Onnoghen’s Arraignment: A Powder of Pepper In Pack of Snuff
Nigeria News takes a look at the arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen over his alleged failure to declare his assets.
Whoever sold the idea that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen should be arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over a purported allegation of his failure to declare his assets to the Government has sold to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) a powder of pepper in a pack of a snuff.
I have coined this out of the tweet by the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani. The Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana also criticized the Federal Government stance on Onnoghen as he advised that the case is dropped immediately.
It took the grace of God and smartness of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to ensure the appointment of Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.
And this happened when President Muhammadu Buhari was away and Osinbajo had to act. There were rumours that the cabals in Buhari’s government were working against Onnoghen who was the acting CJN then.
The Cabal had wanted a northerner as planned by the then former Head of State Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Only the God’s grace can make a Southerner the CJN. It had been so planned.
Onnoghen becoming a CJN may have not been a big problem for Buhari but for those who surround the president, who detest the situation so much when the formula changed about two years ago.
However, these cabals have Onnoghen’s dossiers like many others who work with this government, which they will easily bring out if you step on their toes.
They know all along that Onnoghen operates six foreign separate accounts with Standard Chartered Bank with the total deposits of about $3 million since 2011.
They know that Onnoghen operates separate accounts with Union Bank, yet they kept mute until they are ready to nail him.
This is Onnoghen that could not jail President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki over the false declaration of assets and for exonerating Saraki alone has made him Buhari’s enemy, that is the cruel thought of those who are digging Onnoghen’s grave now.
The judiciary and the media have been the two organs the cabals have not been able to reduce ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
It is not deniable that the police, the Department of State Service and the military are in the pocket of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which it will use maximally in the coming election as it did in Osun and Ekiti governorship elections.
So, taking out the judiciary through the allegation against the CJN may go a long way in creating leeway for Buhari’s victory in February polls.
But in order to paint Onnoghen’s trial as a normal criminal case rather than a political victimization, a Corruption and Research Based Initiative said it actually petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau on Onnoghen’s case.
The Executive Secretary of ARDI Dennis Aghanya said that he would be addressing the press on why his agency was after Onnoghen.
But Aghaya, according to investigation was Buhari’s former aide. He was closely working with Buhari in CPC before becoming the ARDI’s Executive Secretary.
But the speed at which the CCB referred Onnoghen’s case to Code of Conduct Tribunal for arraignment today looks so vindictive and this is generating a lot of discordant tones in the public and legal space.
Justice Danladi Umar of CCT will preside over the arrangement of Onnoghen the CJN. No fewer than 94 senior lawyers have arrived the CCT to defend the CJN.
As posited by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, the CCT has no power to try Onnoghen until the NJC has found him culpable and force him resign.
Onnoghen is the president of NJC, he has to step down to allow the CCT to try him, without which the judgement is predictable.