A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, has challenged the constitutionality of President Muhammadu Buhari to hold office as the Minister for Petroleum Resources.
The Commander-in-Chief had in September, 2015 chosen Cabinet Ministers, after which their names were forwarded to the Senate for confirmation. He, however, named himself in charge of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
But in his originating summons, a copy of which was made available to Channels Television in Lagos on Monday, Mr Agbakoba listed the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami as defendant before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The lawyer argued that the President was not fit to occupy his position as Petroleum Minister, while still being the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in view of Sections 138 and 147(2) of the constitution.
“By virtue of Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which disqualifies the President of Nigeria from holding any other executive office or paid employment, can the Nigerian President simultaneously serve as Minister of Petroleum Resources, which is an executive office?
“By virtue of Section147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, if the President is not disqualified, can the President hold the office of Minister of Petroleum Resources, without confirmation by the Senate of the National Assembly,” he questioned.
Although no date has yet been fixed for hearing, the lawyer is hopeful that the court of competent jurisdiction would seek a declaration that Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria disqualifies the President from holding the office of Minister of Petroleum Resources, which is an executive office.
Mr Agbakoba, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, wants the court upon hearing of his application, to order the President to vacate the office as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.