In order to avert a constitutional crisis over who will swear-in the Rivers governor-elect Nyesom Wike on May 29, Nigeria’s Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke, according to Premium Times, has assigned the Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, to do the honour.
Mr. Adoke disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
He drew the attention of the public to the vacuum in Rivers State where there is currently no chief judge or President of the Customary Court of Appeal, making strict compliance with the provisions of Section 185(1-2) of the 1999 Constitution, impossible.
“It will be recalled that Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike, CON was declared the Governor-Elect of Rivers State following the gubernatorial and houses of assembly elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 11th April 2015.
“It is therefore expected that he will be sworn into Office on 29th May 2015 in accordance with the provisions of section 185(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
“I have requested the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to administer the oath of allegiance and oath of office on the governor-elect of Rivers State in accordance with section 185(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”
The section of the constitution being referred to provides that the oath of allegiance and the oath of office shall be administered by the Chief Judge of the state or Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the state, if any, or President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the state, if any, or the person for the time being respectively appointed to exercise the functions of any of those offices in any state.
Adoke said that the invitation of the Bayelsa chief judge to administer the oath on Wike is not an anomaly, but in accordance with the 1999 Constitution and should be respected by all.
The Rivers State judiciary has been engulfed in protracted crisis of interest which has stalled the appointment of a new chief judge for the state after Justice Iche Ndu retired in August 2013.