Mr. Nwafili Okwuosa, an Onitsha-based lawyer, has petitioned the Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State, to prevent past military heads of state from serving on the council of state.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and the Accountant General of the Federation have joined the litigation.
Okwuosa asked the court to suspend Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd. ), Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (retd. ), Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar (retd.) and Chief Ernest Shonekan from serving on the council of state and receiving emoluments in a matter titled FHC/AWKCS/27/ 2021.
He asked the court to declare their participation in the council of state, as well as the advantages that come with it, unlawful and unconstitutional.
Okwuosa also asked the court to prevent former military leaders and their family from profiting from the country’s riches because they were not elected by the Nigerian people via constitutional methods.
The case was adjourned until May 20, 2022, after the sitting judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, heard the pleas.
Soon after the court session, Okwuosa told the newsmen that he is contesting the former military commanders’ membership in the council of state since they came to power through an undemocratic and constitutional procedure.
Ascending to power by a military coup, he claims, is not part of the constitutional provision that allows one person to be a member of the state council.
“My view is pretty clear,” he remarked. They were in the military, took control, and dominated the country until they became bored of it and stood aside for whatever cause. Under the constitution they perverted, these people are not intended to be recognized as heroes.
“The current constitution we’re running makes no provision for them to be members of the state council.” They should not be considered as past leaders, according to the constitution.”
Allowing them onto the state council, he claims, is only to legitimize the coup.
“If that’s what we’re saying, we should apologize to those coup plotters who were killed when their scheme failed,” he continued. It suggests they were slain unfairly because their coup attempt failed.
“By permitting them to sit on the state council, we are acknowledging and legitimizing coup plotting.” The message we’re sending to the young military commanders is that if you want to organize a coup, make it a success, even if it’s violent; if you succeed, we’ll treat you like a hero.”
If past military rulers are to stay on the council of state, he believes the constitution should be changed to recognize them.