14 Things Fatally Wrong With President Buhari’s Action Relying On The CCT’s Purported Order – Prince Ayoade Adewopo

  1. The order was purportedly issued ‘ex parte’, meaning without notice to the other party when the tribunal has adjourned to hear the application on notice to hear and determine whether it has jurisdiction.

  2. The order was in fact issued ‘suo motu’, by the tribunal meaning without having been brought by any counsel or party before it. It means that the tribunal suddenly decided to determine jurisdiction and indeed assume jurisdiction when it has adjourned for that purpose. An abberation in administration of justice, a rape of justice.

  3. Whether ‘ex parte’ or ‘suo motu’, what is the urgency or threat to life in the intervening time before the purported order was issued for the CJN ‘s suspension and appointment of an acting CJN? None!

  4. Was the CJN served the purported order in order to allow him challenge, react or respond to it appropriately as allowed by law? No!

  5. The order purportedly suspends the CJN when the tribunal has not determined the allegation of contravention or breach of Code of Conduct against the CJN on the merit.

  6. Whether an order from a tribunal, not being a superior court of record or an institution under the Judiciary can summarily suspend or remove the CJN without a hearing?

  7. The order itself was issued by an executive-branch tribunal, though exercising a quasi-judicial function, headed by a chairman who is facing criminal charges and who has not been ordered by the President or SGF in the executive arm to step aside.

  8. The order by the tribunal has done violence to the fundamental right of fair hearing of the CJN and to the Separation of Powers enshrined in the Constitution. The CJN has been denied the opportunity to be heard. The President, the CCB and the CCT, institutions of the executive branch, are accusers and judges in their own case.

  9. The order offends the provision of s292 of the Constitution which clearly and unambiguously states the process by which the holder of the office of the CJN can be removed – by the President in an address to the senate on the CJN’s contravention of the Code of Conduct. It does not say that it must be “contravention” in the opinion of the President. Has the CJN been adjudged by any court of law as having contravened the code of conduct? NO!

  10. The removal of the holder of the office of CJN cannot be hurriedly done under any circumstance, no matter how grave the offence is, considering the wider impact on the entire judiciary which he heads. It must scrupulously follow prescribed constitutional provisions and due process. The same rule applies to the removal or impeachment of the President and the Senate President who are also heads of their own branches of Government.

  11. If we claim to practice democracy, we must be seen to uphold its tenets of Rule of Law and not rule of men. We cannot try and convict persons by mere allegations, by media, by blackmail, by mob action or by morality. Every person is deemed innocent until proven guilty and every accused is entitled to every defence available in law. It is the right of every person and a process by which justice is served in a just and civilised society. Having subscribed to democracy and rule of law, we have agreed to be ruled by law and uphold the rights of every person.

  12. Technicalities and due process are handmaids of law and administration of justice. It permits the machinery of justice to allow every party to exercise his rights but does not and has been held to be minimised to ensure it does not clog the wheel of justice. It is the duty of the Courts and users of the process to determine its limit. The President himself is a beneficiary of permissible technicalities in assuming the office which he holds and enjoys today.

  13. The President has hurriedly charged the CJN and suspended him from office without due process, in contravention of his fundamental rights and the Constitution which he has sworn to uphold under the guise of fighting corruption. This action can, should and must be challenged to test the strength and the spirit of the Constitution. While corruption is the bane of our society, in fighting it, Nigerians and fighters of corruption must be prepared to be meticulous, tenacious and resilient within the boundaries of the rule of law or agree to suspend the entire institutions of the rule of law for the rule of jungle to take over. Like in some other climes, we can decide to dispense with democracy and rule of law; and descend into mob action to serve instant justice to allegedly corrupt leaders and individuals.

  14. To the extent of the rule of law under which the President came to office, his action is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. It is a grave act of corruption, worse than the corruption he claims to be fighting. There is no worse corruption when the institutions of the Constitution are treated with disdain and subjected to presidential whims and caprices, and personal ambition. It becomes a recipe for totalitarianism and anarchy.

Prince Ayoade Adewopo
January 28, 2019

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