Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has alleged that the legal travails currently experienced by Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, was a result of “clandestine meetings” between the Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The presidential candidate made the claim in a statement issued Phrank Shaibu, his Special Assistant on Public Communication, on Saturday in reaction to reports that the CJN has been charged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged non-disclosure of assets.
Ibrahim Alhassan, the spokesperson for the CCT, confirmed that a six-count charge was served on the Chief Justice on Friday.
However, Atiku described the charges as “flimsy”, saying it was used as a pretext by President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to purportedly sack the CJN from office.
He warned that neither the supposed schemes planned out by Federal Government nor the APC could halt President Buhari’s defeat at the presidential poll on February 16.
The former vice president urged the president to respect the principle of separation of powers, stating that he must not act desperately to remove Justice Onnoghen because the judge might not grant him (Buhari) a favourable ruling in his assumed appeal against his defeat in the elections.
The statement partly read: “The charge against Onnoghen, we understand, has already been filed and served on him last Friday at his official residence in Abuja preparatory to his appearance at the Tribunal.
”But we warn that despite the clandestine meetings in the highest echelon of the APC and also involving some top officials of the federal government which include the Code of Conduct Tribunal, neither Buhari nor the APC can re-write the Nigerian Constitution just because of its impending defeat at the February 16, presidential election.
“Heavens did not fall when PDP lost to the APC in 2015. And heavens will not fall now that the APC is sure to lose to the PDP, seeing that the APC’s plan to rig in the forthcoming elections will not pull through.”
Atiku advised President Buhari to be wary of the advice he receives from his advisers in order not to plunge the country unto the path of a constitutional crisis.