Presidential candidate of Peoples Trust, PT, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has called on the international community to immediately impose sanctions on President Muhammadu Buhari, his aides and their family members over what he described as the violation of due process in the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of the Federation.
Olawepo-Hashim Responding to the suspension of the Chief Justice from office, the presidential hopeful in an interview also called on the National Assembly to yesterday, Olawepo-Hashim said: “This is very sad, it is condemnable and must be condemned by all lovers of democracy. It is an ominous return to dictatorship and a complete violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari surrendered all pretence to the rule of law and constitutional democracy by sacking the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen. Unilaterally and in flagrant violation of the Constitution, he also swore in Tanko Muhammad as the new acting CJN. By this act, the President has precipitated needless confusion in the polity. A shocking action, it will aggravate tension ahead of the general election in February and March. This poses a great peril to our democracy.
Though the President defended his action by citing an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal directing Onnoghen’s suspension, his action is akin to a coup – a judicial coup in this case. In a subtle way, the President has suspended in part an integral part of the judiciary by illegally intimidating its highest symbol and shamefully deposing him. This undemocratic and high-handed approach advertises Buhari as an anarchist in a civil garb.
Onnoghen’s travails began late in 2016. His substantive elevation as the CJN suffered delay by the Buhari government to the bewilderment of the public. Early in 2017, he was eventually nominated by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was then the Acting President and was sworn into office in March (2017). But the real signs of trouble blew open on January 7 when a civil society group, the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, filed a petition with the Code of Conduct Bureau, accusing Onnoghen of corruption and false declaration of assets.
“I call on the president himself to step down and resign because he is leading Nigeria into chaos and anarchy. We fought so hard to install democracy and we paid dearly for it, we will not allow any group of people no matter how powerful they think they have become to take democracy down. This is not about politics, it is about democracy which we fought so hard to put in place in Nigeria. “If he refuses to resign, the National Assembly should commence his impeachment immediately.”
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