- Atiku Abubakar condemned the suspension of Walter Onnoghen by President Buhari
- The PDP presidential candidate called on Nigerians to join in condemning the move
- The former vice president urged Nigerians to vote out the Buhari administration
Atiku Abubakar has condemned the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari and called on Nigerians to use this opportunity to vote out this administration.
In an address on Monday, January 28, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the suspension as an attack against the judiciary.
He said: “I need to state that this latest action by General Muhammadu Buhari falls squarely within the pattern of executive lawlessness that has now been firmly turned into statecraft by the APC government.
“The serial disregard of court orders, and consequent violation of constitutionally guaranteed human rights of our citizens confirms beyond all doubt that General Buhari and his government would rather obey their own whims and operate by separate rules outside the well-established constitutional order and the rule of law. It scarcely requires emphasis that this behaviour is alien to democratic rule and more in line with that of a military dictator.”
Atiku noted that the fight against corruption is important but insisted that this must not be done to undermine the judiciary.
He said: “Without doubt, the fight against corruption is crucial to good governance and the progress of our country. In this context, the issue of corruption as it relates to the institution of the judiciary is even more crucial. As the last refuge of the common man, our judiciary must not only be above suspicion but must also be seen to be manifestly above board. The issue at stake is not whether the Chief Justice is guilty or not, but whether his removal from office has been done in accordance with the process specified in our constitution.
“At this juncture, I must warn the APC government to desist from taking actions that may push us further down the slippery slope towards a major constitutional crisis that could derail the electoral process. General Muhammadu Buhari must remember that he is a beneficiary of a free and fair election. It is therefore a matter of honour for him to allow a political environment and process that gives confidence to everyone.”
Atiku called on Nigerians to rise and defend democracy and promised to be on the side of the people.
He said: “We must vote out this anti-democratic government and restore our country to the path of true democracy, which is the surest way to ensure progress and prosperity for our people.”
Meanwhile, the presidency has again sent a message to the US, UK and EU assuring them that the suspension of the chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen is not related to the coming general elections.
In a statement issued by Garba Shehu on Sunday, January 27, the presidency said it appreciated the concern of three ‘friends’ of the country but assured that the election will be free and fair.
He said: “The statements by the three seem more driven by unfounded assumptions and to be honest, a certain condescension to this African democracy. This is unfortunate. But this gives us an opportunity to clarify some points in the hope that these three friends reach a deeper understanding of the situation.
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"The statements by the US, UK and EU speak of their respect for constitutional practice and fair elections. However, the positions they stake tend to contravene rather than strengthen these laudable objectives."
"CJN Onnoghen’s situation is one of his own making and, to a large degree, his own choosing".
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