Governor Murtala Nyako
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State Monday sworn in Justice Nathan Musa as the acting Chief Judge (CJ) of the state, thus violating the directives of the Chief Justice of Federation (CJN), Justice Maryam Aloma Mukthar, to swear in Justice Bathimawus Popo Lawi, who is the most senior chief Judge as the substantive chief Judge of the state.
The appointment was greeted with criticism from opposition parties in the state, as some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders decried the manner in which the appointment was held as three Chief Judges of the state were sworn in unconstitutionally within 14 months in the state.
Spokesman of the state PDP Stakeholders’ Forum, Dr. Umar Ardo, who spoke at a press conference yesterday in Yola, said the appointment of an acting CJ suggested that there was more to the appointment than what the people were made to understand.
He said: “Such an appointment is not only unconstitutional but a direct disregard to the recommendation of the CJN, Mukthar.”
He said the CJN wrote a letter to the state governor, where he specifically requested the governor to forward the name of Lawi being the most senior justice for appointment as substantive Chief Justice of the state and to forward to her office the date of his confirmation and swearing in.
According to him, this singular act was an attempt by the governor to ensure the appointment of a surrogate Judge to thwart the course of justice in the state.
Ardo alleged that in a desperate attempt to corruptly engage the judiciary to stall democratic processes in the state, the governor desperately appointed an acting Chief Judge, which is a violation of section 271 subsection 1 of the 1999 Constitution, which states that “a judicial officer is a career progressive appointment based on seniority on the bench unless such a judicial officer is manifestly unable to discharge his or her responsibility, such an officer cannot be sidelined in favour of the junior officer.”