…says party not at any body’s mercy to return to power
By Ezeocha Nzeh
The All Progressives Congress has insisted that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, must face his corruption trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The ruling party said the distraction being made by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some sympathizers of the CJN from the bar was an indication of unholy alliance to frustrate the fight against corruption, and cannot prevent the law from taking its course on the CJN.
The ruling APC also maintained that it does not bank on any form of assistance from any government agency to retain power in the 209 elections, stressing that its obvious changes in the life of the people and society would be enough to earn its candidates a return mandate at the polls.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa- Onilu, said in a press briefing Monday that the President Muhammadu Buhari led APC administration has done a lot to deserve re election by Nigerians, adding that its footprints of change has tranversed all zones and corners of the country to convince both the opposition and its supporters on why the President should be re elected.
Issa – Onilu, who was reacting to allegations that the APC was jittery an impending judicial onslaught that could sack its candidates after a possible win in the 2019 general elections maintained that the travails of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has nothing to do with political, stressing that it is a further prove of the president’s desire to battle corruption from all fronts.
He therefore called on both the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other sympathizers of the CJN to allow the law to take its course, rather than making some false allegations against the ruling party.
“Following the notice of the charges preferred against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the Code of Conduct Bureau at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been on overdrive vituperating over an issue that should at best be left to the judiciary to resolve.
“While we would not want to be lured into discussing issues that are presently before the courts and for which any respectable political party hoping to hold positions of responsibility should restrain itself, we regret to suggest that the PDP’s attempt to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that there is a political motive behind the allegation brought against the CJN might itself be indicative of some unholy alliances.
The APC spokesperson also regretted what he described as the plot by the opposition to bring regional and religious interpretations to the arraignment of the CJN, saying, “we have also noticed the very dangerous attempt to designate the CJN’s arraignment along ethnic and religious lines, thereby trying to heat up the polity by evoking primordial sentiment which would do the country no good. This is an ungodly ploy when we consider that the CJN was an officer of the federation rather than that of any region.
“While we will not be drawn into debates on the legality and sponsored conspiracies of the CCT trial, we insist that our democratic and constitutional institutions must be allowed to operate without interference and undue pressure from partisan and sundry interests as being done by the PDP and its cronies.
“The likely affinity existing between the PDP and a section of the judiciary is further accentuated by the nonappearance of Justice Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday, in line with the suggestions made by the PDP governors from the South South on Sunday.
“This becomes more worrisome, knowing that the PDP campaigns have been receiving cold shoulders everywhere they have gone to and it has become apparent the party and its presidential candidate are facing imminent defeat in the February 2019 elections and may be searching for some unorthodox means of forcing itself on the Nigerian people.
“The CCT trial is a legal matter, let the law run its course. The CJN must go through the instrumentalities of the courts, more importantly as an institution he represents. Indeed, this is the true test of our constitution, rule of law and will deepen democracy.
“Where there are contestations on institutional procedures, we must allow same institutions perform their functions unhindered, autocorrect if necessary and set good precedence on future matters. This is the only way we can build strong and lasting institutions,” Issa-Onilu concluded.