Sun. Aug 1st, 2021

Group Sues Pres. Buhari, Others Over Marginalization of Lagosians On Appointment

Members of The Group With Placards of Various Inscriptions Protesting Marginalization Of Lagos Indigenes At Federal Hugh Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, Tuesday

Group Sues Pres. Buhari, Others Over Marginalization of Lagosians On Appointment

An advocacy group, Lagosians Advocacy Group (LAG) has approached a Lagos Federal High Court, challenging the appointment of none indigenes of the State into the offices and positions meant to be occupied by the Lagosians.

The group which consists of four lawyers, Yakubu Eleto, Adeyemi Onikoro; Shittu Akeem; Nurudeen Aregbeshola and Chief Muhammed Jamiu; Madam Titilayo Medeme,  Gbenga Agoro and others, who are applicants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1465/2020, are seeking an interpretation of provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, and the Federal Character Commission Act Laws of federation of Nigeria, 2010, in relations to the rights of indigenes of Lagos State in participation in government of Nigeria in Lagos State.

The applicants’ suit is pursuant to Order 3 Rule 6 of the Federal High Court (civil procedure) rule 2009 and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

Listed as respondents in the suit are: Federal Character Commission, the President, Federal republic of Nigeria, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Senate of Federal republic of Nigeria, the Governor of Lagos State, Attorney-General of Lagos State,Lagos State House of Assembly and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Other respondents are: All Progressive Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Congress (PDP), Head of Service of the Federation, Federal Civil Service Commission, Head of Service of Lagos State Civil Service Commission, Lagos State Local Government Commission, Lagos State House of Assembly Commission, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Lagos State Teaching Service Commission and Lagos State Health Service Commission.

Lagosians Advocacy Group is seeking a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) & (4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, Para 8, Part I of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution and Sections 4 & 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010, the first Defendant is obliged to monitor and enforce compliance by the second to 19th Defendants with the provision of the Federal Character Commission Act and the established Guidelines and Formulae made thereto in the nomination to contest election or appointment of persons into Political Public Offices and Career Posts in the government and public service of the Federation of Nigeria and all the States in Nigeria including Lagos State.

A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution and Sections 4 and 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010, the second and fourth defendants in the exercise of their Constitutional power, are obliged to appoint and confirm appointment respectively of persons who are the best and competent indigenes of Lagos State to fill political public offices and career posts or positions reserved for indigenes of Lagos State in the Government and public service of the Federation.

A declaration that appointment of a person who is not an indigene of Lagos State by the second defendant and confirmed by the fourth defendant into Political Public Office and Career Post in the government and public service of the Federation reserved for indigenes of Lagos State in breach of the provision of Section 14(3) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part I of the 3rd schedule to the Constitution, Sections 4 & 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010 and the Guidelines and Formulae for Distribution of Political Public Offices and Career Posts in Nigeria, is unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.

A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution and Sections four and five of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010, the fifth and seventh defendant in exercise of their Constitutional powers are obliged to appoint and confirm appointment respectively of persons who are competent indigenes of Local Government Areas or Senatorial Districts of Lagos State to political public offices and career posts or positions in the Government and Public Service of Lagos State.

The applicants also asked for a declaration that appointments of a person who is not an indigene of a Local Government Area or Senatorial District of Lagos State by the fifth defendants and confirmed by the seventh Defendant into Political Public Office and Career Post in the government and public service of Lagos State in breach of the provisions of Section 14(4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part I of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution, Sections 4 & 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010 and the Guidelines and Formulae for Distribution of Political Public Offices and Career Posts in Nigeria is unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.

A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14(3) &(4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution, Sections 4 & 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010 and the Guidelines and Formulae made thereto the 2nd, 3rd, 11th & 12th Defendants in the exercise of their power of appointment are obliged to ensure that competent indigenes of Lagos State are appointed/employed into public/civil services or career posts reserved for indigenes of Lagos State in the Government and public service of the Federation.

A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14(3) &(4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution, Sections four and five of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010 and the Guidelines and Formulae made thereto the 13th to 19th defendants in exercise of their respective power of appointment of persons are enjoined to ensure that competent indigenes of Local Government Areas or Senatorial Districts of Lagos State are appointed/employed their respective service in the Government of Lagos State.

A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) & (4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution and Sections 4 & 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010, the ninth and 10th Defendants in exercise of their power of nomination of persons to contest elections are obliged to nominate persons who are indigenes of Local Government Areas or Senatorial Districts of Lagos State as candidates to contest election into political public offices or positions in the Government of Lagos State or to represent Lagos State in the National Assembly.

A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) & (4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule of the Constitution and Sections 4 & 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010, the eighth defendant, is obliged to accept and give clearance to only candidates who are indigenes of Local Government Areas or Senatorial Districts of Lagos State nominated and submitted by political parties (represented by ninth to 10th Defendants herein) to contest election into political public offices in the Government of Lagos State or to represent Lagos State in the National Assembly.

The applicants further asked the court for a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) & 4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule of the Constitution, Section 4 & 5 of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010, and the Guidelines and Formulae made thereto it is unlawful for any Nigerian to claim to be an indigene of another State or more than one State in Nigeria or Local Government Area in a State to secure nomination to contest election or appointment into any Political public office or career post in the government or public service of the federation or any state in Nigeria. 

The group is also seeking an order compelling the first defendant to enforce compliance by the second to 19th defendants with the provisions of Section 14 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, Section four and five of the Federal Character Commission Act and the Guidelines and formulae made thereto in the exercise of their respective power of nomination of persons to contest election or appointment or confirmation of appointment of person into political public offices or career posts in government of the federation or Lagos State in relation to indigenes of Lagos State.

An order compelling the second, third, 11th and 12th defendants to henceforth comply with the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, the Federal Character Commission Act LFN and the Guidelines and formulae made thereto and to appoint/employ competent only indigenes of Lagos State into political public office and/or career posts reserved for indigenes of Lagos State in the government or public service of the federation.

An order compelling the fifth, sixth and 13 to 19th defendants, to henceforth comply with the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, the Federal Character Commission Act LFN and the Guidelines and formulae made thereto and to appoint/employ competent indigenes of Local Government Areas or Senatorial Districts of Lagos State into political public office and/or career posts in government or public service of Lagos State.

An order compelling  the ninth and 10th and 8th Defendants to henceforth comply with the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) & (4) the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, the Federal Character Commission Act LFN and the Guidelines and formulae made thereto and to nominate and give clearance respectively to only names of candidates who are indigene of Lagos  State to contest election into political public office of Lagos State or to represent Lagos State in the National Assembly.

The applicants also want an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the defendants, their servants,, workers, agents or howsoever from further breach of the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 (3) & 4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Para 8, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule of the Constitution, Sections fourth and fifth of the Federal Character Commission Act LFN 2010, and the Guidelines and Formulae made thereto in relation to indigenes of Lagos State, either in the nomination of person to contest election or in the appointment of persons into Political Public Offices and/or Career Posts reserved for indigenes of Lagos State in the government and public service of the Federation or in the government and public service of Lagos State or as representative of Lagos State.6on in Lagos State. This made the Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (fifth Defendant) to recently publicly decried the situation and demanded for rectification of the imbalance. 

The group, in an affidavit deposed to by Adeyemi Onikoro, averred that when being sworn into office, the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, 11th and 13th Defendants as well as the Chairman of first, eighth, ninth, 10th, 12th and 14th to 19th Defendants individually sworn to uphold the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and obey all laws of the federation.

He also averred that Section 13 of the Constitution of Nigeria imposes a duty on all the defendants to observe and apply the above provisions in exercise of their respective power. And that the Constitution in Section 153 and in Part 1 (c) of the 3rd Schedule, goes ahead to create the Federal Character Commission to promote, monitor and enforce the provisions of Section 14 in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999.

He stated that pursuant to section 4 (1) (a) of the Federal Commission Act, the Commission with the approval of Mr. President made a guideline for the implementation of Federal Character Principle in Nigeria, titled “Guiding Principle and formulae for the distribution of all cadres of Posts”. And that for the composition of government at the National level, the said guidelines provides among others that; each state of the Federation and the Federal Character Capital Territory shall be equitably represented in all national institutions and in public enterprises and organizations. And that the best and most competent persons shall be recruited from each State of the Federation to fill positions reserved for the indigenes of that state or the Federal Capital Territory. Adding that once a candidate has attained the necessary minimum requirement for appointment to a position, he shall qualify to fill a relevant vacancy reserved for indigenes of his State or the Federal Capital Territory.

He stated that himself and other plaintiffs observed that the second, 11th and 12th Defendants have formed the habit of appointing persons who are not indigenes or accepted as indigenes of Lagos State to fill positions reserved for indigenes of Lagos State in the Political public offices and career posts in the Government and Public Service of the Federation.

He further averred that despite several complaints made to the first, second, third and fourth defendants by the plaintiffs and other Lagos indigenous groups, the second and fourth defendants have since 1999 continued to appoint and confirm respectively people who are not indigenes of Lagos State to occupy political public offices and career posts or offices reserved for indigenes of Lagos in the government and public service of the Federation. He added that despite several complaints of indigenes of Lagos State, the 11th and 12 defendants have also continue to ignore, neglect or refuse to appoint or employ indigenes of Lagos State into career post or offices reserved for indigenes of Lagos State in the government and public service of the federation.

He stated that sometimes in August 2020, the Commissioner representing Lagos State in the Federal Character Commission (first Defendant) Mr. Abdul Wasiu Kayode Bawa-Allah, publicly admitted the low representation of indigenes of Lagos State in Federal Government organizations in the State and promised that the first defendant will correct the Federal Character imbalance in Lagos State.  

He stated that while the plaintiffs have  observed that in relation to other states in Nigeria, the second to fourth and 11th and 12th Defendants have always complied with the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Federal Character Commission Act and the Guidelines made thereto, in the appointment and confirmation of persons who are indigenes only into political public offices and career posts reserved for the indigenes of those state in the Government and Public Service of the Federation.

He averred that as a matter of fact, that at all material times from 1999, there are qualified and competent indigenes of Local Government Areas or Senatorial Districts of Lagos State that can be appointed into political public offices and other career posts in the Government and public service of Lagos State but the fifth and seventh defendants have formed the habit of appointing and confirming the appointment respectively of people who are not indigenes to fill such offices and posts.

The deponent while chronicling the political history of the state since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy, stated that some of those appointed by the then Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, such as Henry Dele Alake; Wale Edun; Rauf Aregbesola; Prof. Yemi Osibajo; Fola Arthur Worrey; Ben Akabueze; Lai Mohammed and others, were not indigenes of any Local Government Area or Senatorial District of Lagos State and that they were confirmed by the Lagos State House of Assembly in breach of the Constitution of Nigeria and Federal Character Commission Act and the Guidelines made thereto;

The deponent also accused the previous and current administrations in Lagos State, which appointed people who are not from any local government or senatorial district but were still confirmed by the State’s House of Assembly.

He states that at no material times, there are qualified, competent and fit indigenes of Local Government Areas and Senatorial Districts of Lagos State that can be appointed into the above various offices but the non indigenes in control of the Government of the State will rather appoint their kin in preference to qualified and competent indigenes of the State.

He also averred that despite several complaints by the Plaintiffs and other Lagos State indigenous group, the ninth and 10th Defendant have since 1999 continue to nominate people who are not indigenes of Lagos State  and the 8th Defendant cleared them to contest election into political public offices to represent Lagos State in the National Assembly and people of Lagos State, in the Lagos State House of Assembly in breach of the provisions of the Constitution and the Federal Character Commission Act as well as the Federal Character principle.

He averred that while the plaintiffs and other Lagosians have nothing against non-indigenes living in the State and the competent one amongst them to be appointed into positions or offices in the Government and Public Service in State provided the indigenes of the State are not marginalized and precluded from occupying posts and offices meant for indigenes as it is practiced and implemented in other States in Nigeria.

He stated that political public offices and career posts in the Government of Lagos State which are the birth and constitutional rights of indigenes to fill or occupy are being filled by the fifth, seventh, 13th to 19th Defendants with persons who are not indigenes of Local Government Areas or Senatorial Districts of Lagos State. And that by the reason of the above, substantial number of young indigenes of Lagos State have remained unemployed in their State and they have no other State to turned to for employment.

The deponent stated that unless the respondents are restrained by order of the Court, they will persist in their violation of the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, the Federal Character Commission Act and relevant Guidelines for Distribution and Appointment into Political Public Offices and Career Posts in the government and public service of the Federation and Lagos States in relation to indigenes of Lagos State. And that unless they are compelled by the court to comply with the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria and Federal Character Commission Act in relation to indigenes of Lagos State the marginalization of Lagos indigenes will continue in the Government of the Federation and Lagos State and majority of the indigenes will become destitute and poverty-stricken which is opium for criminality.

None of the respondents have filed any counter to the suit despite been served.

Meanwhile, the hearing of the case which was initially fixed for Tuesday, December 15, before Justice Mohammed Liman, could not proceed as scheduled, due to on-going Judges’ conference in the country.

However, the hearing of the suit has been adjourned till February 16, 2021.