruption, usually delivered by every new President, is being delivered by Jonathan, but the emptiness of that rhetoric is shown by the fact that it is still the most guilty ones who are driving the engine of government under our Acting President.
(iv) The on-going haphazard amendments to the constitution by the National Assembly, particularly on electoral reform, do not do justice to the long-standing and overwhelming demand of the Nigerian people for a wholesale review of the 1999 Constitution. Even some of the few amendments that have been made are retrogressive in nature and only reinforce the people’s perception of government as one that remains tolerant of corruption.
(v) We note that the repeating ethnic crisis in Jos has now taken up the character of a planned genocide against a section of the people especially with the controversial role the army is being accused of playing in the process. We urge the Acting President to demonstrate statesmanship by taking a close look at the army’s involvement and deal seriously with the culprits.
(vi) We notice with trepidation the current attempts being made by some foreign nations, assisted by some local media, to promote Ibrahim Babangida to succeed to the nation’s presidency in 2011. We urge the Acting President to nip in the bud, this insulting interference in the affairs of our nation. No sensible nation will allow foreign nations to choose its President, or even interfere in any way with its presidential selection process. Nigeria should resist the new pro-Babangida lobby with all the tact and diplomacy it can command.
Sen. (Dr) Femi Okurounmu Pa Reuben Fasoranti
Secretary General Afenifere Leader
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 06:52