The governorship candidate on the platform of Labour Party in Kwara State, Comrade Issa Aremu has said that the embattled Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen ought to have resigned before he was eventually suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari over allegations of corruption.
He said the alleged partial declaration of assets and other allegations levelled against the CJN was very worrisome, saying that he who dispenses justice to all must be accountable for his or her source of wealth.
Aremu wondered why such a questionable action emanated from the number one judicial officer who, according to him, supposed to be seen as a moral compass for good direction and mentorship in the country.
Comrade Aremu also asked the Nigeria Bar Association President, Paul Usoro who is being tried for allegations of corruption to resign from office saying that “At a time like this I wonder what would be the reaction of late Justice Mustapha Akanbi and Chief Gani Fawenhinmi.
He expressed confidence that the duo would have asked the NBA President to resign for him not to use his Bar status to pervert justice ” he observed.
Addressing press conference in Ilorin on Sunday to ventilate his view over the trending CJN saga, Aremu said, “in a country that has been running huge budget deficits, it is curious that a public officer of CJN standing could have surplus accounts in millions of foreign currency”
According to him, while “devil is in the technical details of the suspension of Mr Onnoghen” he said the substantive allegations and causal defense of the CJN fanning ’mistake’’ and “forgetfulness’’ on the imperative of assets declarations should be of concern to all.
The LP governorship hopeful who entitled his address, “Judiciary on Trial: Justice Mustapha Akanbi and Gani Faweyinmin at Times Like This”, said if the two legal icons were to be alive at a time like this, their useful submissions and comments would have provided a way out to this wrangling in the sector through their usual fair and objective presentation to matters without minding whose ox is gored.
Recalling the steadfastness and principled positions of late Justice Mustapha Akanbi, the pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Ommision (ICPC) and human rights lawyer, Gani Fahemihin on reforming judiciary and fighting corruption, Comrade Aremu wondered what would be the reactions of the late luminaries to the current developments in the judiciary sector.
He observed that given the importance of rule of law, equity and justice to sustainable democracy, more than ever before , Nigerian judiciary needs reform and restructuring as a precondition for the transformation of Nigeria from corruption and underdevelopment to development and prosperity.
According to him, while “devil is in the technical details of the suspension of Mr Onnoghen” he said the substantive allegations and causal defense of the CJ fanning ’mistake’’ and “forgetfulness’’ on the imperative of assets declarations should be of concern to all.
He berated some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) who had team up to provide solidarity support for the suspended Chief Judge at the expense of interest of commoners, saying that they should remember that they are Senior Advocate of Nigeria not Senior Advocate of the dew privileges.
Comrade Aremu particularly urged Nigerian lawyers, especially SAN to defend justice not seeking “judgements” that favored the privileged in the society.
The LP candidate who was also a labour delegate of 2014 National Conference urged President Muhammed Buhari to revisit the recommendations of the confab with respect to appointment of judiciary.
He said “ process leading to and concerning the appointment of Judicial Officers should be advertised, done openly and transparently and essentially on merit”. According to him what was also at stake on the CJN saga is character and morality of some public officers.