The recent deserving appointments on some persons in Imo State by the Executive Governor, His Excellency, the Right Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, CON, notably the Special Adviser ( Media) , Mr. Steve Osuji , and the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu , have elicited countless positive and negative thoughts and reviews and commentaries. While some argued that the appointment of the Special Adviser especially, should have been done clearly on the approval of the Legislative House upon the receipt of the list forwarded to it ; some pointedly argued otherwise, insisting that the Legislative House can make specific or general ratifications thereafter, given the urgency of the assignments and portfolios.
However, in taking positions on the raging issue, due regard must be had to the requirements of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, including the conventional practices without obviating the essence of the Constitutional provisions in the process and procedures for making appointments into certain definite and specific positions in Nigeria. And therefore, this review shall be centred on the appointments of the Ministers / Commissioners, and the Special Advisers / other categories.
The grundnorm provided for the process or procedures for the appointments of certain categories of public office holders in Nigeria, requiring as a necessity, the involvement of the Legislative House. And non-compliance to/with the provisions of the Constitution in such circumstance, vitiates and nullifies such Executive actions and decisions, and as such renders such a nugatory, a nullity, and without effect and consequence.
The Constitution provides that the appointment and assignment of portfolio to the Ministers and Commissioners must be upon the confirmation of the nominations through screening by the Legislative House. This is condition precedent without waivers!
On the Special Advisers, the Legislative House approves the number as requested by the Chief Executive as required in Law ( the Constitution). In this instance, there is no screening required, except the approval of the list or numbers as forwarded without mentioning the name and portfolios.
For emphasis, the Chief of Staff is considered in the category of the Special Advisers, and this does not require legislatve scrutiny for appointment. Once the list of the requisite numbers of the Special Advisers are forwarded and approved on the face value, the beneficiaries are announced, assigned portfolios without more. In urgent challenges, this category of appointments can be effected, but the list of the numbers must be forwarded to the Legislative House for approval, not screening!
Does the appointment of the Chief of Staff pass through the approval of the Legislative House? The answer is no, emphatic no!
This is because the Chief of Staff is on the level of the Special Advisers even though the holder of the Office holds enormous political power and influence and relevance within the system!
And once such appointments are made in the category outside of the Ministers and Commissioners, such would require legislatve ratifications thereafter without violating the Law.
Therefore, if the appointments of the Chief of Staff, and the Deputies as the case may be, require not legislatve scrutiny in screening , and except the approval of the list, this implies that such other Special Advisers can be so appointed within the category but would ultimately require the approval of the list which would be forwarded thereafter for formalization and ratifications, either specifically or generally, by the Legislative House.
In the circumstance of the appointment of the Special Adviser ( Media ) , the formalization and ratifications would be secured once the list of the numbers of the Special Advisers are forwarded to the Legislative House for approval….
And therefore, no Law or the requirements of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, has / have been breached or violated in the appointment of the Special Adviser on Media by the Executive Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, the Right Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, CON.
AND let Truth and Constitutionalism prevail always, and be allowed to flow like a river non-stop!!!!
Temple Okonji Esq.
May 31 , 2019.