How PDP and Atiku hobnobbed with Onnoghen


The  matter of the self-inflicted predicament of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen has brought out the true colours of some of those seeking to lead the country. No matter how hard they try to change their garments and adorn the democratic garb to hoodwink people, like leopards, they cannot change their skin.
People will always see through their fake posturing. Their vituperations over the Onnoghen affair have confirmed what many have always known of them: that they are cosy and comfy with corruption. Where they are not the one directly perpetrating the act of corruption, they must be the direct beneficiaries of the corrupt practice.
The Peoples Democratic Party and its Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have been stridently defending Onnoghen over the allegations of corruption levelled against him. The other day the party suspended its campaign in defence of the suspended CJN.
The question we need to ask is why are the PDP and its candidate crying more than the bereaved? Is there a romance between Onnoghen and the PDP? A good-humoured friend likened the seeming romance to the anecdote of a wife and the gateman, saying when you sack your gateman for flouting your order and your wife is sobbing uncontrollably, watch your home!
The PDP, indeed, have some explaining to do over its unbridled defence of Onnoghen. Speculations now swirl around this strange relationship. And rather than puncture the allegation, the posture of the PDP and its candidate continue to add more fillip.
Confronted by the allegation that he failed to declare his assets before assuming office, Onnoghen admitted guilt, saying he forgot. What the CJN has admittedly perpetrated is nothing but corruption for which he has been asked to account.
Yet, Onnoghen has not been sacked or removed as the PDP and Atiku would want the world to believe. To do that would be to deny him his right to defend himself. He has only been asked to step aside so he can explain himself without desecrating the high office that he holds and the noble institution of the judiciary he heads.
Atiku says the issue should not be whether Onnoghen, who allegedly have undeclared and seemingly unexplained tonnes of dollars starched away in his domiciliary and foreign accounts, is guilty or not, it should be whether his removal is right or wrong. Nothing can be more fallacious and ludicrous. As indicated earlier, Onnoghen has not been removed.
He has only been asked to step aside and could in fact return to his office if he is eventually found not guilty. Why is Atiku placing the cat before the horse? He presents himself as an advocate of due process and institution-building, yet he is opposed to moves to sanitise and strengthen institutions of government. Pray how do you sanitise governmental institutions if corruption, abuse of office and debauchery are allowed to go unchecked?
The PDP candidate dubs himself an unflinching democrat and stout defender of democracy. Really? But no civilian government in Nigeria’s history has done assault to the tenets of democracy and abused due process than the Obasanjo government from 1999 to 2007 of which Atiku was an influential vice president.
When Obasanjo is not mowing down duly-elected governors by removing them from office by fiat, without respect for the constitutional provision of two-third majority of lawmakers as in the case of Bayelsa and Plateau governors, he is changing Senate presidents based on his whims or sacking his party chairman at gun point without recourse to laid-down rules. Yet Atiku, the democrat, did not see anything wrong in all of that. He was in fact a willing accomplice.
As long as his interests are not injured, corruption and abuse of office can work on all four. Atiku would simply look the other way. Atiku says he is a defender of democracy. Yet he defends corruption. This is contradictory in terms.
Is corruption not antithetical to democracy? Democracy can hardly prosper where corruption and abuse of office thrive. Would it not have been nobler of the latter-day defender of democracy to encourage their friend to follow the path of honour by stepping aside for the investigation of his case or resigning from office to clear his name, which has been sullied?
The PDP candidate posits that the country is passing through a difficult moment and facing a major constitutional crisis.
How? Nigeria facing a crisis because the CJN is being asked to account for a seeming constitutional infraction? Excuse me! If there is any crisis at all, whether real or imagined, it’s Justice Onnoghen that tried to create one, by moving to subvert attempts to get him to account for his deed.
After failing to step aside, he stood in the way of the National Judicial Council from quickly taking a decision in his case by postponing indefinitely a scheduled January 15 meeting of the body. What he tried to prevent is what the NJC has now embarked upon.
The point is heavens will not fall simply because the CJN is being asked to explain how he came by his stupendous wealth.
Former vice president Atiku also says no mission or goal, “no matter how noble or well intended,” should be used as a pretext for the alleged subversion of the country’s democracy and democratic institutions. Yes, that is correct. But moving to tackle corruption, which has eaten deep into our system, is a noble task any day. Because, as they say, if Nigeria does n’t confront corruption head long, corruption will kill Nigeria some day.
Nothing subverts democracy more than wanton corruption. With corruption, the democracy we all yearn for will be severely imperilled. We must therefore save our democracy by mowing down corruption. In the extant case, however, nothing has been done that can subvert our democracy, contrary to what Atiku and co are spreading around.
What Atiku and PDP are doing on this Onnoghen affair is mere grandstanding. They are simply playing politics. What this moment calls for is for our leaders to look at issues dispassionately, with the eyes of true nationalists, in order to move the country forward.

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