Wednesday, February 8, 2017

JUSTICE FOR JUSTICE ONNOGHEN

Finally, Honourable Justice Walter S. Nkanu Onnoghen's name has been forwarded by the Presidency to the Senate for confirmation as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN just before the expiration of the three months period within which he could remain in acting capacity, due by the tenth of February. Since coming to power, President Muhammadu Buhari hasn't for once hidden his disdain for the judiciary, moving beyond rhetorics to having many judges homes raided by the officials of the secret service (headed by his kinsman) on charges of corruption. Interestingly, like many other forward thinking actions that's so far happened under this President Muhammadu Buhari government since coming to power more than twenty months ago, it happened while he was out of the country, supposedly on "vacation".
JUSTICE W. S. N. ONNOGHEN


The delay in forwarding his name all this while, have unsettled not a few Nigerians who have had it to the neck with the Presidents' nepotistic tendencies in appointments in virtually all areas of government, seeing that the honourable justice will be the first CJN if confirmed from Southern Nigeria in thirty years. Even the observation by certain legal eggheads that the National Judicial Council, NJC which Justice Onnoghen also heads can renominate him to the presidency for confirmation by the senate, should the term in which he can perform in acting capacity elapse, wouldn't douse the doubt in the minds of the many who feel they cannot trust Buhari to do the needful should such a situation arise, without pandering to his parochial interest in naming a successor who would satisfy what will seem to be his condition (being of Hausa, or most importantly, Fulani origin) for anyone occupying such a position of authority while he holds sway. They didn't think, going by his antecedents, that it will matter to him that this same Justice Onnoghen held the only contrary decision in that Supreme Court Judgment that upheld Late President Yar'adua's heavily flawed (do-or-die) election in 2007, in his favour.


Had this not happened this way, and President Buhari had had his way, it would've become one such appointments too many to favour Nigerians of his ethnic group or closest to him in northern Nigeria, and even those who have been supporting him all the while, especially regarding his appointments, stating that as president it is his prerogative, and he could as well choose anyone he wishes to work with from only a part of Nigeria he's comfortable with, as long as they go about government business in the interest of Nigeria (which as we have so far seen is far from the truth and reality), would not find the mouth to explain what would've been the most outrageous decision he would've made as president.


Now that his bluffs have been saved him by Vice President, now Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, and a looming crisis of confidence averted in the now totally browbeaten judicial arm of government, his supporters would most likely jump on that as having been in the works all this while, as thorough work of screening the acting CJN was responsible for the delay in forwarding his name as constitutionally required to the senate for confirmation in the first place; same delay that in the absence of information from the government over the issue, led to rumours about the person of President Buhari when it comes to playing the ethnicity card, that the good Justice was compelled just last week to plead with those making the delay in forwarding his name to the senate by the presidency a political/ethnic issue to henceforth desist. It would appear that powers temporal who resisted this much awaited action on Onnoghen's behalf have been prevailed upon by powers spiritual to do the needful, and this should humble the honourable jurist.


But should we always wait for the president to be out of the country before the ship of state is steered in the forward direction? Once there was, under this same government when Buhari messaged Nigerians only via the foreign press outside the country, even that hasn't happened since his vacation that's now become medical tourism (the sort that has now thrown Nigeria in the same situation it was, a few years back when ailing Late President Yar'adua's health status was kept secret while he was in a hospital in Saudi Arabia), which was extended indefinitely over the weekend leaving Nigeria on auto pilot as the Acting President appears to have limits within which to act, because of the peculiar nature in which power is held and dispensed (at the mercy, even of incapacitated executives like it happened in Taraba State with Danbaba Suntai) in Nigeria, and not necessarily because it's a constitutional mandate. I hope this movement by the Acting President will continue in terms of policies that will alleviate the sufferings of the majority of Nigeria's impoverished, should he develop the cojones and political will to pursue and insist on their implementation in the absence of his principal, by ignoring and calling the bluffs of "invisible" hands currently pulling the strings of the puppet in the presidency.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.punchng.com

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