A year after the death of James Ocholi, the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to appoint a replacement from Kogi as stated in the constitution.
Consequently, lawyers from Kogi State, where Mr. Ocholi represented in the federal cabinet, have dragged the president to court, accusing him of violating the constitution and short-changing the people of the state.
Mr. Ocholi was killed in a car accident on March 6, 2016, alongside his wife and son.
The lawyers are Felix Okolo, Femi Motojesi, Samuel Ogala, Dickson Enema, David Adegbe and Titilope Akerejola.
In suit number: FHC/LKJ/CE/08/2017, filed at Lokoja Division of the Federal High Court, the plaintiffs urged the court to prevail on Mr. Buhari to appoint a new minister from Kogi State without further delay.
They want the court to determine the following:
Whether the current composition of the federal executive council of the federation without a substantive minister representing Kogi State in the Federal Executive Council for over 10 months is not a breach of Section 143 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended;
Whether the failure of the first defendant to appoint a substantive minister from Kogi State into the Federal Executive Council is not a flagrant and violent breach of the principle of equality and justice upon which the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, is founded; and
Whether by virtue of the provision of Sections 147 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, the first defendant has a mandatory duty to appoint an indigene of Kogi State as minister of the federation into the Federal Executive Council.
The suit, filed March 6, came about six months after another legal practitioner in Lokoja filed a similar suit seeking the court to compel Mr. Buhari to name a replacement for Mr. Ocholi.
Daniel Makolo said in his September 22, 2016 suit that the delay was “an attempt to and has denied the people of Kogi State representation at the statutory mandatory regular meetings held by the president with his vice and ministers”.
Presidential media adviser, Femi Adesina, declined PREMIUM TIMES’ requests for comments Sunday afternoon.