The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar had condemned and accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being a dictator over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.
On Friday afternoon, President Buhari suspended Mr. Onnoghen, who has been facing false asset charges for two weeks. He said the judge had become a taint on the judiciary and he was compelled to take radical measures to ease him out of office.
The president consequently swore in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed who is the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
In reaction, Atiku rejects the act entirely and describe President Buhari‘s action as ‘an anti-democratic act’. He also called on Justice Onnoghen and the judiciary to resist it with every legal and constitutional means that they can muster. Atiku said:
“This brazen dictatorial act is the latest action in the ongoing rape of our nation’s hard earned democracy by those who dined with anti democratic forces, and is symptomatic of the increasing desperation that President Buhari and the cabal pulling the strings have as February 16, 2019 draws near.
“The fact that the unlawful suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was announced just as it became public knowledge that the CJN was constituting the election petition tribunals is not lost on discerning Nigerians and the international community. This act of desperation is geared towards affecting the outcome of the 2019 Presidential elections.
“The case involving the legality or otherwise of the charges against Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is in court, as it should be. So far, the judiciary has ruled in Justice Onnoghen’s favour. So, why not allow the court to adjudicate on the matter? What is the pressing urgency?
“I want to seize this opportunity to call for unity amongst the judiciary. Do not let the Muhammadu Buhari administration divide you. Do not let this government turn you against yourselves. The judiciary is the last hope of the common man and the defender of our democracy.
“I also urge the international community to follow the commendable example of the United States and the United Kingdom by intervening to make those involved in this undemocratic act know that their actions will have consequences. Strong consequences.
“And to the Nigerian electorate, I call on you to save your beloved country from dictatorship by voting against President Muhammadu Buhari’s desperate war against the judiciary. Our country is falling apart under the leadership of President Buhari and it is time to stand up for democracy.”