By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has described the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari, as an act of dictatorship.
To this end, the former vice-president said that he rejected in its entirety and called on the judiciary to resist with every legal and constitutional means that they can muster.
Atiku, in a statement he personally signed Friday, noted that the suspension of the CJN was an act of desperation geared towards affecting the outcome of the 2019 presidential elections.
He stated: “This brazen dictatorial act is the latest action in the ongoing rape of our nation’s hard-earned democracy by those who dined with anti-democratic forces, and is symptomatic of the increasing desperation that President Buhari and the cabal pulling the strings have as February 16, 2019 draws near.
“The fact that the unlawful suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was announced just as it became public knowledge that the CJN was constituting the election petition tribunals is not lost on discerning Nigerians and the international community.
“Indeed, it is not just the CJN that has been ‘suspended’, it is the Nigerian Constitution that has been infracted and, in effect, suspended, under the guise of the suspension of the CJN.”
Atiku lamented that the case involving the legality or otherwise of the charges against Onnoghen was in court, as it should be, adding that the judiciary has ruled in Justice Onnoghen’s favour.
“So, why not allow the court to adjudicate on the matter? What is the pressing urgency?” He queried.
The presidential hopeful therefore called on the international community to follow the commendable example of the United States and the United Kingdom by intervening to make those involved in this undemocratic act know that their actions will have consequences. Strong consequences.
He added: “I want to seize this opportunity to call for unity amongst the judiciary. Do not let the Muhammadu Buhari administration divide you. Do not let this government turn you against yourselves. The judiciary is the last hope of the common man and the defender of our democracy.
“And to the Nigerian electorate, I call on you to save your beloved country from dictatorship by voting against President Muhammadu Buhari’s desperate war against the judiciary. Our country is falling apart under the leadership of President Buhari and it is time to stand up for democracy.”