Dr Charles Omole, a lawyer and political strategist, has shared his thoughts on why the next Nigeria’s Police Service Commission (PSC) should have come from the South-West geo-political zone of the county. Read what he said on Twitter below and share your views:
On the 24th of January 2023, the President appointed Rtd IGP Arase as the next Chairman of the Police Service Commission. Arase is from Edo State in the South-South geopolitical zone.
Arase is a fine gentleman and a distinguished officer. I have nothing but respect for him & his gallant service to the nation. So this analysis is not about him as a person; but about the supremacy of the rule of law and obedience to statutes by all governments.
The lawmakers’ intention when they crafted the Police Service Commission Act was to ensure the Commission is led by a balanced team of Nigerians that represented our diversity of interests & zones across the country in accordance with the Federal Character principles.
That is why Section 2 (1) of the Act states: “The management of the Commission shall vest in the following members, whose appointment shall be in line with the FEDERAL CHARACTER PROVISION of the Constitution”.
At the commencement of the appointment of all Commissioners of the PSC, they were appointed based on the political zones (to fulfil the Federal Character Laws) and representation as follows:
1) Musiliu Adeola Kunbi Smith (South West)
2) Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi (North East)
3) Lawal Bawa (North West).
4) Muhammad H. Najatu (North West),
5) Braimoh Adogame Austin (South-South)
6) Rommy Mom (North Central)
7) Dr. Nkemka Oshimiri Jombo-Ofo (South East).
With the resignation last Sept of the Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, there is now no South West representation in the PSC at present. Also, there is no provision in the PSC Act that a retired IGP must be appointed to the commission. Non-IGPs have chaired before.
Although a few ex-IGPs have been appointed in the past at the discretion of Presidents. The tension between the past Chairmen and the IGPs has been partly because he is a retired IGP, creating tension with the successive current IGP.
Mr President appointed Alhaji Musiliu Smith partly to fulfil the Federal Character provisions of the constitution as required in Sec 2(1) of the PSC Act. As noted above, this created a balance of zonal representation on the PSC.
Upon the resignation of Alhaji Smith, the PSC Act requires that he be replaced by someone who REPRESENTS THE SAME INTEREST (SW zone) as he did and only for the remainder of his tenure (till July 2023).
Replacement appointment must represent the same interest as the person that resigned.
Section 4 (3) of the PSC Act states:
“Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Commission, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of office of his predecessor, so however, that the successor shall represent the same interest and shall be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate”.
With the appointment of Arase, the SW zone will not have any representation in the PSC, which breaches Section 2 of the PSC Act. You can only fulfil the Federal Character principles if all the zones are represented.
The exclusion of SW from the PSC is bad. Edo state (where Arase is from) already has a PSC commissioner (Braimoh Adogame Austin). So, another representative from Edo (SS zone) to the total exclusion of the SW will be unlawful.
So, it is respectfully submitted that any other candidate from Edo or SS zone should have been disqualified in compliance with the strict law.
SW zone is now unrepresented on the PSC. How can this be fair? At the same time, both the NW and SS zones now have two commissioners each.
This is an express breach of the PSC Act, and the appointment of Arase is unlawful and a breach of the establishment Act. As a country, we need to avoid anything that will not advance our rule of law or make us appear a lawless nation.
There are those in govt that spotted this impending illegality, but they were outmanoeuvred by those who seek to pursue personal agendas. I am sad that my friend and senior brother Arase allowed himself to be used to set back the course of inclusiveness and national cohesion that Section 2 of the PSC Act seeks to promote and maintain. Only the courts can force the Executive to do the right thing. That will be for others to run with. We must be a nation of law & order.
Credit: Dr Charles Omole via Twitter.
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