Onnoghen should tender apology to Nigerians, says Senator Arise

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Adewumi Ademiju, Ado -Ekiti
A former lawmaker and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress APC , in Ekiti State, Senator Ayo Arise ,has made a submission on the state of the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria ,Justice Walter Onnoghen .
The former senator noted that the system of government that is being operated in Nigeria only recognizes the supreme court as the apex in any case .
Arise, who represented Ekiti North Senatorial District  between 2007 -2011 also described the suspended  CJN’s scenario   as an embarrassment not only to the judiciary but to the country as a whole .
Arise enjoined Nigeria to take advantage of the  controversy and make   correction  on some weaknesses in the Constitution .He declared that the suspended CJN could have saved himself and the nation from the mess ,if he had taken what he termed ‘path of honour ‘ and resigned from his former position ,stressing  that no individual could be  larger than the judiciary .”Well,it is an unfortunate scenario that we found ourselves .Ordinarily Onnoghen should have saved the judiciary ,saved this country and also saved his name by simply designed from office”
“Whether it is  allegation, confirmation or deliberate misrepresentation..Whatever the case may be ,once Onnoghen  has owned up  and said he forgot to make the declaration of his assets ,he should have resigned and apologize to Nigerians that he ,as an individual ,represents an institution .And no individual should be larger than the judiciary. It is not worth what it has been subjected to “
Arise ,however  faulted the NJC’s perceived attempt to assume the powers of the court on the matter.
“There is no room for apportioning blame at this  time .The President acted based on advise from the Attorney General of the Federation ,who is the number one Law Enforcement Officer of the country .
“When you look at the whole scenario ,it appears that it challenges the essence of our constitution .How do you have somebody who has admitted to violating the law of the land to continue to lead that arm of government ?”
“Obviously ,there is no basis for justification ,either morally or legally .Looking at the reactions of several organizations .The NBA ,South South Governors Forum  and others .
“Yes,there is a little bit of controversy in the constitution .The constitution says when a judicial officer commits an offense ,he or she should be refer  to the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC). for sanction .It is the same constitution that says when a public servant fails to declare his or her asset or made false declaration , such officer would be sent to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for prosecution and administration of justice .And a number of guidelines were stated there in .”
“The issue now is which one is superior ?Is it the court or the NJC ?The system of government that I believe ,we are practicing ,the NJC cannot be parallel court  to CCT.When you say the supreme Court is the final arbiter in any case .That is the Supreme Court .So ,is the NJC now saying it is equivalent to supreme Court .So,invariably the answer to my mind is no,that means ,something needs to be clarified on the roles of the NJC and the roles of the Courts ,vis a vis  when breach of the law is involved.
“As a nation, even though we are learning by the day .this democracy is not a perfect system of government .It is a system that allows for learning ,make correction and improves upon .and add value , as we progress as a nation .It is even good that this scenario came up .And whatever the weaknesses are,in our constitution can be corrected as we move forward. ” he stated.
*Photo: Senator Arise

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