Senate Confirmation Of Eight Supreme Court Justices: Another Marginalization Of The Igbos!

By Dr Paul Johnt
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Dr Paul John

Section 231 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended stipulates that the appointment of a person to the office of a Justice of the Supreme Court shall be made by the President on the recommendation of National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the senate.

I see no reason that out of the eight new supreme court justices selected from the six geopolitical zones in the country, there was no Appeal court justice of Igbo extraction that was found eligible to be appointed as a supreme court justice even when Mr President’s Northwest produced three supreme court justices .

The list of the newly confirmed Supreme Court justices includes

  1. Lawal Garba, (North West)
  2. Helen Ogunwumiju (South West)
  3. Abdu Aboki (North West)
  4. M M Saulawa (North West)
  5. Adamu Jauro (North East)
  6. Samuel Oseji (South South)
  7. Tijani Abubakar (North East)
  8. Emmanuel Agim (South South)

Section of 14(3) of the Nigerian constitution as amended clearly states that the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.

If National Judicial Council (NJC) claims that her recommendation to the president was based on seniority and ranking in the Appeal court, does it mean that there is no Appeal court Justice of Igbo extraction that was found among the most senior Appeal court justices?

If NJC claims that her recommendation was based on meritocracy, does it mean there is no Appeal Court Justice of Igbo extraction that was above average?

It is clear that section 14(3) of the constitution only applies when there is the need to restrict Igbos from attaining a particular height in the country . Below are the recent cuts off marks released for entrance into Nigerian Unity Schools:

Abia – Male(130) Female(130)
Adamawa – Male(62) Female(62)
Akwa-Ibom – Male(123) Female(123)
Anambra – Male(139) Female(139)
Bauchi – Male(35) Female(35)
Bayelsa – Male(72) Female(72)
Benue – Male(111) Female(111)
Borno – Male(45) Female(45)
Cross-Rivers – Male(97) Female(97)
Delta – Male(131) Female(131)
Ebonyi – Male(112) Female(112)
Edo – Male(127) Female(127)
Ekiti – Male(119) Female(119)
Enugu – Male(134) Female(134)
Gombe – Male(58) Female(58)
Imo – Male(138) Female(138)
Jigawa – Male(44) Female(44)
Kaduna – Male(91) Female (91)
Kano – Male(67) Female(67)
Kastina – Male(60) Female(60)
Kebbi – Male(9) Female(20)
Kogi – Male(119) Female(119)
Kwara – Male(123) Female(123)
Lagos – Male(133) Female(133)
Nassarawa – Male(58) Female(58)
Niger – Male(93) Female(93)
Ogun – Male(131) Female(131)
Ondo – Male(126) Female(126)
Osun – Male(127) Female(127)
Oyo – Male(127) Female(127)
Plateau – Male(97) Female(97)
Rivers – Male(118) Female(118)
Sokoto – Male(9) Female(13)
Taraba – Male(3) Female(11)
Yobe – Male(2) Female(27)
Zamfara – Male(4) Female(2)
FCT Abuja – Male(90) Female(90)
From the above cutoff marks ,a pupil who scored 129 from Abia; 138 from Anambra ; 111 from Ebonyi ; 133 from Enugu ; 137 from Imo will not gain admission into our unity schools for no other reason than he/she is of Igbo extraction but a pupil from : Zamfara state will gain admission if he scores 4 or if she scores 2 ; Yobe will gain admission if he scores 2 or if she scores 27 ; Kebbi will gain admission if he scores 9 or if she scores 20 . The same story goes all along in almost all the northern states . These were pupils that prepared for the entrance exam same time ,had access to same materials ,wrote the exam same day and under same exam condition .

This is an outright violation of S42( 1 & 2) of the Nigerian Constitution as amended ,which states that :

A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-

(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or

(b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.

(2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.

I lack any explanation how the southeastern geopolitical zone that is adjudged educationally developed zone could not produce any qualified supreme court justice when the criterion is either by seniority/ranking in the Appeal court or by merit whereas Northwest geopolitical zone could produce three supreme court justices .

Principium tertii exclusi ,popularly known as the law/principle of excluded middle/third states that for any proposition , either that proposition is true or its negation is true hence it is either we apply S14(3) and S42(1 & 2) of the constitution at all times or we repeal them . I need not talk about how all the geopolitical zones in the country have six states while southeast has only five states even when Northwest has seven states .

Dr Paul John ,Port Harcourt, [email protected],08083658038

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