Sunday, 10th December 2023

Onoh counters Atiku’s attack on Tinubu, says PDP attempted to cage judiciary

By Guardian Nigeria
13 June 2023   |   3:32 pm
The former spokesman for President Bola Tinubu's campaign organisation in the southeast, Dr Josef Onoh has reminded the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that his party, the PDP, made every attempt to destroy Nigeria's judiciary system. He also assured Atiku the president does not intend and will not interfere…

The former spokesman for President Bola Tinubu’s campaign organisation in the southeast, Dr Josef Onoh has reminded the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that his party, the PDP, made every attempt to destroy Nigeria’s judiciary system.

He also assured Atiku the president does not intend and will not interfere in any way with the judiciary processes in the country.

Onoh, in a response to Atiku’s allegation that President Tinubu’s Democracy Day speech was a veiled threat to the judiciary, said that he didn’t expect Atiku, his party the PDP or any other presidential candidate in the past election, including many Nigerians to know better.

Tinubu, in his first Democracy Day speech as Nigeria’s 16th president, said, “It has become imperative to state here that the unnecessary, illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated,” a statement Atiku said President Tinubu had no constitutional powers to determine what an illegal or legal court order is; adding that the president through his speech has shown that he planned on running an autocratic government.

But Onoh reminded Atiku that the PDP destroyed Nigeria and that Atiku played a major role in its destruction, while President Tinubu fought to entrench democracy which Atiku became a beneficiary of his struggle.

“Hence Atiku lacks the experience and knowledge of the foundation upon which the president’s statement was made,” Onoh said.

He stated that Atiku’s attempt to misconstrue President Tinubu exposed the former vice president’s lack of knowledge and a poor student of history.

“In a nutshell, the president’s statement simply meant ‘inconsistent court orders that can create conflict which in turn could truncate democracy,” Onoh educated Atiku.

On the issue of the judiciary and its precedents, Onoh told Atiku that the Nigerian Judiciary is currently being threatened by incessant contradictory and conflicting court Orders/decisions which not only causes problems amongst judiciary officers but also raises serious concern and suspicions for those outside the bench which he said was what President Tinubu’s statement is encouraging to stop.

He recalled that during the 1993 presidential election some controversial orders made on the eve of the election by Justice Bassey Ikpeme (now deceased) of the High Court, FCT restraining the conduct of the June 12 presidential election was followed by subsequent orders of other High Courts nullifying the order.

“The events that ensued are now history, we should never forget that our justice system played an unpleasant role in the prelude to those events with devastating consequences for our democratic stability and the erosion of confidence in our justice system that culminated in the June 12 democratic revolution.

“Today the PDP became the greatest instrument in attempt to truncate democracy only equalled by the current Fantasia and delusion of the Labour Party presidential candidate.

“Mr President’s statement was purely aimed at discouraging Judicial anarchy which can be a threat to democracy.”

Let me refresh Atiku’s memory of the first judicial somersault in recent times which occurred on June 27, 2016, when Justice Victor Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja sacked Governor Ikpeazu and replaced him with Mr Ogah. The judgement was later described by the Appeal Court as a rape of democracy.
Justices Morenike Ogunwumiju of the Appeal Court stated that Justice Abang raped democracy when he ordered INEC to issued a certificate of return to Mr Uche Ogah without any evidence of tax forgery against Governor Ikpeazu. The justice wondered how Justice Abang arrived at his ridiculous conclusion.
This shows the level at which most judicial officers apply their personal rule at the detriment of the rule of law and fair hearing. This miscarriage of justice is inimical to the rule of law and other dividends of democracy. It undermines the purpose of the Federal High Court stipulated in Section 219 of the 1999 Constitution as (amended 2011) and negates the role of the judiciary stipulated in Section 6(6) of the Constitution.

“These judicial recklessness are dangerous for our democracy. It may worsen the parochial attitudes of Nigerians. It may bring economic hardship to the nation because the right to own means of production is only guaranteed in a state where laws work and not where self-help method prevails.”

He also stated that misapplication of laws might return Nigeria back to the era of the military regime where the rule of fair hearing is subjected to military decrees, stressing that if the judiciary, which is one of the tripods of democracy, continues to somersault, the military will be forced to hijack power.

“However, nobody is praying for this to happen and it will never happen under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because the worst democracy is better than the best military regime but we should also remember that the worst military regime is better than the best form of anarchy hence the reason Mr President gave that clear warning.

“Anarchy is inevitable in a society where misapplication of law and miscarriage of justice continue to surface on a regular basis as is the case in Nigeria. This is because the misapplication of law is inimical to the rule of law and President Bola Tinubu wants to ensure that rule of law is maintained in other to preserve our democracy.

“Atiku Abubakar should go down memory lane with the adventures of his political party, the PDP’s role in attempting to truncate democracy with their litany attempts at using the courts to create an epidemic of conflicting injunctions and ex parte orders on political cases.

“Finally the President will never interfere with the judiciary as hopelessly promoted by Atiku, rather President Bola Tinubu’s administration will engage all stakeholders and support the judiciary to ensure they strengthen disciplinary measures both at the Bar and on the Bench, as well as administrative steps taken by the NJC with the issuance of the Policy Direction of 11 May 2022.

“Those paid to protect the guardrails of democracy hardly look in the courts’ direction for enemies. Nor do most people suspect that judges could become facilitators of authoritarianism and subtle promoters of anarchy. As custodians of the rule of law, judges and the courts over which they preside are the insurance for democracy’s ultimate good.

“The entire edifice of democracy thrives because the judicial system is expected to act in a manner that reassures ordinary men and women that the excesses of politicians will not be allowed to endanger law and order or the presumed equality of men.

“Hence President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will ensure that these rights and expectations are protected and preserved under his watch.

“Clearly Atiku was not prepared to lead Nigeria of our dreams, this isn’t Dubai neither are Nigerians interested in boarding his Special purpose vehicle of disinformation where the conductor produces orders as the vehicle is in motion while a plumber is parading as a qualified driver without driving licence operating the vehicle without Google navigation enroute to Dubai. I’m grateful today to have President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as my President, what more can I ask from God,” Onoh defended.