From Our Special Correspondent
A prominent Legal Practitioner in Sokoto,Mr Ferdinand Okotete, says Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has goofed by advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to honor the invitation by the House of Representatives, to brief the members on the security situation in the country.
Okotete told newsmen in Sokoto on Friday that, sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution, as Amended, have adequately empowered the National Assembly to invite the President on any matter.
According to him, section 88 ( 1b), says that, each House of the National Assembly shall have the power to conduct, to direct or investigate into the conduct of affairs of ant person, authority or Government Department.
Similarly,section 89(1), Paragraph ‘ C’ says the National Assembly has the power to summon any person in Nigeria,to give evidence at any place or produce any document, to aid it in it’s investigation.
Okotete said:” So, President Muhammadu Buhari as a citizen,as the Executive President and ad Commander -in- Chief, the buck stops on his table .
” Every other military authority , by the powers of the Constitution report to him. So, there is no better person to be invited than him .
” This is so, because the President is the number Public Officer in the country .”
Okotete said that, Malami as the Chief Law Officer in Nigeria should always properly advise the President in line with the constitutional provisions and extant laws in the country.
According to him, the Justice Minister can remedy the mistake by advising the President to honour the invitation as soon as possible.
” He should do what is required if him. For the avalanches of reacions from senior lawyses and law Teachers, saying that NASS has the constitutional right to summon the President.
” The AG should not therefore be an exception to the law, ” Okotete, added.
The legal practitiner also took a swipe at Professor Itsay Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, for juxtaposing Nigeria’s Constitution to that of Great Britain.
Itsay was quoted to have said that, the House of Commons cannot summon the Queen to appear before it .
Okotete said:” The Prof forgot that we are talking about Nigerian consitution and not that of Great Britain.
” The provisions of the Nigerian Constitution are not the same as those of the British unwritten Constitution.
” So, his comparison is way off the mark Nigeria is independent nation, devoid of the hitherto colonial bondage .”
On 2023, Okotete opined that, it was too early to start politicking for it, as being g done now in the country, lamenting that, the ugly situation was taking negative tolls on good governance.
Okotete,who kicked against zoning by all the political parties, submitted that, all qualified political gladiators should be given the ample opportunity to emerge as candidates.
” Zoning gives the opportunities to mediocres to jump into governance. Competence and merit should be the major determining factors and not godfatherism.
” To be fair, every region should be given the ample opportunity to come up with their bests, just like Abiola and Kingibe in 1993, who were all muslims, but were overwhelmingly voted by Nigerians sequel to their competence.
” That is why I concurred with El-Rufai when he said he was aganst zoning . So, in 2023, the race should be thrown open for all the political gladiators that are qualified and allow Nigerians to make their choices,” Okotete, added.