Onnoghen: Stop Being Mischievous, Senate Minority Leader Tells APC Caucus

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Walter Onnoghen

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, yesterday advised the All Progressive Congress (APC) Senate Caucus against being mischievous on the issue of the Senate’s decision to drag President Muhammadu Buhari to court over his suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.

She advised the APC Senators to stop spreading misleading information about how Senate decision to file a case in court was taken and who can authorise such a decision.

Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, had on Monday night dissociated the APC Caucus from the decision of the Senate to seek legal interpretation at the Supreme Court on whether President Buhari acted within his powers under the constitution in suspending the Onnoghen

Olujimi, who represents Ekiti South Senatorial District, in a statement personally signed by her in reaction to Lawan’s submission emphasised that the Senate presiding officer has the prerogative to decide whether an issue concerning the chamber should be referred to the court for adjudication, adding that this position is supported by precedents.

Her words : “I am surprised that a few of my colleagues in the APC Caucus are spreading disinformation that they were not party to the decision to file a case seeking interpretation of the provision of the constitution concerning the President’s decision to suspend the CJN.

“Those who are saying this are just being mischievous. They know such a decision is not meant for debate on the floor of the Senate. It is the prerogative of the presiding officer and in this particular case, majority of the people in Senate leadership suggested and supported the idea. There is no precedent of when decision on whether to resort to court is referred to the plenary. And there are several cases that the Senate has been and is still involved in.”

According to her, “Our colleagues in the APC who are spreading this dis-information are those who have been in the Senate for many years and they know the rules, conventions and practices. That is why I consider their current position as mischievous.

“What do they stand to lose in our seeking judicial interpretation of the law? I believe as democrats and lawmakers, it should be our interest to strengthen the law and support the independence of the judiciary. This recourse to the Supreme Court will only strengthen our understanding of the law and clear ambiguities about the provision of the constitution, which we all swore to protect.’’

She added that Nigeria is greater than any person or party, saying as legislators, the lawmakers should always take position in the interest of the country and not allow partisan, party, group or individual interest to push them into taking a stand that will be counter to national interest.

Olujimi further said, “As members of the Eighth Senate, we have always agreed among ourselves to stand for Nigeria even when it is against the preference of our party. My colleagues in the APC caucus should return to this agreement. It is Onnoghen today, it may be somebody else tomorrow.”