Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has derided the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for suspending its electioneering campaign towards next month’s general election over the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as a face-saving measure.
Mohammed said on Saturday in Ilorin that PDP’s campaign never gained traction in the first instance.
He was fielding questions from reporters concerning the decision of the mainstream opposition to pull the plug on its campaign.
”Which campaign? Their campaign was over a long time ago. There is nothing to suspend. We said it that their campaign had floundered. You can now see. What they are doing now is looking for a face-saving way out of a dead and buried campaign,” Mohammed responded with sarcasm.
He wondered if Justice Onnoghen was a member of the opposition party and accused the PDP of crying more than the bereaved.
The minister said while the President had been pulling large crowds at rallies across the country, PDP on the contrary had stalled as its supporters had been dwindling by the day.
“And in any event, let’s ask them this question: Is there something that they know that we don’t know? Is there something between them and the suspended CJN? Otherwise, we did not see why they should suspend their campaign anyway, but I can understand that their campaign was bound to end this way,” Mohammed said.
The government spokesman also described as troubling the outcry by some people and organisations over the suspension of Justice Onnoghen on Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He accused those who are crying foul over the suspension of the CJN of ignoring the fact that a serving Chief Justice not only amassed millions of dollars in his account, but admitted that he forgot to declare same in his Assets Declaration Form.
“For anybody who read Mr. President’s address yesterday, (Friday) two things stood out. The first is that additional evidence has just been revealed that the suspended CJN refused to declare millions of dollars
in his possession. More worrisome is the fact that when the suspended CJN was confronted with the petition that he failed to declare his assets, he added that it was a mistake, that he forgot.
“Now, I would have been a happier person if the same people who are now crying tyranny and dictatorship could really address the issue raised by the President, in his address on Friday, that addition investigations have revealed that several millions of dollars were found in the CJN’s account.
And when the CJN was confronted with the original allegation, he admitted that he forgot to make full declaration, and that it was a mistake,” he said. Mohammed also justified the constitutionality of the CJN’s suspension, saying in suspending Justice Onnoghen, the President merely carried out an order of a court of competent jurisdiction directing him to suspend the Chief Justice pending the final determination of the cases of corruption against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.