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Politics: You must remain impartial, group tells CJN

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

A group under the auspices of Salvation Nigeria Forum (SNF) has told the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, for allegedly involving himself in partisan politics, saying that, “the country cannot have a successful democracy without fair and impartial judges and judiciary.”

Addressing a press conference, the Co-ordinator of the Forum, Abdullahi Idris noted that a recent alleged proclamation by the CJN that he was happy that governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State aligned himself with the G5 governors led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, showed that he (CJN) is deeply involved in partisan politics of the nation.

The five governors that formed themselves into G5 within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, and Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi.

The country’s main opposition party, PDP has been faced with a crisis after the party’s national convention in May where former Vice President Atiku Abubakar defeated 12 other aspirants, including Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to emerge the party presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.

However, not satisfied with the outcome of the primary, governor Wike decided to lead a group of five PDP governors (G5) who are demanding the replacement of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu with a southerner to correct the “regional imbalance” in the PDP since Atiku and Ayu are both northerners.

Idris said the Forum as “a Coalition of Civil Society advocates for good governance is calling for the immediate resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, for alleged partisanship in politics, the country cannot have a successful democracy without fair and impartial judges and judiciary.

“Considering the present transition process and security challenges and uncertainty that the country is dealing with, the recent proclamation by CJN in which he expressed happiness that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State aligned himself with the G5 Governors led by Wike, the comment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is unethical, unprofessional and has the tendency of creating controversies in the country.

“As a nationalistic group of concerned citizens, we express our dissatisfaction with the action taken by the head of the apex court in the country, which is not acceptable by the oath of office, particularly his office which serves as the last remedy for all legal process in the country.

“The Salvage Nigeria Forum described Ariwoola’s comment as “unethical and unprofessional” and an attempt to drag the entire judiciary into partisan politics and its dangerous to our nursing democracy.

“We express our regrets and dismay over the comments made by CJN which is capable of creating fears in the upcoming transition process in the country and lost confidence in the National Judicial Commission.

“We, therefore, call for the voluntary resignation of CJN to avoid further agitation,” Idris said.

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