The swearing-in of a governor-elect is a constitutional matter. It is the responsibility of the state. It is not a personal affair. It is state business and as the chief executive, it is the responsibility of the outgoing governor of Rivers State to ensure a hitch-free transition, the hand-over of power to his successor. Once the oaths of office and allegiance are administered to the Governor-elect, he becomes the new governor. It marks the beginning of his tenure. This is Government business and therefore the responsibility of those recognized by the constitution to carry it out.
Only those appointed by the governor for this purpose, amongst other purposes can have the statutory credibility to swear-in a new governor. Until the governor-elect is sworn-in, he has no constitutional authority to arrange the swearing-in of the state governor. It is a further reflection of the reign of impunity which eventually derailed the Jonathan administration to find his learned attorney-general ordering the chief judge of a neighboring federation get unit to go to Rivers State and swear-in the governor-elect without the authorization of the Rivers State Government. How would the guest chief judge get hold of the necessary Rivers State Government documents to which he must append his signature, never minding the signature of the new governor. Would the Bayelsa chief judge invade the Rivers State Judiciary which is under lock and key to do so? One is almost tempted to call Adoke’s an ass. As Adoke’s would be out of office by then; what happens if the Rivers State Police Command orders the detention of the Bayelsa chief judge on that day, for usurping the powers of the Rivers judiciary?
Wike needs to stay calm and do nothing. Bringing his chief judge will be counter-productive. No outgoing governor will accept that kind of provocation. The attorney-general’s instruction is irrelevant here. It is the constitutional responsibility of the Rivers State Government led by Governor Amaechi to organize his swearing-in especially the matter of appointing the officiating judge. Amaechi as governor has the exclusive power to appoint the judge. Amaechi is crucial here until May 29, when failing to carry out this responsibility, the burden would shift to an acting governor. Wike should not need to fret. The burden of finding the right judge to swear him in is the burden of the state which would eventually shift to the National Assembly, if the acting governor will not appoint an acting chief judge. The National Assembly can always invoke the doctrine of necessity to get the job done; that is, if Wike’s loyalists have not set Rivers State on fire by then, leaving the president with no other justifiable alternative to declaring an emergency.
The best thing for Wike right now is to ‘pipe low’ and forget these extra-judicial arrangements. His swearing-in can only be delayed for a week or two, if he allows the law to work. The democratic state will fulfill its responsibility to the governor-elect, one way or another, as long as the governor-elect does not complicate issues by taking the law into his hands. Adoke has clearly handed him a gun with which to shoot himself. It is his decision.