- Reactions continue to trail the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen's suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari
- The Chief Justice of Nigeria was shown the way out by the president on Friday, January 25 in a move that has been widely condemned
- A Civil Society Organisation, YIAGA Africa Initiative, has called on the president to reverse his decision within seven days
A Civil Society Organisation, YIAGA Africa Initiative, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen within seven days.
Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo made the call on the sidelines of a media roundtable on the 2019 elections and Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) on Saturday, January 26.
Itodo said attempts to rationalize the action taken by the president, “is completely irresponsible and should not be tolerated in anyway.”
His words: “I urge all men and women of reason to ride up and call on the President to reverse this suspension within seven days.
“How can the president suspend the head of another arm of government on the basis of an order by the CCT which was issued on 23rd based on the time stamp on the order, but the Court of Appeal too also issued an order on the 24th asking the CCT to stay proceedings.
“Anyone who wants equity must come to equity with clean hands, must also do equity but in this particular regard beyond the optics and the fact that we are close to the elections, is the fact that it is completely condemnable and unacceptable.”
He continued: “I think it is important to say that first, as civil societies we don’t condone any form of corruption and we know that this government in its campaign manifesto strongly condemns corruption and has designed programmes or policies to fight corruption.
“But it is important to emphasise that you can’t fight corruption without the rule of law as the law is very important and compliance is very important.”
“What happened yesterday (Friday) was executive rascality and should be condemned in every respect, because the president overreached himself and it was just unfortunate because the optics are completely wrong.
“We are just twenty something days to the elections. I thought that the president would have respected the oath that he swore to protect and defend the constitution and its fidelity, but to suspend the CJN is completely unacceptable.”
Speaking earlier at the roundtable, Itodo noted that Civil Society Organisations and the media have to ensure that the forthcoming 2019 elections are credible.
We have a crucial election in our hands and for the results to reflect the wish of the people, CSOs and the media have to rise up and ensure a credible election.
YIAGA Africa is sounding a note of warning that it will expose any attempt to manipulate the 2019 general elections.
He also urged journalists to adopt the use of accurate data in reporting elections, stressing that the PVT method of the organisation, provides empirical data to enable accurate analysis of the election.
In her welcome remarks, Watching The Vote (WTV), Project Director, Cynthia Mbamalu said “what is important for us is that before the elections, we put all our plans as an institution that will deploy observers and ensure we have better partnership with election stakeholders.”
She stated that as part of YIAGA WTV initiative, 882 observers were deployed to all 774 local government areas to observe pre-election proceedings, while 3,034 polling unit observers will be deployed across the 1,515 of the 120,000 polling units across the country.
There were sessions on the WTV PVT methodology, WTV pre-election observation, WTV deployment for the 2019 election and media reportage of PVT findings for the 2019 elections.
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Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, January 25, explained why he suspended Justice Onnoghen and appointed Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as the new acting CJN.
In a press release sent to journalists by his media aide, Femi Adesina, the president said he was served with an Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal directing him to suspend the embattled Chief Justice.
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