CJN Trial: Let the Law take its course -APC
The All Progressives Congress(APC) has said that the law should take its full course on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary, stated this at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
The CJN was expected to appear before the CCT on a case of Constitutional infraction for false declaration of his assets before assuming office.
Issa-Onilu maintained that the country’s democratic and constitutional institutions must be allowed to operate without interference and undue pressure from partisan and sundry interests as being done by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its cronies.
He explained that the CCT trial was a legal matter, adding that the law should be allowed to take its course.
“The CJN must go through the instrumentalities of the courts, more importantly as an institution he represents. Indeed, this is the true test of our Constitution, rule of law and will deepen democracy.
“Where there are contestations on institutional procedures, we must allow same institutions to perform their functions unhindered, autocorrect if necessary and set good precedence on future matters.
“This is the only way we can build strong and lasting institutions.
“While we would not want to be lured into discussing issues that are presently before the court and for which any respectable political party hoping to hold positions of responsibility should restrain itself.
“We regret to suggest that PDP has been attempting to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that there is a political motive behind the charges brought against the CJN’’, he said.
This, the APC spokesman said, it might itself be indicative of some unholy alliances between the PDP and the judiciary.
He added that the likely affinity existing between the PDP and a section of the judiciary was further accentuated by the non-appearance of Justice Onnoghen before the CCT.
Issa-Onilu, however, noted that this was in line with the suggestions made by PDP South South governors on Sunday.
He wondered if Nigerians expected to see this as a mere coincidence and if the PDP and their governors were acting a script.
He said this was especially worrisome knowing that the PDP’s campaigns had been receiving a cold shoulder everywhere they had gone to campaign.
“We have also noticed the very dangerous attempt to designate the CJN’s arraignment along ethnic and religious lines thereby trying to heat up the polity by evoking primordial sentiments which would do the country no good.
“This is an ungodly ploy when we consider that the CJN is an officer of the federation rather than that of any region.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians of good conscience to caution the PDP as the country is bigger than any political party or the interest it represents,”he said.
Issa-Onilu stressed that nothing should stop the country’s steady march into sustainable democratic governance.
He noted that the PDP was always defending cases of corruption anytime they arose.
He said the call by the PDP’s South-South Governors for the CJN’s boycott of the CCT trial further cemented APC’s position.
Issa-Onilu reiterated that nobody, no matter how highly placed, should be above the laws of the land.
He said the attack that had come from the PDP in the wake of the trial of the CJN over alleged false asset declaration was particularly worrisome and suspicious.
This, he said, was especially so when the PDP had in fact called for the removal of virtually all heads of government’s arms, particularly the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Inspector-General of the Police over frivolous issues.
He said it had become apparent that the PDP and its presidential candidate were facing imminent defeat in the coming elections and might be searching for some unorthodox means of forcing itself on Nigerians.
“If this were not so, the PDP should, before coming to these distracting conclusions, have taken cognisance of the facts of the allegations made against the CJN and his admission to the facts so stated,”Issa-Onilu said.