By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
An Abuja based constitutional lawyer, Mr. Maxwel Opara, has instituted a case against President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged violation of Federal Character Act in recent appointments at the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA.
The Plaintiff, in the suit he filed before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, alleged that contrary to constitutional provisions, persons recently appointed as Permanent Secretaries, Executive Secretaries, Personal Aides and Directors at the FCTA, were all from the northern region of the country.
Aside from President Buhari, other defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1523/2021, are the FCT Minister, Mallam Mohammed Bello, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Federal Character Commission.
The Plaintiff, is seeking an order of the court, directing the FCT Minister and other defendants, to comply with the provisions of Sections 4(1)(a)(b) and 5 of the Federal Character (Establishment) Act in all appointments in all cadres of posts in FCTA.
Opara, who formulated three issues for the determination of the court, also wants the court to declare that the Federal Character Commission (FCC) is empowered by law to formulate principles and guidelines for the application of the federal character principle of fairness and equitable distribution of all cadre of posts in the federal government of Nigeria and to ensure compliance to the said formulae.
He prayed the court to declare that the 1st to 3rd defendants are under obligation to comply with the provisions of Part 1, Section 1 to 9 and Part III, Section 4 and 5 of the guiding principle and formulae for distribution of all cadre of posts and in appointments into all cadre of posts into the Federal Capital Administration.
“A declaration that the recent appointment on 23rd of November, 2021 of Perm-Secs, Executive Secretaries and other staffers of FCTA by 1st to 3rd defendants clearly offends sections 4(1)(a)(b) and 5 of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc) and provisions of Part 1, sections 1 to 9 and Part III, section 4 and 5 of the guiding principle and formulae for distribution of all cadre of posts made pursuant to section 4(1)(a) of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, Etc) Act and accordingly the said appointments are void”.
In a 20-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the plaintiff, he told the court that the FCT Minister in conjunction with other defendants, recently appointed political, ministerial and other staffers of FCTA, against the Federal Character principle.
He alleged that the appointments as done by the FCT Minister favoured people who are mostly from the northern part of the country.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.