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Onnoghen and the elephant in the room

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Justice Walter Onnoghen. PHOTO: TWITTER/PRESIDENCY


Barely three weeks ago, on this same page, I looked into the seed of time and saw desperation upon desperation – to lose Nigeria and I didn’t hide what the oracle revealed. This is an excerpt from the opening paragraph then in an article titled, ‘Curious desperation to lose Nigeria’ (January 6, 2019)

Curious desperation to lose Nigeria!

‘It is unfortunate that our unscrupulous politicians, our dealers who call themselves leaders have failed to read a classical warning from Henry David Thoreau who once noted that, ‘it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things’. Yes, it is now crystal clear that Nigerian politicians are very desperate at the moment and their desperate situations make them do desperate things – to win election, even if they lose the country in the process. They don’t care. They are in a hurry to pull down their country, win election and then set up a bunker in which they can run their country.

They want to win at all cost. The country can be lost. They want to create a Syria out of Nigeria. They don’t care anymore. They seem to have picked up a Samuel Doe’s strategy paper: win election, remain in the government house as long as you are safe until you lose everything including your country –to satanic forces.

They don’t seem to care a hoot at the moment that Africa’s most important country is on the brink of collapse. They don’t care about the most populous black nation on earth that even the West would not like to rise as a world power. They are very desperately desperate. They don’t care anymore about the humanitarian tragedy in the entire North East at the moment. The resurgent insurgents can kill all our soldiers. They don’t care a hoot about the North West too that is almost lost to the insurgents. They don’t know the implications of an elected governor’s invitation to the authorities in Abuja to come over to Zamfara state and declare a state of emergency. They don’t know the consequences of the governor of Katsina state declaring to the world that even the president’s home state is under siege.

They don’t care to note what I told them the other day that we are in what a British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill called, ‘a period of consequences’. They do not read any writing on the wall anymore. They appear too desperately deaf to hear what their spirit man is telling them about the country they are about to lose. It is unfortunate they want to win election and lose the country that iconic Nelson Mandela said is the only critical success factor for both Africa and the black race.

Nigerian politicians are desperate to win the election war even if they lose the whole people from Maduguri to Yenagoa. They are piling up arms to destroy even the fragile Niger Delta because they want to conquer the region in the name of politics. Even the desperately wealthy politicians in the Niger Delta states are prepared to assist the desperadoes at the centre to capture the entire South South. The desperate politicians in the area are hissing and saying President Goodluck Jonathan (2010- 2015) was a fool to have opted for peace that ‘passeththeir understanding’.

They want to be in charge of the nation’s dwindling resources. They want to capture the South East too to join the powerful centre where values are being allocated. Even Ohaneze youths are desperate for recognition and pledging zeal to deal with their kinsmen who would not join the 2023 desperate bandwagon – to crush all the oppositions. Even some powerful and desperate politicians in the sophisticated Western Nigeria are selling what they know to be a dummy to their people to embrace the desperate salesmen in Abuja who are selling just one plot of land in Asokoro, Abuja to the Igbo and Yoruba at the same time. The desperadoes in Yorubaland too seem to be blind to the tragedy of the heaven that is about to fall, which no one can escape (in Nigeria).

Even the public intellectuals in power from Western Nigeria are desperately collecting a dud cheque from unscrupulous sellers of the Asokoro only one plot to their people! Whatever happened to the people from the pacesetter region – Western Nigeria – where some elders of a fake Afenifere say they are supporting the desperadoes!

It is incredible too that even the opposition leaders who say they are desperate for power too are desperately disorganised. The governors of the opposition states seem to have curiously given up. They just allow statements, just statements from Abuja reacting to matters arising from political bulletin of the governing authorities. The opposition elements who used to fill the front pages and prime- time news slots with ideas and well-researched facts and figures don’t seem to know what to do at this time. They too are desperate for power but appear clueless about how to engage the governing powers who are fixated on their only strategy – the blame game.

It is getting curiouser and curiouser that governors of the opposition states don’t know how to engage their party. They have even justified to the press how their presidential candidate would lose election. Incredibly, key opposition leaders are still bellyaching over how they were not consulted over choice of a presidential running mate. It is a tragedy. They can’t weep for the nation that is going under even if they have been part of the building of the leaking ship of state…?

Tragedy, insecurity, religious bigotry and ethno-centricism everywhere you turn in the country now. Yet these are not election issues. The issue in this season’s election is simply about who is more corrupt in a country that is supposed to be organising colloquia daily on how to hit the moon in this disruptive digital age where bureaucracy is crumbling to the power of technology.

Then They Came for Onnoghen…
Two weeks ago, I also asked in the second part of an article titled, From ‘Daily Trust to Onnoghen’ if they had indeed come for Onnoghen when it was conformed that they had indeed perfected all papers to arraign the CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Thereafter, Vice President YemiOsinbajo, a professor of law and a product of the London School of Economics, told the nation that the President was not aware of the government’s bid to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria on Monday January 14, 2019 until Saturday January 12. Now we know better that the President was indeed not aware as that responsibility to know that kind of sensitive assignment has always been outsourced to an influential Vice President and a powerful ‘Kaduna Mafia’ offspring some people call a cabal. In our country of anything is possible, the President is not aware of so many things happening in government including two letters a former Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) once wrote to the Senate stating why the President’s nominee for Chairmanship of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu should not be confirmed because he (Magu) was not a clean vessel for the job.

While citizens are discussing the consequences of the president’s suspension of the CJN without input from the Senate and National Judicial Council (NJC), there is an elephant in the house that the authorities in Abuja and indeed the presidency should not sweep under the carpet.

Here is the thing, there is an obvious risk or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about. It is the federal character albatross on the neck of the president, he is going into imminent election battle with. Most people feel that in this period of consequences, desperation for four plus four (4+4) should not trigger even careless claims on issues that can set the nation on fire. The issue of sectionalism, nepotism and religious bigotry has dogged the Buhari presidency since its inception in 2015. Last week, President Buhari claimed in the South East that his penchant for meritocracy should override the federal character provision in the constitution in the appointments of service and security chiefs.

In this kind of complex federation of many nations within the nation, the president’s claim was somewhat careless and insensitive. Last week, I drew attention again to the sensitivity in the composition of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal and even the state’s prosecution team. This is what I wrote last week in an article subtitled, AGF, CCB , CCCT and Federal Character Albatross:
‘Why is there no introspection about the preponderance of northern elements in the current prosecution of Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Samuel Onnoghen? AGF, AbubakarMalami hails from Kebbi State; Chairman Code of Conduct Bureau, Professor Isah Mohammed (Jigawa); Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr.Danladi Umar (Bauchi) and the Prosecuting Counsel representing the AGF) Aliyu Umar, is from Kano. And if Justice Onnoghen is removed, the possible replacement will be Justice Tanko Ibrahim (Bauchi). When ‘come comes to become’, (apology to K.O Mbadiwe) in this hot potato, won’t there be political questions about sectionalism and violation of federal character provision in the constitution too?

And it came to pass on Friday that the CJN Onnoghen (Cross River) was suspended by the president and Justice IbrahimTanko Mohammed (Bauchi) was sworn in as Acting CJN. Now the digital media nurtured by citizen journalism is active with questions about national question in the context of leadership of the three arms of government in Nigeria. The President (Katsina,North West), The President of the Senate (Kwara, North Central), Speaker of the House of Representatives (Bauchi, North East) and Ag, Chief Justice of the Federation, (Bauchi, North East).

One sarcastic post last night congratulated the president on the new Acting CJN this way, saying ‘Completed’:
Ag. Chairman, EFCC Ibrahim Magu, (Borno, North); Director Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) mysteriously confirmed by the Senate without quorum last week, (Adamawa North East); AGF, Abubakar Malami, (Kebbi, North West),

They also add that most Security and Intelligence chiefs including the National Security Adviser, (Borno) Chief of Army Staff (Borno), Chief of Air Staff (Bauchi), DG, DSS, (Kano), DG, NIA, (Katsina), Inspector General of Police (Nasarawa), Interior Minister (Kano). and then the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (Adamawa), Chief of Staff to the President, (Borno). Only the Chief of Defence Staff (Ekiti) and Chief of Naval Staff (Cross River) got into the merit-list of the President. This list is the elephant in the house. I hope the elephant won’t pull down the decrepit House of Lugard after desperately winning election next month.
Onnoghen: the elephant in the room


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Walter Onnoghen
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