18 CSOs Commence Zonal Rallies Next Week to Force Ariwoola’s Resignation

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

A coalition of 18 civil society organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of the Coalition of Civil Societies of Nigeria (CCSN) has resolved to embark on zonal rallies next week to force the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola to resign from his position.

Ariwoola ran into troubled waters during a recent commissioning of a project in Rivers State, when he was quoted to have said that he was glad that Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde, was a member of G-5,  a rebellious group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 Based on this, the Coalition had embarked on a peaceful protest to the Supreme Court and also protested to the National Assembly where it demanded the resignation of the CJN.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, in Abuja, the Head of the group, Olayinka Dada said the coalition has outlined measures and legitimate means to force CJN resignation should he fails to resign.

He noted that the country needs an impartial umpire to oversee the judiciary.

Dada stressed that since Ariwoola visited Port-Harcourt for a project commissioning, the political landscape of Nigeria has witnessed a lot of unease, which he blamed on the partisan utterances made by CJN  at the event.

He stated: “Our elections are around the corner and Nigerians expect an impartial judicial who most likely will dispense justice where disputations occur before, during and after the polls.

“These statements are enough testimony of the partisanship of the CJN in political dispute involving his friends in a political party out of the 18 parties running for elections in 2023. Nigerians are dissatisfied and confused as to this new twist.”

The coalition said to allow the judiciary to have vested interest in politics was to damn representative governance which guarantees people’s choice in electing their preferred leaders.

It said: “As we all know, elections results are often contested in courts and in many instances, ends at the Supreme Court. How will the CJN allow honest dispensation of justice if the party and friends he already aligned with are interested parties in such disputes?

“How will the CJN resist the temptations of influencing judgements in favor of his allies? How will his interferences in politics deescalate tension that is already building up?

“We are now at a point where Nigerians feel the gains recorded in the new electoral laws and the reforms INEC put in place may be truncated by the judiciary whose head is now fully a politician.”

The coalition demanded the CJN’s immediate resignation to save the country’s democracy.

“We hereby wish to invite all Nigerians to our zonal rallies commencing next week to seek the resignation of the CJN from his partisan position,” they declared.

The coalition pointed out that the country could do better by guaranteeing the processes through an integrity, non-partisan, credible judiciary, saying the CJN has shown this would not be possible with him at the helms of affairs.

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