The House of Representatives, on Wednesday commenced the process of conferring exclusive power to appoint chairpersons and members of National and State Houses of Assembly election tribunals in the 36 states and Abuja on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council.
Presently, the power to make those appointments is the exclusive preserve of the President, Court of Appeal, as contained in section 1(3) of the Sixth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
But a bill jointly sponsored by James Faleke (APC-Lagos), and Sunday Karimi (APC-Kogi), seeks to alter the section by taking the power off the Court of Appeal President.
Leading debate on the Bill at plenary, Mr. Faleke explained that “the objective is to first and foremost contribute to the ongoing judicial and electoral reforms in the country.
“Secondly, to create a system of check and balance on the process of appointing these judicial officers.’’
“As it is now, the authority to appoint the judges for the tribunals as well as the appellate tribunal rests squarely on the President of the Court of Appeal.
“This is in consultation with the Chief Judge of the state, the Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the state or the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the state, depending on the state where the said tribunal members are to be appointed from.”
The Bill was unanimously adopted and passed for second reading through members’ voice votes and referred to the Special Ad hoc Committee for review of the 1999 Constitution for further legislative action.