By AGBA JALINGO
Till today, married women in Nigeria are indigenes of their husband’s homeplace. Even if you are a couple from the same village, the clan the woman marries into automatically becomes her indigeneship. If you marry from a nearby or far flung village, the woman becomes an indigene of the husband’s village. Same for LGA and even States.
The House of Representatives expanded this right by passing a bill in January 2018 enabling married Nigerian women to choose their state of origin.
The “Bill for an act to amend the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc) Act, 2010, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Cap F7 to give married women the option of indigeneship and for related matters” was passed at plenary session.
It was a bold attempt at giving married women the option of choosing the indigeneship of either their father or husband. Prior to the amendment, married women have always been considered indigenes of their husband’s place.
Therefore, I am wondering where this silly argument about the indigeneship of Justice Akon Ikpeme is gathering storm from.
Justice Akon Ikpeme is from Cross River state. She is the most senior after Justice Michael Edem who has retired and following the judicial tradition, she is the most deserving to be elevated to the position of Chief Judge of Cross River state. Every other attempt to twist this long established succession plan is a deliberate effort to create unwarranted confusion.
Obudu born writer and columnist, Elias Ozikpu in one of his recent articles, referred to the 25 members of the State House of Assembly as “25 Rubber Stamps.” That apt capturation of the spineless assembly is exactly manifested in their perpetual olive branch to truancy and executive recklessness.
What does the Cross River House of Assembly mean exactly when they say Justice Akon Ikpeme is not from Cross River?
Someone married to a man from Cross River and a mother from Cross River?
What do they mean when they call her a security threat?
The most senior judge in Cross River a security threat? How did she rise to that point without constituting a threat? At what point did she become a threat?
So once Governor Ayade doesn’t like anyone, he or she becomes a security threat?
What dangerous precedence is this that the House of Assembly is setting?
Why is the Assembly lending a hand to spitting the judiciary to satiate the dictatorial yearnings of one man?
What is the social implication of the message that this ethnic coloured decision of the Assembly is sending to young ones who are building relationships?
Are the 25 rubber stamps in the Cross River House of Assembly striving to strengthen and harmonize our social fabric or are they crafting a future that is hiding with a knife?
Even if Justice Akon Ikpeme were to be disqualified, there should have been better reasons to adduce by the Assembly other than that insult that she is not from Cross River state.
Instead of working to curb executive high handedness, the Cross River House of Assembly has remained nestled under the whims of a domineering governor who relishes his control over them.
But this shameless collaboration between the Governor and the Assembly to foul the air in the Judiciary must be resisted by peace loving Cross Riverians, the NBA and the NJC.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.