When the Regions Were Autonomous and Free (2)

On February 4, 2020. By Eric Teniola

SECTION 65 of the Western Nigeria Constitution states that power to appoint person to hold or act in the office of the Agent-General of the Region in the United Kingdom (including power to make appointments on promotion and transfer) and to remove persons so appointed from that office shall vest in the governor acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier. Before tendering any advice for the purposes of this section in relation to any person who holds any office in the public service of the Region rather than an office to which this section applies, the Premier shall consult the Public Service Commission of the Region.

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Section 66 (1) of the Constitution of Eastern Nigeria states that power to appoint persons to hold or act in the office of the agent-general of the Region in the United Kingdom (including power to make appointments on promotion and transfer) and to remove persons so appointed from that office shall vest on the governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the premier.

(2) Before tendering any advice for the payment for the purposes of this section in relation to any person who holds any office in the public service of the Region other than an office to which this section applies the Premier shall consult the Public Service Commission of the Region. Section 68 of the Constitution of Northern Nigeria states that (1) power to appoint persons to hold or act in the office of the agent-general of the Region in the United Kingdom (including power to make appointments on promotion and transfer) and to remove persons so appointed from the office shall vest in the governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier. (2) Before tendering any advice for the purposes of this section in relation to any person who holds any office in the public service of the Region other than an office to which this section applies, the Premier shall consult the Public Service Commission of the Region.

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You don’t have the power to appoint an Agent-General unless you are a Sovereign state. The constitutions of the four regions had differences which made them sovereign and unique. For example, the Western Region created a Court of Appeal which was the first of its type in the Federation. Section 52 of the Constitution of Western Nigeria states that there shall be a Court of Appeal for the Region; the Judges of the Court of Appeal of the Region shall be – the President of the Court of Appeal; and such a number of Justice of Appeal (not being less than three) as may be described by the Legislature of the Region; the Court of Appeal of the Region shall be a superior court of record and, save as otherwise provided by any law in force in the Region, shall have all the powers of such a court; the President of the Court of Appeal of the Region and the Justices of Appeal shall be appointed by the governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier.

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A person shall not be qualified to hold the office of president of the Court of Appeal of the Region or of Justice of Appeal unless – (a) he is or has been a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some parts of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court; or he is qualified for admission as an advocate of Nigeria and he has been so qualified for not less than 10 years.

If the office of president of the Court of Appeal of the Region is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then, until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the function of that office or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, as the case may be, those functions shall be performed by such one of the Justices of Appeal as may from time to time be designated in that behalf by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier.

If the office of any Justice of Appeal is vacant or if the person holding the office is acting as President of the Court of Appeal of the Region or is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier, may appoint a person qualified to hold the office of Justice of Appeal to act in the office of a Justice of Appeal and any person so appointed shall continue to act for the period of his appointment or if no period is specified until his appointment is revoked by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier.

To be concluded…

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