DAILY LAW TIPS (Tip 394) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)
REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING A COMMISSIONER IN ANY STATE IN NIGERIA.
Appointment of commissioners of the government of any state in Nigeria, is guided and regulated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As such, no governor or state House of Assembly can change, modify or alter the guidance and regulation of the constitution on appointment of commissioners f government of a state. The only requirements for any person to be made a Commissioner in any government of any state in Nigeria are the same requirements for any person to be elected as a member of the House of Assembly of any state in Nigeria. And, the requirements are;
A Commissioner of a government of a state in Nigeria, must;
1. Be a Nigerian citizen
2. Be more 30 years old or more
3. Be educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent.
4. Be a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.
5. Not be a person that is not a citizen of Nigeria by birth but is also a citizen of another country by any other means apart from by birth.
6. Not be a person that is adjudged or declared to be lunatic or of unsound mind under any law in Nigeria, except where such decision is on appeal before any court of law and such appeal is not withdrawn or abandoned or completed.
7. Not be a person that has a sentence of death imposed on him or sentence of imprisonment or fine for offence involving dishonesty or fraud or for any other offence imposed on him by any court of law or tribunal or competent authority. Except where such decision is on appeal before any court of law and such appeal is not withdrawn or abandoned or completed.
8. Not be a person that has within less than ten (10) years from the date of his appointment as Minister has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or contravention of the Code of Conduct.
9. Not be a person that is undischarged bankrupt, having been declared bankrupt by any law in Nigeria except where such decision is on appeal before any court of law and such appeal is not withdrawn or abandoned or completed.
10. Not be a person that is employed in the public service of the Federation or any state and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment at least 30 days before the date of his appointment.
11. Not be a person that is a member of a secret society
12. Not be a person that has not presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, it must be noted that although the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, provides that the requirements for a person to be appointed a Commissioner are same for any person to be elected to the House of Assembly of a state in Nigeria, the constitution failed to mention that the clearly elective specific requirements of “being a member of political party” and also the “presentation of forged certificates to INEC” will be waived for appointment as a commissioner. Hence, following the requirements for a person to be elected as member of House of Assembly as those for any person to be appointed a commissioner, strictly, may cause some boat rocking. To some persons this issue may appear trivial and mere academic but it can be a point for one to approach the courts for interpretation. There is need for this part of our constitution to be amended for clarity.
My authorities are sections 28, 106, 107, 192(4), 318 and 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
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