By Segun James
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of abusing the instrument of state in his unilateral suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnogen.
Atiku, who said this at the Quarterly Business Lecture of the Island Club, Lagos Wednesday, insisted that the action of the president is a grave attack on the nation’s constitution and the people of the country.
In his lecture: ‘My Vision to get Nigeria Working Again’, the presidential hopeful lamented that: “After unsuccessfully abusing the instruments of state to remove the leadership of the legislature, President Muhammadu Buhari has turned his sights on the judiciary. The action of unilaterally suspending the Chief Justice of Nigeria by the president is unconstitutional.
“The constitution provides laid down rules for the suspension or removal of the CJN and this has not been followed. As someone who has vigorously defended our constitution over a number of decades, you can be rest assured that I will do all in my power to ensure the matter is resolved in accordance with our constitution.”
He said that the unity of the nation has been fatally bruised by the action of the president, adding that: “Social cohesion is being eroded, democratic consolidation being undermined, and national unity and security threatened by ethno-religious tension, agitations, restiveness and disputes over titles and entitlements.”
He said over the years, Nigeria has promoted, tolerated and celebrated a defective political structure as “our states and local governments are too weak to meet their constitutional responsibilities. Consequently, the federal government has succeeded in emasculating them and taking away those responsibilities, and along with these, the resources which belong to them”.
He stressed that if the nation is to develop into a united, secure and prosperous nation, “we must adopt a new economic management model and a new political structure that will cure all the federation units of their addition to oil revenues. We must restructure the polity and the economy”.
Atiku said that under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government, the future prospect of the nation is bleak, adding that: “Unemployment had unfortunately been the only booming industry with over 13 million people joining the ranks of people without a job, which now totals 21 million”.
“If people do not have a job, they struggle to feed their families which is why over 100 million of our people cannot afford one decent meal a day,” he said.