“The National Judicial Council [NJC] shall have power to recommend to the President the removal from office of the judicial officers specified in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph, and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers.”
The officers listed therein are the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justices of the Supreme Court, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judges and Judges of the Federal High Court.”
‘Ata Ndele’ is a popular song in Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC], which means, ‘[in the past] the day before yesterday [in the future] late, the day after tomorrow as late as possible always, continuance, eternity, sooner or later.’
It started like a TV series, until the bell finally sounded on January 25th, 2019. The suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON and have him replaced by Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed from Bauchi State the most senior justice at the Supreme Court.
Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal [CCT] arose from a petition of January 7 filed by a civil society group, Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative [ARDI], with the Code of Conduct Bureau [CCB]. In the petition, the group accused Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen of corruption and false declaration of assets.
The Code of Conduct Bureau swiftly arraigned Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on January 14. But three days later on Thursday, the Court of Appeal in Abuja ordered the Tribunal to stay action, pending the determination of Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen’s application challenging the power of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him. The Court of Appeal then fixed hearing of the application for Wednesday, January 30, 2019.
But rather than comply with the order of the appellate court, President Muhammadu Buhari chose to rush into the execution of an order by a lower court which the superior court had ordered to freeze its proceedings.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Senior Advocate of Nigeria [SAN], Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay and Festus Keyamo is a Nigerian lawyer – a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, social crusader, critic, columnist and human rights activist. Festus Keyamo was named by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, Nigeria in July 2017 as one of the outstanding Nigerian lawyers to be awarded the rank of SAN and was appointed the Director, Strategic Communications, [Official Spokesperson] for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 presidential campaign. Festus Keyamo has been an ardent defender of the current administration. The trio are erudite and learned Senior Advocates of Nigeria [SAN].
In the prevailing development, there about twelve erudite and learned lawyers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet and they see nothing wrong in the removal of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON removal from office by President Muhammadu Buhari despite wide condemnation from Civil Societies Organisations [CSO], United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Political Parties, Nigeria Bar Association [NBA], and Interests Groups.
Between the conceptions and creation, between the emotions and response….falls the shadow! With this action taken by President Muhammadu Buhari and All Progressive Congress [APC] barely some days to the February 16th, 2019 presidential poll, this is surely ‘President Muhammadu Buhari and All Progressive Congress [APC]’s Vanishing Ata Ndele ‘Palooza’!