The Governor-elect of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, is to be sworn-in on May 29 by the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), who gave the indication yesterday, said where there is vacuum in the Office of the Chief Judge of Rivers State or the Office of the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, the constitution empowers any person to administer the oath of office on a governor-elect.
Adoke in a statement issued in Abuja, said: “It will be recalled that Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON was declared the Governor-elect of Rivers State following the gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 11th April 2015.
“It is therefore expected that he will be sworn into office on 29th May 2015 in accordance with the provisions of Section 185(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
”It is however pertinent to draw public attention to the existing vacuum in the Office of the Chief Judge of Rivers State, as well as the Office of the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Rivers State which has made strict compliance with the requirements of Section 185(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, virtually impossible.
“In order to avert a likely constitutional crisis in Rivers State on 29th May 2015 when the Governor-elect is expected to be sworn as Governor of Rivers State, I have requested the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to administer the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office on the Governor-Elect of Rivers State in accordance with Section 185(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which provides as follows:
“The Oath of Allegiance and the oath of Office shall be administered by the Chief Judge of the State or Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the State, if any, or President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the State, if any, or the person for the time being respectively appointed to exercise the functions of any of those offices in any state.”
“The general public, particularly the Government and People of Rivers State, are hereby invited to take note of this development and appreciate the fact that the invitation extended to the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to administer the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office on the Governor-elect of Rivers State on 29th of May 2015 is in accordance with the Constitution and should therefore be respected by all and sundry”.