By Muhammad Yahaya
The Leadership of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party Bauchi State under the leadership of Muhammad Yahaya Abubakar wishes to break its silence on the controversial suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the appointment of Justice Ibrahim Muhammad Tanko in the acting capacity.
As a party that have firm belief in the future of Nigerian democracy as a nation, We believe that no one is completely apolitical but we have to develop the ability to subject our feelings of politics for the general interest of the nation. We initially choose to stay away from the matter but as the lovers of a true democracy we feel it is necessary to tell the world and the people of Nigeria on this gravest attack in the history of our nation democracy and to rancor our democracy, judiciary and save Nigeria as well from this international humiliation.
It was true as most believed that the Swift suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen look more or less a planned game of politics by the federal government but it is also true that the CJN have been a subject of quansi criminal violation of the rule of law as presented by the Code of Conduct Bureau before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
It will be recalled that the former NSA boss simple case last for almost four years to be proven before the court. Cases of corruption related charges on some of the former governors have been before the court for over eight years now. The chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal is also facing criminal trial on gravious allegation of crime and have not resigned nor been suspended. With those why Justice Walter’s happens that fast?
It was true and even testify by Justice Walter somewhat 2013 on the autonomous jurisdiction of the CCT in respect to the violations contravening any of the provision of the code of conduct bureau “not to any ordinary regular court” NJC inclusive here as not an exception here to the clause herein. This implies that the president may be right by following the CCT’s order on Justice Walter’s case but the question here is that why is it that the president doesn’t follow the ruling of the same court of law on the Sheik Zazzaki’s case. Does this implies that the president was ignorant of the law as of then, or the president was selective on the ruling to follow or otherwise.
Unfortunately, to those shouting on top of their voices throwing their weight behind Justice Walter, I want them to go back to their Constitution and find out its provision on suspension and impeachment of all public officers. For suspension of the CJN in view the National Assembly could only advice and approved in case of new appointment or suggest when need be to the president.
If we are to also look at the acting CJN appointment without leaning ourselves to tribal or religious perfective, there is virtually nothing wrong about his appointment to the CJN office, as it is a known fact that we as a country cannot live without a Chief Justice and accidentally Justice Ibrahim Tanko who was from a different region and religion to that of Justice Walter happens to be the most senior judge of the supreme court and it was under that privilege that make him to be in the acting capacity of the CJN office.
Going back to the corruption related charges on the suspended CJN. It wasn’t only the judges that are corrupt but the Nigerian law itself as it creates more rooms for criminal to escape judgment. But for peace, Justice and continuity of true democracy reign in Nigeria, Justice Walter should save the law the troubles and shame he put to himself and out of national disgrace to honorably resign his position as the Chief Justice of the federation. While the President should consider justice on his part and revert the CJN suspension. This should however be done simultaneously. Afterwards a CJN should then be appointed in acting capacity based on the recommendation of the NJC as the only recognized judicial regulatory body in the same vein seeking the Senate approval.
It will also be wise for the president to consider subjecting all the election tribunal list or nominations by either the suspended CJN or the Acting CJN to the approval of the joint national legislative houses.
By Muhammad Yahaya is a Public Affairs Analyst.