On Friday, a pro-All Progressives Congress (APC) group on the Progressive Minds Forum (PMF) that Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, step down, be suspended, or be fired over allegedly tainted recent rulings from the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The group bemoaned that Nigeria was greatly embarrassed by the Supreme Court’s issuance of senatorial tickets to Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Senator Godswill Akpabio because they did not participate in the APC primary elections, which were won by the original holders of the tickets.
The Forum insisted that the Supreme Court’s decision to extend the use of old Naira notes was not made in the best interests of Nigerians but rather to appease and support certain political forces in the South-West who had been calling for the extension because the Chief Justice of Nigeria is from the region.
The CJN’s behaviour since taking office, according to a statement issued by the Forum’s national coordinator, Barrister Preye Johnson, does not befit a man who holds such a lofty position and is tasked with choosing the fate of plaintiffs who approach the Supreme Court, he added.
Johnson said: “The Supreme Court is the last hope of the common man, but under Justice Ariwoola, justice is now for the highest bidder.
“The whole world would want to know how failed presidential aspirants like Akpabio and Lawan were awarded Senatorial tickets by the Supreme Court when they never participated in the primary election for those positions in their Senatorial Districts.
“This is a man who recently attended a state dinner in Port Harcourt and apparently after much champagne that are common in such high level political gatherings, made political statements that were unbecoming of his position as the number one jurist in the country.
“Besides only the CJN and Supreme Court Justices can tell if the recent ruling unbanning the use of old Naira notes was done in the overall interest of Nigerians or to enable the APC access enough cash to buy votes in the forthcoming elections.
“Even the Minister or Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has kicked against the judgement and filed an appeal against it.
“The position of the AGF shows that the ruling lacks merit as it was apparently motivated by partisan motives and tribal sentiments which may likely plunge Nigeria into crisis if not immediately curbed.
“Needless to say that such highly compromised and spurious judgements now emanating from the apex court, under CJN Justice Ariwoola, represent a huge embarrassment to Nigeria both at home and abroad.
“They have also cast a pall of doubt over judgements on disputes that may emanate from the forthcoming general elections.
“Therefore, the need for the CJN, Justice Ariwoola to either resign his position or be sacked in order to checkmate the gross danger the Supreme Court now poses to democracy and rule of law in Nigeria.
“It is clear that the Supreme Court under Justice Ariwoola’s watch lacks integrity therefore he has no basis to continue as CJN especially in view of the forthcoming general election.
“The CJN must be seen to be above board and also must be blind to all parties in the dispensation of justice in order to display extreme neutrality for justice and fairness. However, this is not what we are seeing presently.
“Since the Apex Court has proved its unwillingness to save democracy, Buhari must rise up to the task of saving democracy by ordering the suspension and investigation of the CJN and the other Supreme Court Justices involved in the above referenced cases.”
The APC members also called on the international community to place visa ban on the CJN and the Justices involved in the controversial cases for working to undermine democracy in Nigeria.
They insisted that the judgements have set bad precedent and gravely breached the provisions of Section 115(D) of the Electoral Act 2022, especially in the case of Lawan and Akpabio.
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“The whole world is still waiting to know how the Supreme Court came about its ruling making Ahmad Lawan and Godwill Akpabio candidates when it is clear they were both presidential aspirants under the APC.
“The Electoral Act 2022 is very clear that an aspirant cannot contest for two different positions in one election cycle.
“Section 115 (D) of the Act stipulates that ‘a person who signs a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency at the same election commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum term of imprisonment for two years.”
“We appeal to international community to help save democracy in Nigeria by ensuring that the CJN and all justices involved in the recent ruling on Lawan and Akpabio are placed on visa ban,” he said.