TROUBLE!!! Nigeria On Fire, Over CJN Onnoghen’s Resignation, PDP, APC, SANs, Quickly React

By Post-Nigeria: April 6, 2019 10:34

TROUBLE!!! Nigeria On Fire, Over CJN Onnoghen’s Resignation, PDP, APC, SANs, Quickly React

Walter Onnoghen’s resignation as Chief Justice of Nigeria, on Friday, has been greeted with mixed reactions from Senior Lawyers, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

It was learnt that Onnoghen, who was suspended from Office, on January 25, 2019, by the Federal Government, for failing to declare part of his assets, tendered his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, through Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President.

Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, who is Onnoghen’s Lead Defend Counsel at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, where he is being prosecuted for false and non-declaration of assets, said: “I have just spoken with him. He confirmed to me that he resigned voluntarily. He told me he resigned in the interest of the Judiciary.”

Reacting to Onnoghen’s resignation, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, revealed that Onnoghen may  have decided to call it quits, in the interest of the Judiciary.

He said: “Without judging whether the CJN was right or wrong, because I cannot speak on that, I think it has come to a point, where he would have decided that in the interest of the Judiciary as an Institution, it was better that he removed himself.

“I see the resignation as a no-liability resignation, which means without accepting that he had done wrong. I have not read the (resignation) letter, but that is my thought. The issue had become messy, and so a time would come you would say to yourself, that if I am the problem in the way of the Judiciary, I would step down and deal with the issues I am facing as a person, so as not to allow this to disrupt the Judiciary. If that is what he has done, I applaud and salute him.”

He added: “People who say he could have done that earlier could have a point, but it is never too late. The important thing is that he has done it. I think I would have done it earlier. But he may have decided to ride it out, but he has now seen that he could not resist the forces against him, because clearly, as far as I am concerned, even if he has done something wrong, the entire process has been politically motivated, without question. That cannot be denied. So, I applaud and salute him for taking himself out of the process.”

While expressing sadness over the matter, another SAN, Prof. Awa Kalu, lamented that he has no doubts that Onnoghen’s resignation was inevitable.

Kalu stated: “I have to say that I am extremely sad, because a good career has come to an end, in a way that not all will acclaim. I do not think that the majority of the people who have watched the travails of the learned Chief Justice, will come to an inevitable conclusion, that is to say that justice has been served.”

Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said: “Onnoghen was virtually hounded out of the Judiciary and of the seat of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, not because of any offence that has been proved, but I genuinely believe, because of one, where he comes from, his ethnic group; two, his religion; three, the fact that he was too unbending to accommodate the excesses of the Executive Arm of Government; and four, because he was not even considered to have been fit to occupy the position in the first instance. That was why the President never agreed to confirm his appointment, many months after the Senate had okayed him, until the President travelled, and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had to do the unthinkable. And I also think that the cabal never forgave Osinbajo for that.”

However, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN, described Onnoghen’s resignation as “embarrassing and shameful”, saying that, he ought to have left as soon as the allegations were raised against him.

Sagay disclosed: “It is disappointing, because he should have done this thing (resign) since January, when the news came out that he failed to declare some of his assets. He should have done it, instead of going to court and embarrassing himself and the whole country.”

Meanwhile, the PDP claimed that Onnoghen decided to resign, because the FG was frustrating him.

The PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, also maintained that the development has created a bad image for Nigeria.

Odeyemi said: “It is a pity that the FG has frustrated Justice Onnoghen out of Office, therefore achieving a premeditated plan against the topmost hierarchy of the Judiciary. Nigerians obviously have not heard the whole story of why Onnoghen is being persecuted. But we are sure that very soon the fear of the APC government, and the reasons behind the orchestrated plan, will be revealed.

“The whole world is watching, and it is unfortunate the negative message we are passing with the treatment meted out to Officials of the Judiciary, being third arm of government; will definitely affect our rating in the comity of nations.

“We wish Justice Onnoghen happy retirement.”

However, the APC said that Onnoghen’s resignation has vindicated Buhari and the party.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, in an interview with Journalists, in Abuja, recalled that the party rose in defence of the President, when he suspended Onnoghen.

According to him, the party knew from the beginning that the allegations against Onnoghen were too serious, and that the President does not act on frivolities.

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