Following the suspension of the CJN, Onoghen, many well-meaning Nigerians have been expressing their displeasure at the act of the President which they consider a complete violation of the 1999 Constitution.
One of the recent outburst came from the peaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara. Pointing to the provision in sections 157 and 292 of the constitution, he alluded to the following:
“This did not come as a rude shock except to those who have been blind to the gradual but progressive erosion of democratic values in the polity as President Buhari’s government has never hidden its disdain for the rule of law,” he said.
“We have watched in disbelief as the Government recklessly deploys institutional prerogatives; routinely flouts the rule of law; subverts and assaults democratic Institutions; refuses to accept opponents as legitimate; suppresses citizens civil liberties(especially those of opponents) and trample underfoot the media. In short, the Government’s tyrannical and authoritarian credentials are loathsomely legendary.
“The whole idea of a limited government is that the President’s powers is limited by law and it is ultra vires his powers to act in the absence of explicit legislative authorisation. That is representative democracy at its best which our 1999 Constitution as amended guarantees.
“It is instructive to note that our constitution does not contemplate or presupposes a situation whereby the Judiciary will have a suspended CJN and an acting CJN at the same time. Therefore, it is right to posit, as some have done that the President now has his own Chief Judge to do his bidding while Nigeria has a sitting CJN until he is removed in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
“As of today, Nigeria is now Germany in the wake of the 1933 Reichstag fire. Our democracy is on fire; ignited by the very people who swore to protect and defend it.
“That this fire must not convert the chancellor to Fuhrer as it happened in Germany in 1933 depends on our collective response and that of the international community. We must not bow our knees to dictatorship: not now, not ever again.”
Dogara added that the world must not allow “this unmitigated disaster” in Nigeria.
Exercepts of the reaction of the Speaker were taken from an interview with te Cable News Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the weekened announcement of the Suspension of Justice Onoghen and the immediate appointment of the New CJN by the President has been described in many cricles as unprecedented in Nigeria’s history.