Don’t politicise appointment of judges, says former CJN

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

The immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen, has called on the appointing authority of judges in the country not to allow politics creep into the process.

Onnoghen made the call at the unveiling of a book titled “Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009, Practice, Procedure, Forms and Precedents,” authored by a renowned lawyer, Chief Ogwu James Onoja (SAN) on Friday in Abuja.

“As I have said several times, judicial officers must be courageous. And I want to beg all serving judicial officers not to be discouraged by what happened to me in the hand of the Executive arm of the government.
“Emerging Nigerian judges should not go the direction of injustice because without courageous judges and justice , Nigeria is doomed. 
“Here, let me sound this note of warning that the appointment of judicial officers must never be allowed to be politicized, otherwise, democracy and democratic governance will be dead,” he said.

The former CJN noted that during his stay in office, Nigeria’s problem was not the judiciary.
“During my tenure, the problem of Nigeria was not the Nigerian judiciary, but those who had no regard for the rule of law. We must therefore be committed to the rule of law and dispense justice without fear or favour. 
“Truth stands, crush it, it will stand because it is truth, Onnoghen added.

He said his ordeal in 2019 was not the first, adding that at a point during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, a Commission was set up and that he was indicted of wrongdoing, even when he was not invited or a appeared before the Commission to defend himself.

Onnoghen, however, said because former President Obasanjo was a leader who listened to advice, the matter was referred to the National Judicial Council NJC for review.
He said at the council, the truth surfaced and it was upheld to resolve uncleared issues. 
He urged Nigerians to stand by truth because only justice can rescue Nigeria.

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