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Lawyer Sues President Buhari Over Appointments

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A lawyer, Marcel Dim-Udebuani, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to nullify all the the 25 major appointments made so far by President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly being in breach of principle of federal character enshrined in the nation’s Constitution.

The plaintiff filed his suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/732/2015, in which joined the Chairman, Federal Character Commission as the second defendant, on Monday.

He contended that the 25 appointments made so far by the President were in breach of the spirit of federal character enshrined in section 14 (3) of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Buhari’s last set of appointments announced last week has drawn strong criticism from many Nigerians who accused the President of making lopsided appointments, skewed in favour of people from the Northern part of the country like himself.

Buhari had on August 27 approved the appointment of Babachir David Lawal from Adamawa State as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

He also named Mr. Abba Kyari from Borno state as his Chief of Staff.

Other appointments approved by the President, according to the statement, are those of Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd.) as the new Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service; Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service; Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate); and Suleiman Kawu as SSA on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).

Both Ali and Kawu are from Kano State and Abeshi is from Nasarawa. Enang from Akwa Ibom State is the only one from the South-South geo-political zone.

So far, not person from the South-East zone had been appointed into any position by the Buhari administration.

The plaintiff in the fresh suit prayed the court to reverse all the appointments the President had made so far.

Part of his questions submitted to the court for determination reads, “Whether the total of the twenty-five (25) appointments made so far by the 1st defendant (Buhari) is not against the spirit of Section 14 (3) of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Whether the exclusion of South-East geo-political zone in the twenty-five appointments made so far by the 1st defendant is unconstitutional and divisive among others.”

He sought the following reliefs.

Dim-Udebuani prayed the court for “an order compelling the 1st defendant (President Buhari) to reverse the appointments so far made to observe and comply with the principle of Federal Character as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”

His other prayers also read in part, “An order of this court compelling the 2nd defendant (FCC) to invoke paragraph 8 (1) (C) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“An order of court declaring all the appointments so far made null and void for violation of the principle of Federal Character enshrined in our constitution aforesaid.”

Dim-Udebuani, anchored his prayers on the grounds “that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country for all the citizens, South-East inclusive.”

He also contended as part of the grounds for the suit that the 2nd defendant (FCC) was a creation of constitution of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and that “the entire five states that make up South-East geo-political zone has no appointment yet.”

He contended that the North-East, North-West, North-Central, South-West and South-South had had representations in the appointments made so far.

In affidavit in support of the originating summons, the plaintiff said the President swore to defend and protect the nation’s constitution and that the Constitution ought to be obeyed by all appointments which he said were lopsided in the recent appointments that were made.

He argued that it would be “in the best interest of justice and promotion of rule of law that the lopsided appointments should be discouraged by granting all the prayers before the court.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing.

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