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Con­tin­ued from last week

This is be­cause while a con­sti­tu­tional power should not be used to at­tain an un­con­sti­tu­tional re­sult, the lan­guage of the con­sti­tu­tion where clear and un­am­bigu­ous must be given its plain and ev­i­dent mean­ing. Al­though the cross-ap­pel­lant is in­sist­ing that in the de­ter­mi­na­tion of this 3rd is­sue the court should con­fine it­self to the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the pro­vi­sions of Sec­tion 292(1)(a) (ii) of the Con­sti­tu­tion alone to the ex­clu­sion of the other rel­e­vant pro­vi­sion; of the same con­sti­tu­tion, I en­tirely agree with the learned se­nior coun­sel for the ap­pel­lant cross-re­spon­dent that the court should ex­am­ine all the rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion in or­der to find ad­e­quate guid­ance in ar­riv­ing at the cor­rect de­ci­sion.

The NJC is one of ex­ec­u­tive bod­ies es­tab­lished for good gov­er­nance of the coun­try un­der Sec­tion 153 of the con­sti­tu­tion.

It is quite plain from the pro­vi­sions of para­graph 21 sub­para­graph (c) and (d) of the Third Sched­ule to the CFRN 1999, that the NJC is the body that; had been as­signed the duty and re­spon­si­bil­ity of rec­om­mend­ing to the gov­er­nors of the states of the fed­er­a­tion suit­able per­sons for ap­point­ment to the of­fices of chief judge of the states and other ju­di­cial of­fi­cers in the states.

In ad­di­tion to its role in the ap­point­ment of chief judges of the states and other ju­di­cial of­fi­cers, the same NJC is also em­pow­ered un­der sub-para­graph (d) of para­graph 21 to rec­om­mend to the gov­er­nors of the states, the re­moval from of­fice of the chief judges of the states and other ju­di­cial of­fi­cer of the state, and also to ex­er­cise dis­ci­plinary con­trol over such chief judges of the states and other ju­di­cial of­fi­cers of the states.

There­fore, from these very clear pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion which are very far from be­ing am­bigu­ous, the Gov­er­nors of the States and the Houses of As­sem­bly of the States can­not ex­er­cise dis­ci­plinary con­trol touch­ing the re­moval of Chief Judges of States or other ju­di­cial of­fi­cers in the States.

Go­ing back to Sec­tion 271 (1) of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion, it is also glar­ingly clear that the NJC has been given a role to play in the ap­point­ment of Chief Judges of the States where the sec­tion states:

“271 (1) The ap­point­ment of a per­son to the of­fice of a Chief Judge of a State shall be made by the Gover­nor of the state on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the NJC sub­ject to the con­fir­ma­tion of the ap­point­ment by’ the House of As­sem­bly of the State.

It can be seen here again, al­though the gover­nor of a state has been vested with the power to ap­point the chief judge of his own state, that power is not ab­so­lute as the gover­nor has to share the power with the NJC in rec­om­mend­ing suit­able per­sons and the State House of As­sem­bly in con­firm­ing the ap­point­ment. It is in the spirit of the con­sti­tu­tion in en­sur­ing checks and bal­ances be­tween the three arms of govern­ment that the role of the gover­nor in ap­point­ing and ex­er­cis­ing dis­ci­plinary con­trol over the chief judge of his state is sub­jected to the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the NJC and the House of As­sem­bly of the state in the ex­er­cise to en­sure trans­parency and ob­ser­vance of the rule of law.

For ex­am­ple, the ground of re­moval for in­abil­ity to per­form the func­tions of his of­fice or ap­point­ment can­not be as­cer­tained and con­firmed by the gover­nor or the House of As­sem­bly in the ab­sence of any in­put from the NJC un­der which su­per­vi­sion the chief judge dis­charges his func­tions as ju­di­cial of­fi­cer and which body also is di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for ex­er­cis­ing dis­ci­plinary con­trol over the said state Chief Judge.

It is not dif­fi­cult to see that for the ef­fec­tive ex­er­cise of the pow­ers of re­moval of a chief judge of a state by the Gover­nor and House of As­sem­bly, the first port of call by the gover­nor on his jour­ney to re­move a chief judge of the state shall be the NJC which is equipped with the per­son­nel ex­er­cise of dis­ci­plinary con­trol over ju­di­cial of­fi­cers, must be read, in­ter­preted and ap­plied to­gether in re­solv­ing the is­sue of whether or not the gover­nor of a state and the House of As­sem­bly of a state can re­move a Chief Judge of a state in Nigeria with­out an in­put of the NJC. This is be­cause the com­bined ef­fect of these pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion has re­vealed very clear in­ten­tion of the framers of the con­sti­tu­tion to give the Na­tional Ju­di­cial Coun­cil a vi­tal role to play in the ap­point­ment and re­moval of ju­di­cial of­fi­cers by the gov­er­nors and Houses of As­sem­bly of the state, in the re­sult.

I en­tirely agree with the two courts be­low that hav­ing re­gard to these rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions of the CFRN 1999, the Gover­nor of Kwara State and the House of As­sem­bly of the State can­not re­move the Chief Judge of Kwara State from of­fice with­out the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the NJC in the ex­er­cise. The 3rd is­sue there­fore is also re­solved against the 2nd re­spon­dent/crossap­pel­lant.

The 4th and last is­sue is whether the Court of Ap­peal did not err in mak­ing pro­nounce­ment on the pro­ce­dure em­ployed in the re­moval of the 1st ap­pel­lant/ cross-re­spon­dent as chief judge when that point was nei­ther an is­sue be­fore it nor even be­fore the trial court. I am afraid this is­sue has al­ready been ef­fec­tively de­ter­mined and re­solved un­der is­sue No. 3 which I have re­solved

The NJC is one of ex­ec­u­tive

bod­ies es­tab­lished for good gov­er­nance of the coun­try un­der Sec­tion 153

of the con­sti­tu­tion

and re­sources to in­ves­ti­gate the in­abil­ity of the chief judge to dis­charge the func­tions of his of­fice, the sub­ject of dis­ci­plinary ac­tion of re­moval through the com­mit­tees of the coun­cil, and where the in­fir­mity of the mind or body is in­volved, the ser­vices of a med­i­cal board to ex­am­ine and sub­mit ap­pro­pri­ate re­port on the chief judge to be af­fected, could also avail the coun­cil in the process of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it is for the fore­go­ing rea­sons that I hold the view that in the res­o­lu­tion of the is­sue at hand, the en­tire pro­vi­sions of the CFRN 1999 in sec­tions 153(1)(i)(2), 27(i), 292(1)(a)(ii) and para­graph 21 of Part 1 of the Third Sched­ule to the CFRN 1999 deal­ing with the ap­point­ments, re­moval and

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