There is a grand plan to stop Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem from being appointed the substantive president of the court of appeal (PCA), TheCable can report.
Rather, there is a push for Mohammed Lawal Garba, who chaired the 2019 presidential election petitions tribunal, to be appointed in her place.
Although tongues are wagging that it is because Dongban-Mensem is a minority northern Christian and Garba is a northern Muslim, TheCable understands that the intrigues are more political than ethnic or religious.
The Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) had recommended both Dongban-Mensem and Lawal — in that order — to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) to replace Zainab Bulkachuwa, who retired in March 2020 having clocked 70.
Dongban-Mensem, from Plateau state, is the most senior judge in the federal court of appeal.
The NJC forwarded Dongban-Mensem’s name to President Muhammadu Buhari for onward transmission to the senate for confirmation.
However, Buhari is yet to send her name for confirmation nearly three months later.
Instead, he appointed her in a protem position and recently renewed it for another three months, which could see her act as PCA till September 2020.
Garba is the preferred choice of Buhari’s men, TheCable understands
TheCable understands that dirt-digging is now being employed by presidential advisers to get Dongban-Mensem disqualified and pave the way for Garba.
Her national youth service record is being scrutinised, but TheCable learnt that she did serve in 1980/81.
More so, according to government insiders, it would be “mysterious” to question the credentials of someone who has been screened by both the FJSC — of which Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, is a member — and the NJC.