Adoke Lacks Power To Direct Bayelsa CJ To Swear In Wike ­­—Jiti Ogunye

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Ogunye said the administration of oaths is the exclusive reserve of the judiciary and cannot be directed by the executive arm of the government.
“Administering the oaths is the exclusive business of the Judiciary. The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, is a lawyer, no doubt, but he functions in the Federal Executive branch of the government,” Mr. Ogunye said.
“In order to avoid the subversion of the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, carefully and deliberately grafted into the Nigerian Constitution, the AGF must avoid giving patently illegal directives to the heads of the judiciary to perform their duties.
“Any such directive is constitutionally baseless and politically reckless”.
To avoid the looming constitutional crisis in the state due to the absence of a substantive chief judge, Mr. Ogunye said the AGF could send a petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC, to issue appropriate directive to cause the swearing-in of the new governor.
Alternatively, he said, the AGF could file an originating summons in the Supreme Court against the Attorney-General of Rivers State and those of the other states in the Federation, formulating relevant questions and requesting for reliefs that would strengthen the rule of law and grow constitutional jurisprudence in the country.
He noted that any attempt by Mr. Adoke to command a chief judge of a contiguous state or of any state in the Federation to swear-in Mr. Wike would tantamount to meddlesomeness in the affairs of Rivers State.
Mr. Adoke, in a statement on Tuesday, directed Justice Abiri, to administer the oath of office on Mr. Wike because of the vacuum in the office of the Chief Judge and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal in Rivers State.
This is due to the protracted controversy between the outgoing governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi and the National Judicial Council over who should be appointed the state’s chief judge.
Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Keyamo, had on Monday argued that the AGF is right in directing Mrs. Abiri, to administer the oath of office to the governor-elect of Rivers State.