Tuesday, February 7, 2023

2023: Nigeria needs impartial judiciary, CJN Ariwoola must resign, CSOs insist

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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About 18 Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, under the aegis of the Coalition of Civil Societies of Nigeria, CCSN, have again asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Olukayode Ariwoola, to resign his appointment over a political comment he made in Rivers State recently.

The groups had embarked on peaceful protests to the National Assembly and Supreme Court but were forcefully dispersed by a detachment of anti-riot policemen of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Police Command.

Addressing another press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, the Team leader of the coalition, Olayinka Dada, outlined measures and legitimate means through which the CJN would leave office.

According to Mr Dada, the country needs an impartial umpire to oversee the judiciary and this Nigerians will not compromise, especially as the 2023 general elections are around the corner.

Mr Dada said: “Since the CJN visited Port-Harcourt for a project commissioning, the political landscape of Nigeria has witnessed a lot of unease. This is due to the partisan utterances made by CJN Olukayode Ariwoola at the event.

“Our elections are around the corner and Nigerians expect an impartial judicial who most likely will dispense justice where disputations occur before, during and after the polls.

“These statements are enough testimony of the partisanship of the CJN in political dispute involving his friends in a political party out of the 18 parties running for elections in 2023. Nigerians are dissatisfied and confused as to this new twist.

“As we all know, elections results are often contested in courts and in many instances, ends at the Supreme Court. How will the CJN allow honest dispensation of justice if the party and friends he already aligned with are interested parties in such disputes?

“How will the CJN resist the temptations of influencing judgements in favor of his allies? How will his interferences in politics deescalate tension that is already building up?

“We are now at a point where Nigerians feel the gains recorded in the new electoral laws and the reforms INEC put in place may be truncated by the judiciary whose head is now fully a politician.

“We demand the CJN’s immediate resignation to save our democracy. To allow the judiciary to have vested interest in politics is to damn representative governance which guarantees people’s choice in electing their preferred leaders.

The Coalition is made up of 18 CSOs among which are Civil Society Forum of Nigeria, Nigeria Youth Development Forum, Democratic Youth Initiative, Forum for Social Justice, Movement for the Development of Democracy and Safeguard Nigeria Movement.

Others are Alliance for People’s Welfare, Forward Nigeria Movement, Human Right Crusaders, Defenders of Democracy, Democratic Rights Assembly and Voter’s Rights Assembly.

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