CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – The outgoing chief judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem has decried the appointment of a retired judge, Justice Obojor-Ogar (rtd), as chairman of the State Judiciary Service Commission (SJSC).
He said the appointment was illegal and unconstitutional.
The chief judge said Gov Ayade does not have the power to appoint a chairman for SJSC because by law it is the Chief Judge of the state who automatically serves as chairman, while other members can be appointed.
Deputy Governor of the State, Ivara Esu represented the Governor at the inauguration of the commission.
On Monday at the inauguration of the Commission, Justice Edem stormed out of the state council chamber where the governor had invited him to a meeting he claimed was a normal meeting with the SJSC which turned out to be inauguration of another EXCO of the SJSC.
Justice Edem on Tuesday summoned a meeting of the State Judiciary Service Commission (SJSC) saying the parallel one formed by Gov Ayade is unconstitutional and cannot be recognised, emphasising that it should be ignored.
It would be recalled that both men have had a face off in recent times over the appointment of a successor to Michael Edem whose tenure as Chief Judge of the state expires end of November 2019.
The Chief Judge has insisted that, according to the rule of the National Judicial Commission, the next most senior judge in the state who is Mrs Akon Ikpeme should step in but it is learnt that the governor has insisted that since she is not from the Cross River north and is married to a man from Cross River South, she should not succeed Edem.
Among those inaugurated by Ivara Esu were Justice Obojor-Ogar (rtd), Ntufam Joe Ebam, Dr Teresa Ikwen and Barr Tasen Etum Okune.
Vice chairman of the state Nigerian Bar Association, Barrister Etim Inyang frowned at the development, while Barrister Utum Eteng expressed surprise that a learned judge like Obojor Ogar a person of his standing, who is knowledgeable about the constitution and rules of National Judiciary Commission, could allow himself to be used.