Ariwoola

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

COALITION of 52 Northern Groups, CNG, on Thursday, called for the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, for alleged partisanship, saying the country cannot have a successful democracy without a fair and impartial judiciary.

The 52 arewa socio-cultural groups made the demand at a briefing in Abuja, days after the CJN expressed happiness that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State aligned himself with the G5 governors led by Wike.

However, the comment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria sparked controversies, with some individuals and groups alleging that it smacked of partisanship.

Reacting, the National Coordinator of CNG, Jamilu Aliyu Charanchi, said the CJN’s perceived gaffe confirmed the assertion that some judges are no better than politicians in black robes.

Consequently, he described Ariwoola’s comment as a “ridiculous and blatant” attempt to drag the entire judiciary into partisanship.

Charanchi regretted despite public outcry generated by the comments of the CJN in many quarters, neither the National Judicial Commission, the Executive nor the Legislative arms of the Federal Government have reacted.

He said, “The CNG hereby unequivocally condemn with all our might any such attempts by the government to condone highly placed judicial officers who abuse the judicial independence which is critical to fairness and impartiality and free from outside pressures or inducements.

“We call for the immediate resignation of Mr Ariwoola from the position of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and an unconditional apology to Nigerians for the embarrassment caused.

“We call on the Legislative and executive arms of government to come out of their present docility by imitating urgent processes for stripping the Ariwoola of the title of the CJN in order to restore the integrity of the judiciary and reclaim public confidence in the Justice system.”

According to him, the CNG is concerned that Justice Ariwoola had cast serious doubts around his personal integrity and the expectations for the judiciary to maintain neutrality in whatever circumstances.

Charanchi added, “This remark has clearly exposed the Chief Justice of Nigeria as incapable or unprepared to dispense impartial Justice in accordance with the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which further expose the federal government incapacity and/ or lacking in the political will and capacity to check action that are detrimental to such.

“If the Chief dispenser of Justice would so callously expose his parson and by implication, the nation’s judiciary to such level of moral and ethical corruption by being outright partisan, the court shall cease to be the temple of justice and the last hope for the nation, a development that is detrimental to the healthy growth of our country’s democracy.

“For whatever intent and purposes and despite attempts by aides at a belated whitewash, the CJN’s remark is an unambiguous and deliberate expression of partial interest in certain active political formations.

“By this tacit endorsement of a section of the political community, the CJN has inadvertently drowned the nation’s judiciary deep into the murky waters of the kind of cut throat politics the likes of Governor Nyesom Wike are known for.

“The CNG therefore finds it unacceptable for the CJN to continue in that position after presenting himself as an active player in a particular team thereby completely destroying the reality and appearance of a fair and impartial, non-partisan justice administration system.

“We warn that it is not possible to have a successful democracy without a fair and impartial judiciary, and it is not possible to have a fair and impartial judiciary that lacks independence in partisan political activities.”

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