“These bodies are creatures of the Constitution and even when they work imperfectly, they do not become and cannot be subject to the control of any government. Should they be, they would lose their autonomy and independence and be more widely perceived as partisan institutions that cannot be trusted to take forthright, objective and independent decisions and actions of their own,” –#Joseph Otteh
A civil rights organisation, #Access to Justice, has expressed disappointment with the dissolution of the #Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission and the #Rivers State Judicial Service Commission by #Governor Nyesom Wike.
But A2J, in a statement by its Director, Joseph Otteh, on Sunday, said the dissolution of the commissions was a wrong step.
Otteh said, “These bodies are creations of the Constitution and not the state and neither a state government nor any other government can dissolve what the Constitution has by itself created.
“In relation to the JSC, Wike’s actions will simply compound and deepen the longstanding problems the Rivers State judiciary has endured till this time. A2Justice urges the Chief Judge of the state to reject and disavow the so-called dissolution of the JSC and to refuse the directive to act as the sole administrator of the body.”
According to him, the Constitution states that there shall be established, for each state of the federation, state civil service commission; state independent electoral commission; and state judicial service commission.
Otteh said the composition and powers of each body established by Section 197 (1) of the Constitution are as set out in Part II of the Third Schedule to the Constitution.
“These bodies are creatures of the Constitution and even when they work imperfectly, they do not become and cannot be subject to the control of any government. Should they be, they would lose their autonomy and independence and be more widely perceived as partisan institutions that cannot be trusted to take forthright, objective and independent decisions and actions of their own,” he stated.
He said that while the Constitution enabled the governor to remove individual members of the commission, he did not possess the power to dissolve the commissions as a whole.
“The idea of dissolving these bodies is therefore illegal and it constitutes a clear violation of the Constitution as well as a serious threat to their independence,” the A2J boss argued.
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