SC’s standing committees appointments: Your action goes ultra-vires, Court tells SP Nifemi
The Students’ Union Court sitting in the University of Ilorin has on the 13th of December ruled on the issues surrounding the emergence of the Chairmen and secretaries of the Senate council standing committees, given that their appointments were unconstitutional, illegal and that the Senate president’s action violated the substance of the Constitution, thus his actions were ultra-vires.
In the suit number SUJ/002/18-19 filed by a senator representing the faculty of Law, Senator Authority seeking to know whether or not the defendant in person of the Senate president, Senator Jesunifemi Akano had acted ultra-vires, the 3-man Jury ruled in favour of the claimant.
In the lead resolution delivered by the Chief Judge who also coupled as the chairman of the judicial council, Justice Haroon Idris Ibrahim, the defendant’s actions as regards the appointment of the Senate council standing committees’ chairmen and secretaries, indeed are beyond his powers, thus could be fitted in for ultra vires exercises of power.
“Ultra-vires which connotes without ones’ power and authority, as opposed to intra-vires which implies within power is a register in the legal parlance adopted in instances when authority has acted beyond what the laws allow him.
“Even though a compound reading of the constitution implies that Senate President has general vires by virtue of Article 12 (A) (9), this is only in instances when it is necessary for the effective performance of his office.”
“In the instant case, this general vires cannot be invoked because there is a specific provision in relation to this dealing, hence the appointment by the first defendant is beyond his constitutional power, the first defendant cannot give what he does not have. He cannot make appointments on positions which the constitution has not reposed in him.
This issue is also resolved in favor of the claimant.”, the judgement reads.
In his own opinion, Honourable Justice M. Olawoyin who also is member of the 3-man Jury stated that “I (he) hold, agreeing with the claimant’s counsel that the Senate President lacks the power to appoint the chairmen and secretaries of the said committees. As such he indeed acted ultra vires.”
The third member of the Jury, Honourable Justice Olanrewaju Zainab also aligned her opinion with those of the Chief Judge and Justice Olawoyin’s.
This issue, amongst others was one of the offshoots of the series of fracas that ensued at the Senate council sitting held on the 24th of November, 2018.
Taking leafs from the appointments of the Senate council standing committees’ Chairmen and secretaries, the claimant in the case had on the 30th of November 2018 instituted a legal action before the court against the president of the Senate over what he perceived as the excessiveness of power dispensation of the Senate council president, Senator Jesunifemi Akano.