The suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen is a huge mistake, writes Sonnie Ekwowusi
For overthrowing the Nigerian Constitution as he once did when he plotted a military coup, and for now precipitating a constitutional crisis capable of engulfing the country in yet another turmoil, President Buhari should be sent packing from the Presidential Villa. This is the limit of the Buhari terror. It is finished. Buhari has reached the end of his dictatorship. Therefore let it be proclaimed to the mountain tops: Babylon has fallen. Buhari has fallen.
For surrendering himself to be sworn in as the “Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria”, Justice Tanko Muhammed should be stripped of his judgeship by the National Judicial Council (NJC). The CCT Chair Danladi Umar should be de-robed as a lawyer for fraudulently granting an ex-parte order purportedly suspending Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen after he had announced in open court to the hearing of everybody including the SANs representing Chief Justice Onnoghen that he would not entertain any ex-parte application on that day and that he was adjourning for Monday, January 28 to hear the application on jurisdiction. I can’t believe that Umar could descend so low. I can’t believe that after announcing in open court that he was not going to grant an ex-parte order he secretly went behind Chief Justice Onnoghen’s lawyers and concocted a black market ex-parte order which was broadcast to the whole world. It is more shocking that immediately after the black market ex-parte order was concocted Buhari took it upon himself to announce that he was purportedly suspending Chief Justice Onnoghen. The logical inference here is that Buhari must have ordered Umar to concoct the ex-parte order so that he would rely on it to purportedly suspend Chief Justice Onnoghen. Tufiakwa!
And for Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who claims he was not privy to the plot to “remove” Chief Justice Onnoghen, his conscience must be pricking him at the moment and telling him, “Remember who you are, Yemi. You are a respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria. If you are feigning ignorance of the plot, then resign. You are a Redeemed pastor. What does it profit a man to become the vice-president of Nigeria and afterwards loses the respect and affection of the members of his legal profession and his church?” Expectedly, felled by human weakness and foibles, Prof Osinbajo will not hearken to his conscience and tender his resignation. I would not waste words requesting the Federal Attorney General to enter the tribunal with his heart and conscience and thereafter tender his resignation because he is incorrigible and un-teachable.
The good development however is that many Nigerians especially Nigerian lawyers have vowed never to recognise Tanko either as their Acting Chief Justice or as anything at all. As at the time of writing, hundreds upon hundreds of Nigerians from East to West, North and South had come together and resolved that for overthrowing the Nigerian Constitution Buhari must be voted out next month. The voices of these multitudes are not heard in the streets; they carry no arms; they appear as if they had not broken any reed, but there is a fire burning through their veins. Their conquering strength is unsurpassing and unprecedented. If you bend your ears close to the ground and listen carefully you will hear them chanting away, “Power belongs to the people. Buhari has fallen.
The sovereigns in our presidential democracy are the Nigerian people not Buhari”. As I scribble this, the Abuja and Owerri lawyers had resolved to embark on indefinite strike and boycott of the law courts until Buhari rescinds the purported suspension of Justice Onnoghen. President Buhari should understand that unlike some African countries overrun by power thirsty despots, no tyrant can be allowed to overrun Nigeria. Remember maximum dictator Sani Abacha? They fail to understand that power is ephemeral and transient.
Much has been said and written about the transience of power and on why dictators fall. In her incisive essay titled: An Inquiry into the Persistence of Unwisdom in Government, Barbara Tuchman, eminent American historian, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, wondered why after man had accomplished marvels such as inventing electricity; going to the Moon; building great Cathedrals; composing Mozart; philosophizing about nature and earthly existence and penetrated the mysteries of genetics, he had accomplished less in government. After a painstaking comparative study of empires and countries such as Greece under Pericles; Rome under Caesar; France under Napoleon; Germany under Hitler; China under Mao Tse-Tung; United States under George Washington, Tuchman came to the conclusion that man’s failure in government is largely due to wooden-headedness, incestuous narcissism and stupidity. Applying Tuchman’s aforesaid thesis to Nigeria, Buhari’s problem can be attributed to wooden-headedness and narcissism. Otherwise how would you explain that barely two and half two weeks to the Presidential election, President Buhari who ought to be forging unity and love has been busy committing all sorts of wrongs capable of causing breach of public peace and electoral violence in Nigeria?
Buhari no longer listens to the voice of reason. He is not even listening to his wife. And that is also his predicament which will bring about his defeat at the polls next month. And if he tries to rig the Presidential election in his favour it would be met with stiff resistance. After the last Osun State gubernatorial election that was rigged in favour of the APC, Nigerians have vowed that they would never tolerate another rigging in the forthcoming elections. In the same vein members of the international community especially the U.S have vowed to punish any Nigerian politician or political party involved in any election rigging. Worried by the increasing lawlessness in the Buhari government culminating in the purported removal of the Chief Justice Onnoghen the U.S Embassy last week warned that the 2019 Nigerian elections must not rigged in favour of any politician or political party.
There is no doubt that Nigeria is now mired in severe political crisis since June 12 and Sani Abacha military era. Therefore the people should safeguard their destiny instead of allowing it to be determined by President Buhari. After all Buhari is not the owner of Nigeria. He is just one man. Nigeria will remain after he has gone.