The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and all relevant security agencies to investigate and make public their findings on the rumoured visit of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Olukayode Ariwoola, to the United Kingdom for medical reasons and the allegation that it was in disguise to meet with President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu in London.
The CNPP in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Willy Ezugwu, said this had become necessary to preserve the integrity of the judiciary.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, was reported to have been sighted in London, United Kingdom, pretending to be a physically-challenged old man, for a secret meeting with the President-elect.
According to the Peoples Gazette, an online news medium, Supreme Court sources said Ariwoola’s disguising was a clandestine preparation for a meeting with Tinubu.
The CNPP noted that despite the denials of the plans to hold such meetings by the two personalities, the integrity of both the chief judicial personality in Nigeria and that of the President-elect had been called to question, especially in view of the widespread criticisms of the Supreme Court’s rulings on political matters since the 2023 general elections.
“The Supreme Court under the current leadership has given several verdicts on political litigations in recent times which put the integrity of the apex court to question before this very damaging report by an online news portal on the alleged planned meeting between the CJN and the President-elect in London.
“Allowing the matter to slide without a public inquiry will be a recipe for breach of national security in the event that the Supreme Court rulings fail to favour some parties in election litigations currently before various election petition tribunals, especially the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal under the direct jurisdiction of the CJN.
“The CNPP therefore calls on President Muhammadu Buhari, security sgencies, and all relevant stakeholders to institute open investigation into the reported planned meeting between CJN Ariwoola and President-elect Tinubu to lay to rest the controversy in the interest of justice and national security.
“This is imperative as the level of distrust, religious and tribal colourations permeating topics among supporters of different political camps in the country, especially now that the most damaging allegation on the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary became a media affair, should be taken very seriously to avoid a national catastrophy.
“It is also of national importance to ensure that the matter is openly investigated and the report made public as most Nigerian politicians and citizens who are aggrieved by the outcome of the 2023 general elections as conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, may resort to self-help in the event of perceived biases in the judicial pronouncements on the outcome by the tribunals.
“The CNPP then urges politicians to caution their supporters on the use of ethnicity and religion as campaign tools. Ethnic profiling is dangerous to peace and unity of the country and must be stopped.
“We, therefore, call on security agencies to ensure that all persons who were involved in inciting comments before, during, and after the 2023 general elections are prosecuted to serve as deterrence to others, otherwise the individuals and groups will remain bad examples and reference cases in the near future,” the CNPP warned.
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