In Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, lawyers have just cautioned Nigerians against the dangerous effects of appointing dead and retired judges into the nation’s election petition tribunal.
The group of concerned lawyers who declined being identified faulted the list of the recently sworn in 250 tribunal members as parading over 10 names of dead and retired judges.
Though admitting that this would not be the first time the Buhari-led government has displayed this level of “cluelessness and carelesness in handling sensitive issues concerning Nigeria”, they described a posthumous appointment of anyone for such sensitive role in the country as burying Nigeria alive.
It will be recalled that the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed on Saturday, January 26 swore in 250 members of the election tribunals at the Supreme Court Complex in Abuja.
This has continued to generate heated criticism by both members of the legal community and social media users who pointed to some Nigerians who have long been dead and buried, but have posthumously made the list.
One of the lawyers, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that up to ten judges in the list were dead.
He identified some of the late appointees to include Justice Edemekong Edemekong whose name appeared as number 58 on the list and declared that the late Justice died since 2013.
Another Justice Chukwu from Ebonyi State and number 53 on the list, who was formerly of the Federal High Court is also said to have been long dead.
The lawyer’s revelation also indicated that Justice Stephen Okon, a retired Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State and justice Okoyo Essang (number 56), a retired justice of the High Court in Akwa Ibom State, both made the list.
This kind of situation arose in 2017, with Nigerians expressing outrage over the inclusion of no fewer than eight dead Nigerians on the list of appointments into the governing boards of agencies and parastatals describing the gaffe as a reflection of how the APC-led government administers the country.
A former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a groupWhatsAppp post, queried the rationale behind the error, saying “You just appointed Donald Ugbaja as member of the Consumer Protection Council. You also appointed Chris Utovas a member of the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research.
“What is it about you and the dead? Is it some kind of fetish or is it just a manifestation of your love for and practice of corspocracy?” he queried
Another social media user, Agbore Olawale cast aspersion on the APC-led government with a rather comical post. “The All Progressives Congress, APC Cemetery/Dead People’s branch want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for finding it worthy to appoint their members into notable positions.
“The appointed members were Late Reverend Christopher Utova as member of Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research; Late Senator Francis Okpozo as Chairman of Nigerian Press Council, Late Chief Donald Ugbaja as a member of the Consumer Protection Council. Nigerians, una mumu never do?
Another Nigerian on social media with the name Hon Akomolafe said, “ Many of us are alive, intelligent, energetic, very dynamic, vibrant and goal-getters… they won’t give us opportunity. Maybe because we are commoners… rather they will go to cemetery to look for the dead! God, we need your divine help now,” he declared.
In his own post, a Nigerian with the name Rennoffor described the development as an embarrassment to the nation, saying, “ this is really embarrassing. This government is just busy sharing positions to former friends and not even ensuring that they are alive. Even if they are alive, how do you expect people of about 80 plus to perform,” he queried.
In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said the inclusion of some dead persons as members of various boards by the Federal Government is a confirmation of the incompetence of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The PDP, which described the development as an unpardonable national embarrassment, said it validates its position that the All Progressives Congress (APC) controlled Federal Government is confused, disorganized and grossly incompetent.
Let us know what your thoughts are on this development.