By: Muhammad Adeyemi
The embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Samuel Walter Onnoghen(GCON) was suspended from office recently by the President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari justifying his the suspension on the order he received from the Code of conduct tribunal. The order was issue through an ‘ex parte’ application
The CJN was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) due to his failure to declare some of his assets which contained hundreds of thousands of dollars giving a frivolous excuse on his forgetfulness for not declaring it. The CCT is the arm of judiciary saddled with the responsibility of entertaining suit relating to breach of code by public officers while in office.
This act of suspension had generated mixed reactions from Nigerians both at home and in diaspora. Many top legal personalities in the country have expressed their stance on the suspension of the CJN. Some of them support the suspension so far it’s based on the court order while some sections show a contrary view relying heavily on the fact that the president did not follow the due process of law before he suspended the CJN. Hence, his action is deemed unconstitutional.
Considering the fact that, we are at the verge of holding another election, the major opposition to the current government also rendered their stance. Even, the national assembly which her leadership is in the opposition party has suspended her sitting on national issues like the passage of minimum wage in to the law but has called on her members to reconvene on Tuesday 29th of January, 2019.
The opposition party also suspended her campaigns for three days in reference to the action taken by the President. International communities like the US and UK also described the action of the president as a condemnable one .
During the breakage of the news, it is quite glaring and visible from the prevailing circumstance that the President acted on the court order. Some people see and applaud this as an act of boldness by the president. They hail the president for his action not withstanding the fact that it might be inimical to his re-election into office
Undoubtedly, it was during the vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari to United Kingdom on health ground that the former Chief Justice of Nigeria retired, Justice Mahmud Muhammad(GCON). It is on this basis that the vice President , Professor Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo(GCON)sworn in the suspended CJN Justice Samuel Walter Onnoghen(GCON) as the next most senior ranked Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
It is pathetically hapless that some youth and elders especially the opposition party transmogrify the information . Some gullible youth most especially from the Southern part of Nigeria that the President is desperate to win the election so as a result he appointed a Northern Muslim to be in acting capacity of the Judiciary. What saddens my mind most is the way youth of nowadays can’t grow up with their ego without playing the tribal card or on religion propensity. This act of reasoning just has to stop if really we are committed to be the leaders of tomorrow.
The acting CJN from Bauchi state is the next most senior in the Supreme Court as thus he is the right person to be appointed in acting capacity.
I will also use this medium to laud the President for his courage to act on this. The Russia President; Vladimir Putin said when fighting corruption in a corrupt system, you don’t have to follow due process, you follow necessary process. On this note, I will charge the President to take decisive actions on a lot of issues going round the country starting from ASUU/ASUP strike which almost three months old and the JOHESU planned strike which is set to commence on January 31st.
Moreover, the judiciary arm of our government has already weaken and I think this bold step by the President to stop the abuse of the common man’s hope will put a close to this impunity in the judiciary.
It should be noted that, the Cross-River indigene who had been suspended still remains the CJN and he hasn’t been sacked until the court provides otherwise. The present CJN is only on acting capacity. If Justice Onnoghen plays safe in the court, he will be reinstated.
At times, I do ask myself that, are our legislatures really legislators or they are agitators? I find no answer. These people are disgrace to those they are representing and it’s on that note that the common citizen has to rethink and vote wisely but it’s a lie. We still remain committed to vote ingrate people, I pray we redefine and change during the forthcoming exercise.
How will you left millions of workers benefits(both at the public and private sector) aside till after election and everyone agreed after passing the bill on minimum wage to second reading that you will now tell your members to reconvene only on the issue of the suspension of the CJN?
This sounds ridiculous to the good people of Nigeria and the leadership of the legislature has played with our brain. On this note, enough must be enough. Nigerians must rethink!