Adamawa State has been without a substantive Chief Judge since the former helmsman of the state judiciary, Justice Bemare Bansi, retired from the bench three years ago.
Justice Bansi retired on July 5, 2011 and five acting CJs have been appointed in the state since then.
The reason, as our correspondent learnt on Wednesday, was due to the moves by the sacked governor of the state, Murtala Nyako, to ensure that only his preferred candidate was recommended by the National Judicial Council for appointment as the substantive CJ.
The constitution provides that before a governor can appoint a substantive Chief Judge, such person must be recommended to the governor by the NJC from a list of qualified candidates provided by the Judicial Service Commission of that state.
The former governor was on Tuesday removed by state House of Assembly.
The House of Assembly, in removing Nyako, said it acted on the recommendation of the seven-man panel set up by the current acting CJ of the state, Justice Ambrose Mammadi, to investigate the allegations of fund misappropriation levelled against him.
Mammadi is the fifth acting CJ since 2011.
His second three-month tenure started on July 6.
Incidentally, Nyako had recommended to the NJC to renew Justice Mammadi’s three-month tenure as the acting CJ before the judge set up the investigative panel which indicted him (the ex-governor).
It was learnt that the request by Nyako for the renewal of Justice Mammadi’s tenure after it ended on July 6, was part of the former governor’s continued defiance to the stance of the NJC that it would only recommend the most senior judge as the substantive CJ.
Mammadi began his first three month tenure as acting CJ on April 6 following the state government’s recommendation of his name to the NJC for appointment in acting capacity.
The government had recommended Mammadi after the NJC refused to confirm Justice Nathan Musa’s tenure in acting capacity for about the sixth time.
The appointment of acting CJs after Justice Bansi retired was said to have started with Justice Bathimawu Lawi.
After the death of Justice Lawi, Justice Banu was said to have been appointed as acting CJ and followed by Justice Umar Bobbo.
Sources said Nyako had vowed that Justice Bobbo, who was formerly his favourite ahead of Justice Banu, would never become the substantive CJ of the state as long as he remained the governor of the state.
A source said, “The governor had invited Justice Bobbo to his office shortly after becoming the acting CJ. The acting CJ, apparently aware that the invitation was to settle a dispute between him and a protocol officer in the state judiciary, had sent a message back to the governor that he (the governor) should be the one who should visit his (CJ’s) office if the governor needed him. Justice Bobbo made the same remark when the governor tried to invite him the second time.”
The source, who is very familiar with the crisis rocking the state judiciary since 2011, said it was at that point the former governor refused to renew Justice Bobbo’s tenure in acting capacity.
The government subsequently, with the approval of the NJC, recommended Justice Musa, and ensured he was the CJ in acting capacity for about a year, until the NJC rejected the former governor’s last bid to renew his tenure.
This was what necessitated the appointment of Justice Mammadi’s appointment as the acting CJ on April 6(punch)