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Section 147 and 148 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria states that (1) there shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President. (2) 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. (3) 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:-provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State. (4) Where a member of the National Assembly or of a House of Assembly is appointed as Minister of the Government of the Federation, he shall be deemed to have resigned his membership of the National Assembly or of the House of Assembly on his taking the oath of office as Minister. (5) No person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.(6) An appointment to any of the offices aforesaid shall be deemed to have been made where no return has been received from the Senate within twenty-one working days of the receipt of nomination by the Senate.
There is nowhere in the 1999 Constitution where a minister is designated Minister of State.
Ministers of State are suffering in silence inspite of their schedule of responsibilities. They feel dehumanised and feel inferior. Their agony should be avoided.
Moreover, we should stop the current procedure of appointing six Ministers to represent the six geographical zones in the country. It makes the CABINET to be in fact too large and uncontrollable. Zones are not recognized in the Constitution.
Expectedly, the issue of appointments has split the caucus of President Elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. One hopes that the split will not deepen further. It happens always when sharing the spoils of war. It is inevitable given the circumstances of his victory in the Presidential election which in still in dispute.
Sharing the spoils of war is in fact more difficult than winning the war. The President Elect I am sure knows what to do, for you do not teach an old dog new tricks. He should however note that his choice of appointments will no doubt shape his PRESIDENCY. He should be reminded constantly that the fate of his PRESIDENCY is still in court. He should learn from two examples, Namibia and Kenya, where the courts have removed the incumbent Presidents.
On February 3, 2020, the Constitutional Court in Malawi removed from office, President Peter Matharika and on May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Andrew Nyrenda, approved the removal with 4 to 2 votes. In Kenya, the Supreme Court headed by Justice David Kenani Maraga(72) in August 2017, removed the then President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and ordered a rerun of the Presidential election. President Kenyatta later won the rerun election against Raila Odinga.
I don’t know when the Supreme Court in Nigeria will finally decide on the Presidential Election. If I am to go by past records, I don’t think the judgment can be earlier than November. Right now the President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem(66) is yet to name members of the Presidential Election Panel, although she has constituted members of the state appeal panels. The last chairman of the Panel, Mr. Justice Muhammmed Lawan Garuba(65) from Zamfara state, was on November 6, 2020 elevated to the Supreme Court. He was among the six judges whose names were sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for Senate confirmation in 2020.
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