Sahara Reporters Latest News Wednesday 30th January 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Wednesday 30th January 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 30/01/19

Read also Leadership Newspapers News Today Wednesday 30th January 2019

target=_blank>No Sane Person In Imo Will Hear My Voice And Not Stand Still, Says Okorocha

There was mild drama in Imo State on Tuesday evening, as Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, berated the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for undermining his influence in the state.
Speaking during the APC presidential campaign rally in the state, Okorocha didn’t mince words in expressing his displeasure with the emergence of Hope Uzodinma as the APC governorship candidate in the state.
However, he praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his strides in the fight against corruption, infrastructural development, as well efforts at “making life better for the common man”.
Shortly, afterwards, he went into a tirade on how his position as a leader of the party in the state has been ridiculed, just as he urged the party’s national leadership to make changes on the matter.
His words: “My names are Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha and I was the founding father of APC in Imo State and I’m the only governor with that position in the whole South-East region. History must be made right. As it stands today, those that challenged us, those that came with Army, Police and SSS, and now sitting boldly as the owners of the party. Let me say to you, that is iberiberism chapter 1 verse 1.
“I tell you that what happened in the last dispensation was a robbery of the people’s mandate. As it is today, Mr. President, just be rest assured that your victory has been signed, sealed and delivered. But I do not advise that the baggage of other people shall be bestowed on you. I say this because here in Imo State, we are in charge and anyone that is here saying anything to the contrary is either hired or not from this state.
“No sane person in Imo State will hear my voice and not stand still for it. And as it is now, a lot of corrections must be made and I want our national leaders to show very good example, because what he’s trying to do here, was just respect to you, Mr. President. Some of the people that came up to speak are not the right people to speak. We have the chairman of the party here, and that is the chairman of the party. Anything other than that is iberiberism chapter one verse one.”

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target=_blank>ERC: Nigerian Govt Deceitful In Negotiations With ASUU

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The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) not to succumb to the propaganda of government aimed at getting the union to call off the strike with nothing concrete achieved.
ERC commended ASUU for prioritising the demand for revitalisation funds for public universities, “against the background of the Federal Government’s attempt to water down the demands of ASUU, and cast them to the public as selfish”.
A statement by Hassan Taiwo Soweto and Wole Olubanji, ERC National Coordinator and National Mobilisation Officer, respectively, berated the Nigerian government for its insincerity in “resolving the widely acknowledged problems bedeviling Nigeria’s education sector”.
“We condemn in very strong terms the deceitful manner the government has been conducting negotiations with the striking lecturers. We equally reiterate our support for the demands of the ASUU for revitalization of public universities across the country,” the organisation said.
Highlighting the various commitments by the Nigerian government aimed at improving the education sector, ERC noted that the “N20 billion promised for revitalization of the public universities is scandalous”.
The statement read: “The arrival at a revitalization fund for public universities was reached, by the government, from a NEEDS assessment study it sanctioned and conducted in 2009. The parlous state of affairs in public universities led the Federal Government in 2013 to the conclusion that a sum of N1.1 trillion would be made available to the universities over a five-year period. (The agreements government entered with ASUU require the federal government to release a sum of N220 billion per annum to the universities.)
“The question to ask now that government is dangling N20 billion before Nigerians in the name of ‘revitalization fund’ is whether the problems identified in 2009 that required N220 billion per annum have abated? Indeed these problems have been exacerbated by an economic recession and the paltry budgetary funding that government earmarks for public universities despite the impacts of the recession.
“By offering N20 billion as revitalization fund, the federal government has showed that it is not committed to seeking a permanent solution to the perennial strike actions that often paralyze tertiary institutions. Equally saddening is the realisation that government’s game of ‘hide and seek’ during negotiations shows that the government is less concerned about the pains that the strike has caused students and their parents. We strongly believe that if this strike is called off without a genuine effort at funding the higher institutions, academic activities would sooner than later be disrupted, because the key question of underfunding of these schools remains unresolved.
“We consider the excuse of shortage of fund, cited by the federal government, as weak and untenable. Despite the purported shortage of funds, the government wasted no time, through the CBN, to bail out deposits in the defunct Skye Bank that was plundered by her Chief Executive; and the same government pays political appointees remunerations considered to be one of the highest in the world.
“For us in the ERC, it is the priority of government that determines where it spends money; and obviously education is not one of the priorities of the present government. We have always argued that the industrialization of this country would require a quality education system; and that the present underfunding of education should also be comprehended as government’s contempt for the much needed industrialization of the country.”
ERC commended ASUU for “staying true to its pro-people principle, in the face of government’s sponsored blackmails and misinformation, especially those emanating from the discredited NANS”.
The organisation also berated NANS for its stance against the lecturers, noting that the student organisation had no basis to work against the lecturers.
“The NANS has once characterized the struggle of ASUU as selfish, suggesting to the public that ASUU strike was intended to enhance the pay of lecturers rather than the interest of all stakeholders in public universities. But the insistence of ASUU that the revitalization fund is central to this current struggle has completely knocked the life out of NANS misrepresentation of facts.
“While ironically NANS has nothing coherent to say on the fee hikes that have forced many poor students to drop out of school, and pushed many families to the brink of poverty, it is the same ASUU that has been maintaining during this strike that government should not resort to fee hikes or education loans to fund the universities. Though, ASUU branches hardly openly condemn fees hike whenever it is imposed in universities. This is an area the ERC has consistently challenged ASUU to improve on. We also call on the ASUU to end its sit-at-home approach to the ongoing strike and organize public mass activities including rallies, symposia, leafleting etc. This should be with aim of sensitizing the public including students and parents and sustaining their support for the strike, a factor that could compel government to meet their demands.”
The organisation also called for a united front on the part of the lecturers across institutions, irrespective of union.
The statement added: “The union of Polytechnic lecturers (ASUP) is equally on strike, while COEASU (union of lecturers in Colleges of Education) called off her strike on the basis of a promissory note late last year. This shows that there is a ubiquitous crisis in the education sector.
“And rather than the independent and isolated struggles of these unions, we believe that the struggle could be more strengthened under a united front of education workers, with the demand for immediate release of funds to the education sector and the democratic management of all resources involving elected representatives of education workers and students. We are committed in the ERC to a publicly funded and democratically run education system that would guarantee quality education and hasten the growth of the productive forces of this country.”

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E2%80%99s-suspension-want-us-return-jungle-says-ciss target=_blank>Those Against Onnoghen’s Suspension Want Us To Return To The Jungle, Says CISS

The Centre for International and Strategy Studies (CISS) has condemned the calls for the reinstatement of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Onnoghen was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari on a directive by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), before whom the former is standing trial over allegations of fraudulent declaration of assets.
The CISS says Onnoghen’s suspension is “a right step in the right direction”, adding that the decision was to safeguard the integrity of the judiciary sector.
While addressing the media on Tuesday, David Bamidele, the CISS President, said Buhari’s decision was not only reasonable and timely, but necessary to “salvage the partly battered image of the Nigerian judiciary”.
He also said the decision was to protect democracy from the class of the few bad characters in the judicial cum political system.
His words: “In a nationwide address, the President explained that the decision to suspend Justice Onnoghen was spurred by the wisdom of the CCT, the only court which has the lawful mandate to pry into matters of alleged breach of Code of Conduct prescribed for public officers, pending final determination of the charges against him at the CCT.
“About a fortnight ago, Nigerians were assailed with the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct laws by the CJN through a petition signed by the Executive Director, Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, Mr. Dennis Aghanya. According the petitioner, the NGO painstakingly investigated the CJN, which commenced about a year ago. The details of the alleged offences against the CJN are in public domain.
“But suffice it to say, specifically, the suspended CJN allegedly operated and failed to declare or improperly declared three domiciliary accounts in Standard Chartered Bank with about $3million stashed in them among other charges. The CCT chaired by Justice Danladi Umar began inquest into the allegations by dragging Justice Onnoghen before it for trial in consonance with the stipulations of the law. However, it elicited unnecessary disquiet and judicial ambush of the case, designed to frustrate the trial.”
According to Bamidele, the “frenzied unwarranted or cynical attacks or accusations of President Buhari by ethnic champions and political shenanigans and accomplices in the judiciary”, is based on a convenient choice to “ignore the provisions of the law”.
He continued: “The critics have found it more convenient to repress the fact of the suspended CJN’s own admission of committing a breach of the Code of Conduct law, which he casually explained it as ‘mistake or forgetfulness’.
“Anywhere, the judiciary operates on the basis of law and all operators in the temple of justice ought to thrive on an unquestionable morality and integrity. Where this is lacking as revealed by the preliminary findings of the Code of Conduct on the breaches by the CJN, democracy itself is threatened and it is a path to an inglorious abuse of the rule of law.
“The few antagonistic to the suspension and trial of Justice Onnoghen are directly seeking a return to the rules of the jungle, where might and position of influence was a guaranteed license to indulge in all manner of unlawful acts unchallengeable. But just last year, the CJN had the moral strength or authority to preside over the alleged false assets declaration by the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, when the Senator appealed several aspects of his trial at the CCT. Yet, the CJN had skeletons in his cupboard. This is an act that cannot be tolerated in any country.
“The administration of President Buhari has made it clear from the outset that under his watch, such acts will not be condoned. And therefore, that the Head of the Nigerian judiciary is involved does not insulate him from the proper legal actions by virtue of his position as chorused by others. The efforts of the present government to sanitize and rid the judiciary of corrupt officers shadowed since 2016 when the DSS arrested seven judges, including two Supreme Court judges for alleged corruption during a sting operation. The case of the suspended CJN, Justice Onnoghen is therefore not exceptional.
“The ordinary Nigerian has always craved to have a dependable judiciary; a true temple of justice, where all who approach it shall be entitled to equity and fair hearing; where judgments’ would truly reflect the merits of the dispute before the court for resolution. But sadly, much of the uprightness expected from the Nigerian judiciary is a mirage, as attested in the quantum of petitions against some judges to the National Judicial Commission.  In 2016, in the heat of the arrest and trial of some judges, the NJC disclosed that 808 Justices in Nigeria have been petitioned by Nigerians over allegations of corrupt practices and professional misconducts.
“It exposes the level of discontent in Nigerians over the operations of the judiciary and conduct of judicial officers. And it is unfortunate to understand the Number One Judicial officer in Nigeria is also embroiled in these sordid allegations.
“Nigeria is heading to its worse moments in drifting negatively. It is surprising that some accused persons who are arraigned in court approach other courts of even concurrent jurisdiction to obtain injunctions to halt such trials. And some presiding Judges go ahead in their wisdom to grant such frivolous injunctions.”

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target=_blank>Ojukwu Visited Me Last Night To Weep For Ndigbo By Fredrick Nwabufo

In the time of the pharaohs of Egypt, when African civilisation was at its apogee, dreams were considered an elemental means of communication from the divine. The story of Joseph and an Egyptian king in the Bible accents this.
In Igbo cosmology, dreams, “nlo”, are often not weighed with levity. They are studied through priestly oneirology and interpreted. And even in Pentecostalism dreams have a place.
Lately, I have been thinking pensively about the political future of the Igbo in Nigeria.  And as it is, there appears to be no forecast of sunshine, but of dark clouds.
The late Emeka Ojukwu envisioned APGA to be a melting-pot for all Igbo interests and a political bargaining-asset for the south-east. But today, the party is sequestered to an insignificant corner in the region.
Since 2017, APGA has galloped from one scandal to another. The primary elections conducted by the party in 2018 soaked up lots of acrimony, accusations of fraud, extortion, intimidation, imposition and other dirt. And it keeps floundering.
Recently, the party endorsed the candidature of President Buhari. Inasmuch as I think the party is well within its rights do so, but I wonder, to what end? Is there a guarantee that there will be support for Igbo presidency in 2023? And is there a pledge to restructuring Nigeria, which the Igbo earnestly demand, by the endorsed candidate? Or is the endorsement a “personal arrangee”?
I would really like to know what informed the party’s decision, though I am not a member of the party or any political party. But Ojukwu came to me in my dream last night. He looked mournful, with tears like Kaduna railway tracks lining his face and soiling his heavy beard. And with a belaboured cadence, he uttered, “APGA!”
…I woke up….
I am not a dream interpreter. But I think the message is clear. Or could it be a function of my mind; worries?
In all, I would advise young and progressive Igbo sons and daughters to identify with a political party; a fledgling party, not the APC and the PDP, which have been tainted. 
They should make the desired party their own and forge it into a strong force by reaching out to their siblings in the south-west, south-south, north, and middle-belt.
The elders have failed us. But we cannot fail ourselves. These elders fan the flames of ethnicity and religion when they want to extract political profit. But the real ethnicity of the political class is power and their true religion is money.
We cannot have a forecast of political sunshine, if we work in isolation of other stakeholders in this entity. The elders know this, but they only enter into negotiations for themselves, their families and side chicks.
We cannot fail ourselves.
 
Fredrick is a media personality. Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo, Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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E2%80%99s-endorsement-ohaneze-and-deficit-political-intelligence-churchill-okonkwo target=_blank>Atiku’s Endorsement By Ohaneze And The Deficit Of Political Intelligence By Churchill Okonkwo

In a multi-ethnic, multicultural country like Nigeria, you can’t win votes by playing the “ethnic card”. In endorsing Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential candidate last week, the Igbo Social-cultural group Ohaneze Ndigbo claimed that the “the nomination of our son Peter Obi as the vice-presidential candidate has given Ndigbo an opportunity for inclusivity. Ndigbo must seize the moment.” For including this line of argument -ethnicity- in their endorsement, Ohaneze Ndigbo led by Nnia Nwodo failed the political cum emotional intelligence test.
Political intelligence is made up of five things, integrity, self-awareness, emotional intelligence about others, strategy, and execution. Having a high political intelligence means doing all five. While someone will still have political intelligence without being good at each of these; one absolutely lacks political intelligence without any of the five things. Unfortunately, it looks like the leadership of Ohaneze lacks these five things.
Political intelligence is not the art of war or a zero-game meant to take people down. But to have endorsed Atiku in an “emergency” meeting scheduled, intentionally, to coincide with the campaign of President Buhari in Enugu and Anambra States shows a zero-game meant to bring down Buhari and Ndigbo in APC. It shows a lack of political and emotional intelligence.
Political intelligence requires a display of emotional intelligence about others. Start with respect, always. It opens more doors and you won’t be blindsided. By endorsing Atiku, Nnia Nwodo and Ohaneze were blindsided and clearly did not respect President Buhari, Governor Obiano and the Obi of Onitsha as they commissioned Nnamdi Azikiwe’s monument.
Here is another reason why Nnia Nwodo failed the political intelligence test, lack of strategy. Ohaneze’s endorsement of Atiku lacked a clear strategy. It is of no effect since the majority of Igbos were already staunch supporters of Atiku-Obi ticket. Also, Igbos that have refused to support Atiku and Obi were not persuaded by this misstep by Ohaneze. So, why the figurative endorsement?
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. If Nia Nwodo and Ohaneze had defined the reality of the present political atmosphere in Nigeria, they would have known that Atiku’s endorsement is an exercise in futility. Atiku is a loser and this endorsement is counterproductive.
First, the Yorubas that are already solidly behind Buhari and Osinbajo will be even more motivated to tighten their grip on the Southwest. Their superior number of registered voters will easily wipe out the votes from the Southeast. Secondly, the endorsement based on ethnicity will further alienate Atiku-Obi ticket in the Northwest, northeast, and South-south. So, why should Nnia Nwodo put Igbos through this?
Ohaneze Ndigbo failed Ndigbo in 2015 when it refused to even give then APC candidate Buhari an audience in the run-up to the 2015 elections after tactfully endorsing the PDP candidate Goodluck Jonathan. Four years after, Nwodo played partisan politics again, by the convening of Ohaneze Ndigbo’s Imeobi meeting on a day that the President came to honor Igbo’s great son, Nnamdi Azikiwe. There is no doubt that the intention of Nnia Nwodo and Ohaneze was to ridicule Mr. President and reduce the significance of commissioning of the Zik mausoleum that was abandoned by the PDP for almost 2 decades.
Here is another confirmation that Nnia Nwodo failed the emotional intelligence test as a leader of Ohaneze; in a response to the allegation that Gov. Obiano called him an idiot, he released a text to the press, claiming that “History will judge who amongst us is idiotic. If standing with the popular wish of Ndigbo makes me idiotic, I am happy to be called an idiot. He added that “I will make this communication public so that Igbo will know who is idiotic amongst both of us.”
I will not get into who is idiotic between governor Obiano and Nnia Nwodo. I am, however, afraid that Nnia Nwodo is clearly exhibiting the same lack of political and emotional intelligence like Nnamdi Kanu of IPOP. Just like Nnamdi Kanu saw himself and IPOB as the Alpha and Omega in Igbo land before they were reduced to size, Nnia Nwodo sees Ohaneze as Chi-Ukwu Ndigbo and as an instrument, he can use to appease his friend Atiku.
Nnia Nwodo should know that that he addressed the Anambra State House of Assembly asking Ndi Anambra to disregard IPOB’s boycott of the last governorship election does not give him the liberty to endorse his friend Atiku on behalf of Igbos.
Nnia Nwodo and Ohaneze’s endorsement of Atiku is like putting Igbos in a Kirikiri cell that is 2 feet by five. By endorsing Atiku, Nnia Nwodo and Ohaneze were telling Igbos that Moghalu a Presidential candidate of Igbo descent is not Igbo enough. They want us to believe that the likes of Ngige, Onu, Nnamani, Arthur Eze, Uzor Kalu, and others are not Igbos to have at least merited Ohaneze’s neutrality in a Presidential election.
It is a pity that Nwodo and Ohaneze are limiting the opportunity for Igbos to claim top positions in any political platform of their chosen. The fact the Ohaneze and Nwodo refused to endorse Moghalu does not mean that he is not a true Igbo son. For goodness sake, these politicians are all Igbos and we all can win with them irrespective of the political platform they are in.
Finally, running a marathon with a backpack is tough and may hinder one from winning a race. Political intelligence requires that political actors should avoid letting the baggage heavy with anger slow them down. By endorsing Atiku, unfortunately, Nnia Nwodo and Ohaneze have allowed misplaced anger to place Ndigbo in a difficult position, again, should Buhari win the 2019 election. I am, thus, worried that Nnia Nwodo lacks the political and emotional intelligence that is crucial in steering Igbos on the right path to thriving in a multicultural country that is fluid and dynamic.
There is an Igbo saying that when an adult is in the house, the she-goat is not left to suffer the pains of parturition on its tether. The adults in Ohaneze led by Nwodo have chosen to let the she-goat suffer in pains by aligning with Atiku and the PDP. It’s thus, time for Igbos to tell Nnia Nwodo, you know what? Get out of our political lives. We will not suffer in pains with you and Ohaneze.
You can email Churchill at Churchill.okonkwo@gmail.com or follow on Twitter @churchillnnobi 

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target=_blank>The Onnoghen Case And Other Stories By Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati

I find it incredulous that a ruling government that seeks a second term in office and about which doubts have been expressed with regard to its performance, the competence of its officials and the quality of its service delivery would embark on a series of self-immolating adventures that can only further alienate it from the people it seeks to serve.  The manner in which the Buhari administration has been summersaulting in the public domain barely three weeks to Nigeria’s 2019 general election is suicidal. It is a wrong time to launch an attack on key institutions of state and the psyche of the average Nigerian. Except there is something else that the advisers of this government know that we do not know, what we know is that election season is the best time, and perhaps the busiest period when Nigerian politicians try to put their best leg forward. It is that season when they make an effort to mend fences. But what we have seen is an incumbent Federal Government that has been going out of its way to make enemies unnecessarily, violate the integrity of institutions, court avoidable controversies and give the sad impression that the 2019 general election can be determined with or without the people. It is in order, therefore, to consider the arrogance of the state and the system insufferable. As a strategy, if that is what it is, this is indeed unbelievable.
Anyone who has been following the news in Nigeria will have no problem providing useful illustrations in this respect. The latest is the matter of Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (now suspended and on trial), over cloudy matters of assets declaration. There have been many permutations and points of analysis (legal and moral, speculative and affirmative) over this issue. We need not rehash the various details other than to remind us that issues have been raised about the government’s abuse of due process, and violation of the Constitution and the legal order, all after a characteristic fashion. There are those who argue that nobody is above the law, not even the Justice of the Supreme Court, but while that may be true, it is important also that the government is seen to be fair and sincere and that its commitment to law and justice is without blemish. The shoddy handling of CJN Onnoghen’s makes no impression on legal purists and positivists who aver that the law cannot be bent to serve the purposes of expediency, otherwise the law is advertised as an a** and every institution in the administration of justice system is put to ridicule. 
In addition, I think if the objective of those who want Justice Walter Onnoghen out of the way, and who have offered a lot of prosecutorial folklore, is to punish him for assumed infractions or to replace him with a friendlier Chief Justice, they could have done a much neater job. But they bungled it. They have demonstrated what seems to be habitual and serial incompetence, so much that the government now finds itself in a ridiculous situation whereby lawyers are calling to question the competence of all the reported 52 lawyers in the government. It all looks worse because of the perception that judges are being hounded and that this particular government has no regard whatsoever for the doctrine of the separation of powers. This could have been avoided. 
But when a government begins to make mistakes, if it does not apply the brakes of caution, those mistakes invariably multiply. In an election season where one man is struggling to be more useful, more sycophantic than the other, you are bound to have the kind of confusion at the highest levels that we are currently witnessing. Confusion No 1: The Buhari government has been branded a dictatorship, akin to a military dictatorship. It has done nothing to correct that impression. The same government launched a broad daylight attack on the National Assembly, the country’s apex legislative body. Lawmakers were prevented from gaining access to their offices by security agencies. There is, as a matter of fact, no love lost between the Executive arm of government and the legislature. Some government spokespersons have justified that attack on the grounds of national security and moonlight tales that even children would consider too fabulous. 
Having pushed the National Assembly to a point where it is even afraid to call an extraordinary session without reading the mood of the Executive arm carefully, the Federal Government has also since gone after the judicial arm of government. The reputation of many judges has been soiled, and even if some judges are not above board like Caesar’s wife as they should be, even if there is a shorter supply of that judge in that once famous secondary school text: D. Olu Olagoke,The Incorruptible Judge,(can you imagine today’s judges selling eggs and running brothels?), the general trend is that the Buhari administration has no regard for court orders or the rule of law. More court orders have been violated in recent years than at any other time. This makes the comparison with military dictatorship popular and resonant. 
Nonetheless, a compromised judiciary digs its own grave. It opens itself to abuse by other players within the state. An upright judiciary stands on a higher pedestal that enables it to discharge its duties without fear or favour. We can recall with relish the golden era of the Nigerian Supreme Court: the days of Ayo Irikefe, Chukwudifu Oputa, Kayode Eso,,, judges who stood up to tyranny and used the law and the court as a stablizing force and regulator.  A lot has changed since that golden era. In those days, the judiciary stood firm and many of the judex could be counted upon to defend the law. Today, judges themselves encourage procedural infractions and assault on the Constitution. In the light of Section 158(1), Section 292 and Part 1 of the Third schedule to the Constitution, for example, does the President have the powers to suspend the CJN? Should any learned person issue a black market order to justify a constitutional infraction? Did the President lie to the nation by saying he acted in line with a CCT order? Did the order ask the President to suspend the CJN? The purported order says the CJN should “step aside”. Isn’t there a difference here? Does the President have the power to trigger a suspension? And should something as weighty as this be obtained through an ex parteorder? Is the embattled CJN Onnoghen not entitled to fair hearing? If so, is this not a clear case of abuse of court process? The sum trite point is that procedural law is as important as substantive law.  
There are other questions: why didn’t CJN Onnoghen promptly summon the National Judicial Council (NJC) to a meeting to tackle the issues? Should he have tarried awhile? And why did the Acting CJN, Tanko Muhammed agree to aid illegality and Constitutional infraction by making himself available to be sworn in against all known norms and procedures; thus making himself a part of the problem? Shouldn’t he know what is right in the eyes of the law? Times like this call for courage from the Bar and the Bench. Cowardly silence or acquiescence after a few days of righteous noise-making, the type that I think is building up and spreading right now, could further damage the integrity of these two key institutions. There is a precedent.  When a similar situation arose in 2007 in Pakistan under General Pervez Musharaff, the Bar and the Bench boycotted the courts and took to the streets (the Lawyers’ Movement/the Pakistan Long March) until the assault on the office of the Chief Justice was reversed. Will the Nigerian Bar and the Bench stand in unison? 
The Buhari administration has been serially and severally accused of nepotism and cronyism. Two key opportunities presented itself recently to correct this impression. Confusion 2: Even if there is a seniority rule in terms of succession to the seat of the Chief Justice, the fact that the immediate beneficiary of the suspension of CJN Onnoghen is a Northerner merely promotes the charge of nepotism. Many commenters believe that Onnoghen had to be suspended or removed as it were, to allow a Northerner preside over the Supreme Court during an election season. The acting CJN may be innocent on this score, but the Federal Government does him much harm. All of a sudden, he has become a victim of malicious propaganda, obviously orchestrated by Onnoghen’s sympathizers. About the same period, a Northerner and a Muslim was also appointed the Inspector General of Police to succeed another Northerner and a Muslim. Similarly, every other strategic position in government is occupied by a Northerner. In the face of all this, the default response of the government is to argue that previous administrations did the same thing, meaning the ethnicization of power is normal. So what was all that pre-election preachment about change all about, if as at 2019, nothing has changed? This is cynicism carried too far. Apparently, public opinion means nothing in the view of these new Sheriffs. What exactly is the wisdom in encouraging North-South polarization during an election season? 
If local public opinion is discounted, international public opinion is also dismissed as meddlesomeness and unwelcome interference. Confusion 3: Why is it that nobody can talk to “them” anymore and a healthy national conversation has become impossible? Some persons somewhere have forgotten how the international community, the same United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, that they now insult, carried the APC change agenda on their heads in 2014/2015. Our only consolation is that it is most unlikely that the international agencies in our midst will choose to be intimidated by the barking dogs and the hawks and the vultures of Nigerian democracy. It should be clear that Nigeria is not an island unto itself. It is not the other room. It is part of the larger room of global humanity. Under the international order, the country and its leaders are accountable to the people they lead and the rules of international engagement on the rule of law, fundamental human rights and good governance. So, there is no point to this barking match inside Nigeria; the dogs of agony must be put on a leash.
For the avoidance of doubt, the minimum that every one is asking for, before the issues disappear into a maze of arguments and counter-arguments, is that Nigerians and the international community expect Nigeria to conduct free, fair and credible elections, and that the authorities will not act in any manner that will exacerbate tension and throw the country into chaos. Political gladiators must put Nigeria first and ensure political stability. The people’s vote must be allowed to count. The battle for power must not be conducted to the detriment of institutions. This means that the independence and neutrality of state institutions must be guaranteed and protected. All the heads of strategic institutions who because of the allure of the moment, may have forgotten that tomorrow will come, should learn from the experience of yesterday’s men and women. There is always a yesterday and a tomorrow in the natural order of things. There is also a tendency to reduce everything in Nigeria to a battle of egos, and that has proven to be counter-productive, because many egos get deflated, no man kisses the stars forever. Vengeance as state policy or political strategy is deplorable. 
This then, is a country right now, in desperate need of leadership. That leadership has to be provided by all stakeholders, not by any cabal, and we will find it, if Nigeria is placed first and we all look beyond rhetoric and short-term benefits, and those who matter stop treating this country like a prostitute.  

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target=_blank>Kano Lawyers Defy NBA Boycott Order

The Kano State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has distanced itself from the directive of the national body to boycott courts for two days over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Onnoghen was suspended last Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari on a directive of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Sequel to the suspension, the NBA directed its members on Monday to boycott court activities for two days to express the association’s displeasure with the president over the suspension.
However, a statement by Mujtaba Adamu Ameen, the Secretary of the NBA Kano branch, directed the lawyers to go about their legal activities.
The statement further advised members to “be responsible enough to do the best for the country, families, clients and the system as a whole”.
“We should please endeavour to preserve the nobleness of our highly respected profession by being fair to the society and fair to our children yet unborn,” the statement added.
Checks in Kano on Tuesday revealed that Sharia courts, magistrate courts, state and federal high courts opened for normal business, with lawyers in attendance.

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target=_blank>IN FULL: Recommendations Of NJC Meeting On Onnoghen’s Suspension

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has disclosed its list of recommendations at the end of the emergency meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The emergency meeting was convened to address the issue of the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the swearing in of Justice Tanko Ibrahim Muhammad as the acting CJN.
President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended Onnoghen last Friday on a directive of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, before whom Onnoghen is standing trial over allegations of fraudulent declaration of assets. Buhari also appointed Muhammad as the acting CJN.
However, a statement by Soji Oye, the NJC Director of Information, listed the recommendations of the council at the end of the Tuesday meeting on the matter.
According to the statement, the NJC “Gives Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR seven (7) working days to respond to petitions; refers petition against CCT Chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar, to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC)”.
Four petitions were filed at the NJC secretariat, which were considered at the meeting. The petitions are: “Petition against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON by Zikhrillahi Ibrahim of Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civil Education; petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR, by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative; petition against Hon. Mr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, OON; and petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal by Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.”
The NJC referred the petition against Hon. Danladi Yakubu Umar to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), as the appropriate constitutional body empowered to deal with it.
The statement continued: “In line with its procedure, Council also forwarded the petitions against Hon. Justices W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and I.T. Muhammad, CFR to them for their responses.
“In view of the gravity of the matters involved, Council abridged the usual response period from fourteen (14) to seven (7) working days for the Hon. Justices to respond.”
Onnoghen and Muhammad recused themselves from the meeting and the Council elected Honourable Justice Umaru Abdullahi, former President of the Court of Appeal, as Interim Chairman to preside over the meeting.
The NJC will reconvene on February 11, 2019.

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target=_blank>Lawyers Fail To Fully Comply With NBA’s Directive To Boycott Courts Over Onnoghen

Scanty premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja
Some lawyers in court on Tuesday

Scanty premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja

The boycott order declared by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) nationwide over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), recorded partial compliance in Abuja as a few lawyers attended court sittings.
Checks at the Federal High Court in the nation’s capital revealed that three courts had sittings, particularly those that had their cases adjourned till today.
At its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Monday, the NBA resolved to embark on a two-day boycott of court sittings nationwide to protest Onnoghen’s suspension.

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BREAKING: Lawyers Nationwide To Boycott The Courts For Two Days Over Onnoghen

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Some lawyers in court on Tuesday

Many of the lawyers, who were in court, said they came to pick a new date, while others were in court to file processes. Some who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they were not employed by the NBA and as such, the directive to boycott court sittings is not binding on them.
SaharaReporters gathered that many judges were not in the court as a result of the ongoing workshop for justices and judges organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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Afenifere Asks Buhari To Make His Assets Declaration Form Public

The pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to publicly declare his assets.
This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by Chief R.F. Fasoranti, the Afenifere leader.
According to the group, the call on Buhari to declare his assets publicly is on the background of the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Onnoghen is standing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over allegations of false declaration of assets.
He was suspended by the President on a directive by the CCT, and Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad was sworn in as the acting CJN.
However, in its response on the suspension, the statement by Afenifere read: “The constitutional crisis created over the illegal suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria of Nigeria, Mr Walter Onoghen, over allegations of not fully declaring his assets has compelled Afenifere to remind President Buhari to make his assets declaration public.
“Then General Buhari in 2014 in a document titled, ‘I Pledge to Nigeria’, also said all his political appointees would only earn salaries and allowances as prescribed by the Revenue and Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.”
The statement quoted the president as saying: “I pledge to publicly declare my assets and liabilities, encourage all my appointees to publicity declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment”.
Fasoranti continued: “It’s now 4 months to the end of the four-year tenure of Mr President and this pledge has not been fulfilled. Instead of doing what he pledged, presidential aides have been giving all manners of untenable excuses in the last 3 and half years.
“This is a  moral burden, as it is said that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands and that examples are better than precepts. A leader must not set for others standards that are very difficult for him to meet in the order of ‘do as I say and not as I do’. The jeopardy of President Buhari anti-corruption war has really been one set of rules for the goose and another set for the gander.
“Afenifere therefore asks the President to immediately make his assets declaration form public so Nigerians can hold him as a man of his words. Such a power of example sets greater tone for good conduct in society than a thousand arbitrariness in the name of fighting corruption. The true meaning of leadership is being able to lead by higher standards.”

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