Sunday, 1 December 2019

SAN humiliates and exposes Ayade's antics over appointment of state Chief Judge

Ukorebi Esien |29th November 2019

A senior advocate of Nigeria, Bar. Mba E. Ukewni has taken a swipe on the governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade over the appointment of a Chief Judge in the state. 

Bar. Mba E. Ukewni, in a press statement faulted the governor's moves to appoint a younger judge as the state Chief Judge stating that such act by the governor contradicts Section 271 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, which provides for the most senior judge to be appointed Chief Judge. 

It is no longer news that there have been a long brawl between the Executive and the Judiciary arm of government since commencement of activities relating to the retirement of the Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem.

According to the press statement there's an attempt by the government of Cross River State to illegally undermine and ridicule the Judiciary and the legal profession in the state.

The 6 paragraphed press document states that the illegal attempts by the governor is to aimed at ensuring Justice Akon B. Ipkeme who by all standards is the constitutionally and morally qualified to be the next Chief Judge of Cross River State. 

Justice Akon B. Ikpeme being the next most senior judge in the hierarchy in the Cross River State Judiciary and by virtue of Section 271 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, is the only qualified judge in Cross River State Judiciary to assume the office of the State Chief Judge after the retirement of Justice Michael Edem.

But in an unfortunate and surprising twist of events, the state government led by His Excellency the digital governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade has decided to take the laws in his hands and do the unimaginable as he has taken several belittling, illegal and unconstitutional steps in a bid to satisfying his ethnic lust and selfish interests. 

The legal luminary further disclosed as part of the unwholesome activities to secure this baleful interest, there has been unsuccessful attempts to dissolve, constitute and reconstitute the Cross River State Judicial Service Commission; the wooing, and intimidation of the 9th Cross River State House of Assembly CRSHA to 'adopt unconstitutional and unconventional methods of finding ways to enthroning Hon. Justice Maurice Eneji as the next Chief Judge of the state'; and wooing, cajoling and compromising the certain members of the Bar and the Bench in the state. 

He used the opportunity to appeal to well-meaning Nigerians, the leadership and members of the Cross River State House of Assembly, and the National Judicial Council NJC not to be favourably disposed to the move by the governor to undermine the Constitution. 
According to him, "there is need to build, consolidate and protect our institutions especially the Judiciary rather than desecrate and destroy them". 

The Bold and fearless SAN was once credited by a national newspaper while reacting to this matter as saying "if the governor succeeds as he is boasting, by putting someone as the next Chief Judge against the constitutional provisions, I will never appear before such a Chief Judge and will personally mobilise other lawyers to boycott that court" .

Justice Eneji was called to Bar in 1983, as against Justice Ikpeme who was called to Bar two years earlier in 1981. So, according to the grundnorm of the country, precedents, rules and regulations Akon is due for the office.

See copy of the Press Release:

State of Roads in Cross River State