Continued stay of ministers in their offices is illegal
The refusal of President Goodluck Jonathan to dissolve the Federal Executive Council and his directive to the Ministers to continue in their offices until new Ministers are appointed may occasion a Constitutional crisis in the country. The continued stay of the Ministers in their various offices is illegal and unconstitutional and all official actions performed by them after the taking of a fresh Oath of Office by President Goodluck Jonathan, are illegal, null and void.
The simple reason is that by virtue of Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President is given powers to appoint Ministers to serve in the government. The power of the President to appoint Ministers is derivable from the four-year mandate given to him by the Constitution. As a result, at the expiration of that mandate, the tenures of the Ministers expire automatically too. This can be likened to the tenure of a sub-leasee whose tenure on the property cannot be extended beyond the tenure of the leasee who sublet the property to him. Accordingly, the Ministers' tenure cannot extend beyond the tenure of the four-year mandate given to late President Yar'Adua (which tenure was inherited by Goodluck Jonathan). That tenure ended in the mid-night of May 28, 2011.
The continuous stay in offices by the Ministers therefore at best, if it is not illegal, amounts to a fresh appointment by Goodluck Jonathan which needs the approval of the Senate in accordance with Section 147(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Anything short of this, will amount to a progression in illegality and unconstitutionality.
FESTUS KEYAMO, ESQ.