Some Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party have condemned the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
This comes a day after President Muhammadu Buhari, appointed and swore in Justice Tanko Mohammed as acting CJN.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, described the suspension of Justice Onnoghen, as a national provocation by the Presidency which he said was capable of causing security crisis in the country.
He condemned the President’s action when he received the National Executive Committee of the International Federation of Women Lawyers at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
The governor accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being desperate to put the party on the ballot.
He also alleged that the media would be the next target of intimidation to force them to dish out half-truths.
On his part, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom said the suspension of Justice Onnoghen was an alleged attempt by the Presidency to truncate democracy and throw the country into anarchy.
The Governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, describe the suspension as ‘unconstitutional’. He alleged that the Presidency has demonstrated that it does not believe in the rule of law, due process and the principle of separation of powers.
Governor Ortom said the suspension was not only a slap on the judiciary, but the action exposed the alleged desperate self-succession bid of the present administration at the expense of the country’s unity.
He claimed that the suspension of Justice Onnoghen appeared to have “the imprints of the cabal which the President’s wife said is running the government”.
The Governor said the suspension must be reversed in the interest of the country and accused the APC of plot to rig the general elections.
He also called on all Nigerians to reject the suspension of Justice Onnoghen and other alleged attempts by the ruling party to cause a constitutional crisis.
For Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, the suspension of Justice Onnoghen is “a sad day and indeed a sad commentary on democracy in Nigeria”.
He said the action was inimical to the desired stability of the nation and critical institutions of state, noting that Nigerians have a responsibility to be concerned about the electoral process and the critical institutions entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard democracy in the society.
Governor Dickson warned that Nigeria would be heading in the direction of “a shithole country” as a president allegedly said if critical institutions of state do not get it right.
He said the suspension showed that the nation’s democracy was under serious stress and test.
“It is a very sad day, for our nation’s democracy and for the stability of our nation, and the stability of the critical national institution of which the judiciary is primus inter pares. We must be concerned about the process, the integrity of the national critical institutions that will safeguard and reinforce our democracy, seeing our democracy has come under very severe stress and test by what has happened.”
Governor Dickson stressed that while the courts would make a pronouncement on the legality or otherwise on the development around the suspension, he personally found the action condemnable.
“Is this action legal? I am sure the courts are there to make pronouncements on it one way or the order. However, I have my views, and clearly, I condemn it,” he noted.
The governor emphasised the need for due process and adherence to constitutional provisions, noting that countries were governed according to laws and mutual respect among the political class.
He insisted that there must be respect for processes in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies.
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