by Adedokun Seyi
As far as Cross River State, Walter Samuel Onnoghen was sworn-in as Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria while Justice Mahmud Mohammed was on retirement leave on November 10, 2016. In this case, President Buhari sought for the cooperation of the Judiciary arm in fighting corruption, and mind you, he had told him that he was sworn-in during a trying time of the nation in terms of security, economy and corruption. Onnoghen, being conscious also pledged his assistance in the war against corruption saying that “In this state of our development and with your programme in tow, I assure you of the full cooperation of the third arm of government in the continuation of the war against corruption and misconduct in the judiciary” according to vanguard.
March 7, 2017 ushered Mr. Walter in as the legitimate 20th Chief Justice of the federation when the Vice President returned his name to the Senate for confirmation on February 8 of the same year along with Grand Commander of Order of Niger (GCON) awarded to him. As he would present his ambrosia statement to the public, Walter pledged full compliance to the law. Osinbajo had earlier told him that there is loss of confidence in the government by the people and his emergence should help to restore their trust and reliance. Osinbajo said it was time to show Nigerians that the choice they made in bringing in the administration was the right one, as Saharareporters had reported.
Meanwhile, on the rise of January 11, 2018, what wasn’t as offence when Walter was sworn-in as Act Chief Justice was counted against him by the Federal Government. In the letter sent to the Chairman of CCT, there are six charge counts against him in which he declared in-part his asset and liabilities within three months, as justice of the Supreme Court sworn-in on June 8, 2005 which is a contravention of tree he code of conduct. On or before December 14, 2016, he was expected to declare his asset but still contravened the law and omitting to declare a domiciliary on a third count and fourth which are in Euro and Pound , which are the same charges but in different currencies on fourth, fifth and sixth counts.
Putting aside the petition of Anti-corruption and Research Based Data Initiatives (ARBDI), it is just fine to analyze intentions rather than looking at the surface of fighting corruption. We all know that corruption is being fought in part in Buhari’s administration.
Let’s quickly analyze this issue and leave. The offences were counted against him starting from 2005 when he was Police Officer that he made false declaration. In 2017, the government that wrote against him swore him in as Acting Chief Justice of the federation and even awarded him GCON and was lastly made the CJN in that same year. This government was still aware that he made false and non declaration, but didn’t do anything at that time. What else do we need to know?
The political inclination is towards the 2019 general election. The government has been removing anyone who will hinder the re-election of Mr. President. This may be sentimental, but I’m not a party loyalist. The favoritism would come in such a way that if the election does not favour Buhari, then the favorable person who would occupy the seat of CJN after Onnoghen would be able to ease the manipulation.
Issues to be concerned with:
1. CJN hasn’t been tried at NJC
2. Under the nose of our most senior administration, a Justice that was charged by EFCC for taking 10milla/1.8milla in part bribe would be the one to judge. See democracy.