A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has urged the Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from continuing to hold the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The SAN contends that Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution forbids the President from “holding any other executive office or paid employment.”
Besides, he argued that Buhari was not screened for the ministerial job by the Senate as required by the constitution.
Agbakoba urged the court to determine “whether by virtue of Section 147(2) of the 1999 Constitution, the President can hold the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources without confirmation by the Senate of the National Assembly.”
He said as a legal practitioner with 40 years experience and having checked the constitution, he was convinced that Buhari could not legally hold the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources and prayed the court to sack him.
In a 14-paragraph affidavit, which he personally deposed to in support of his suit, Agbakoba explained that the lawsuit was informed by the recent management crisis between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Kaikanti Baru.
The senior advocate said, “I verily believe that the governance chaos in the NNPC could not have occurred if the President is not also the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
“I am aware that the NNPC provides up to 90 per cent of the revenue accruing to Nigeria.
“I am worried that the crisis in the NNPC will greatly reduce Nigeria’s revenue-generating capacity and will affect the revenue distributable to federal, state and local governments in Nigeria. This will gravely affect development nationwide and drastically impact one and all Nigerians, including those in Anambra State (my state of origin) and Lagos State (my state of residence).
“I looked at Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution and I verily believe that it disqualifies the President from holding executive office, including that of the Minister of Petroleum, during his tenure of office as President.
“I also know that the President did not go through nomination process and confirmation by the Senate, before holding the office of Minister of Petroleum Resources.
“I again looked at Section 147(2) of the 1999 Constitution and I verily believe that it prohibits anybody from holding the office of a minister of the federation without confirmation by the Senate.”
The respondent in the suit is the Attorney General of the Federation.
The court has yet to fix any date for hearing.