Presidency has started rigging the forthcoming election by suspending the CJN, Walter Onnoghen - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, January 28, 2019

Presidency has started rigging the forthcoming election by suspending the CJN, Walter Onnoghen

Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN
Constitutional lawyer and Human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN has alleged that the presidency has confirmed that it has already started rigging the forthcoming election by suspending the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen.

Ozekhome said this while condemning the response by the presidency to the concerns raised by the European Union, United States, US, and United Kingdom, UK, to Buhari’s suspension of Onnoghen.

A statement by the activist lawyer said the concern by the international communities amounted to raising the red flag and warning of danger ahead.

The senior advocate, in a statement entitled: “DID I HEAR GOVERNMENT WARN FOREIGN COUNTRIES OFF NIGERIA’S ELECTORAL AFFAIRS?” said: “They are literally telling the government to its face, “You are already rigging this election by the illegal suspension of the CJN. You are terrorizing the judiciary. We do not believe you will organize free, fair and credible elections. We are watching and monitoring you. We will not accept the outcome of any flawed elections.

“Rather than shut up and exercise caution from the usual brinkmanship and verbal diarrhea, at least for once, the combative government through its garrulous spokesman, Garba, went for the jogular of the international community daring it.

“Help me, someone, did I hear rightly, Mallam Garba Shehu, the SSA to President Buhari warn America, UK and EU countries to stop meddling in Nigeria’s warped electoral process that is already being rigged? Did I hear him well?

“Is Garba not a part and parcel of the APC government that deployed massive Hitlerite Goebeller propaganda during the 2014/2015 elections, enlisted the aid and cooperation of the international community that literally determined the outcome of the 2015 election?

“Was it not the APC that influenced John Kelly to come to Nigeria to hold series of clandestine meetings with the then APC opposition party, without meeting with government officials?

“Was it not Garba and his like that bamboozled Nigerians with a litany of false and fake promises to enter their ‘one chance’ vehicle of opaque government, anchored on cluelessness, directionless, outright lies and massive corruption that have made Nigeria the world headquarters of poverty and one of the 168 most corrupt nations in the world?

“Was Garba ever thinking that the international communities will fold their hands, legs akimbo, and ignore government’s totalitarian and despotic tendencies, particularly towards the forthcoming elections?

“Did Garba ever conceive that the international community is not aware that Nigerians are literally held down in servitude, under jackboot and gunboat democracy?

“Perhaps, Garba does not live on planet Earth, but on planet Neptune, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, or even Mars, not to realize that the international community will take more than a passing interest in an election being conducted by the 200 million people biggest black democracy on Earth.

“Governments usually speak in calm diplomatese; more often using ambiguous language lased with sophistry that ruffles no feathers. But, the US, Uk and EU were frontal in raising the red flag against the PMB government, not only on the Onnoghen matter, but also on the already being flawed general conduct of the forth coming elections.

“The United States specifically expressed deep concerns over Onnoghen’s suspension, and deplored the executive’s decision to suspend and replace the CJN and head of the judicial branch, without the support of the legislative branch, on the eve of national and state elections: “We note widespread Nigerian criticisms that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch…

“That undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result.

“We urge that the issues raised by this decision be resolved swiftly and peacefully in accordance with due process, full respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of the Constitution of Nigeria. Such action is needed urgently now to ensure that this decision does not cast a pall over the electoral process.

“We have heard a wide range of credible and independent voices, including in the Nigerian legal profession and civil society, who have expressed concern over the constitutionality of the executive branch’s suspension of the chief officer of the judiciary.

“We respect Nigeria’s sovereign authority and its right to adjudicate on constitutional provisions, but as friends of the Nigerian people, we are compelled to observe that the timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern. It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections.

“We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely. The UK government therefore urged all actors to maintain calm and address the concerns raised by the development through due process, demonstrating their commitment to respecting the Constitution and the impartial administration of the rule of law. It further urged the actors to take steps to ensure that elections take place in an environment conducive to a free, fair and peaceful process.”

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