The South West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami is confused, and as such, he should first make up his mind on who between the President and the National Judicial Council is his employer.
The party, in a statement by its Zonal Publicity Secretary, Hon. Kayode Babade, said that it became necessary to advise Salami to decide on this first, following reports quoting him as saying that the President had his employment.
The NJC recently met and approved Salami’s reinstatement but the decision has as yet failed to get the approval of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The PDP also noted that the controversial judge had in the past deposed to an affidavit saying that the President and not the NJC was constitutionally empowered to sanction him.
The party said Salami’s unstable position on whom his employer is between the President and the NJC has exposed the reason why the Court of Appeal under him gave conflicting judgments on cases of similar facts.
It further said that Salami had on Monday, February 13, 2012 in a motion on notice brought pursuant to section 295(2) of the 1999 Constitution, through his counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi, SAN, claimed that NJC had no power to appoint, suspend or reinstate him, since he was not an employee of the council.
Arguing that NJC’s involvement in his appointment was simply to recommend, adding that the salary paid to him was governed by an Act of the National Assembly.
He then asked the Court of Appeal to determine, among other issues, ‘whether having regard to the provisions of Section 238, 318 and paragraphs 13 and 21 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, the plaintiff, who was appointed to a judicial office as President of the Court of Appeal under extant constitutional arrangements designed to secure the independence of the holder of a judicial office is subject of employer-employee relationship with the 1st defendant (NJC.
The PDP added that it was comical and utterly embarrassing to note that the same Salami that repudiated the NJC just three months ago is saying through his lawyer that the NJC is his employer.
On Friday, May 25, 2012, Justice Salami declared that it was only the NJC that suspended him that could reinstate him to the office.
The party also quoted Salami as saying that, “the letter written to President Jonathan by NJC reinstating him was only to inform him of its fresh position since the earlier decision to suspend him was also communicated to him”.
“You cannot give what you do not have. Section 238 (4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution does not give Mr. President powers to suspend from office and can therefore not suspend or recall a judicial officer suspended by NJC,” his lead counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN) was quoted as saying.
“What are we to believe now? What Salami told the court or what his lawyer told the press? We now understand why the Court of Appeal under him gave conflicting verdicts on cases of similar facts.
“And the confusion that permeated the Court of Appeal is responsible for a situation where today, no one is sure of the judicial precedence to follow in respect of election matters.
“The saving grace now being the opportunity offered by the Electoral Act, 2010 for the Supreme Court to clear the mess created by Salami in the Appeal Court by setting the precedences straight.
“This confusing scenario already ignited by Salami and his spin-doctors has also vindicated Mr. President decision to await judicial resolution of all the pending cases on Salami,” PDP concluded.