APC defends trial of CJN Onnoghen, chastises PDP

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has endorsed the planned
arraignment today of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen and
accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being sympathetic to
corruption for calling against the plan.

Onnoghen is scheduled to be arraigned by the Code of Conduct Bureau
(CCB) at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on a six-count charge of
alleged false asset declaration. The development followed a petition
to the CCB by a group, the Anti-corruption and Research-based Data
Initiative (ARDI).

Speaking on the development in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola
Ologbondiyan, on Saturday, the PDP said it is part of a plot by the
APC-led federal government to destabilise the Judiciary so as to rig
the 2019 general elections.

“This is particularly following allegations that the APC seeks a new
CJN that will aid its rigging schemes as well as execute the plot to
use the court to detain and put opposition members and outspoken
members of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) out of circulation during
the general elections,” the PDP said.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and many lawyers in their personal
capacities also condemned the decision to put the head of the Nigerian
judiciary in the dock.

The APC spoke for the first time on the development through a
statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre
Issa-Onilu, saying the swift reaction by the PDP exposed the
opposition party as one with a natural inclination to rise up in
defence of cases of alleged corruption.

It said it expected the PDP to call for impartial investigations when
corruption cases are levelled against public officers, but “spinning
falsehoods and conspiracies” remains the opposition party’s favourite
past time.

The ruling party dismissed as baseless the allegation that the move
against  Onnoghen is a plot to rig the election and urged Nigerians to
disregarded such allegations, as APC is committed to ensuring a free
and fair election.

“The PDP’s baseless conspiracy theory on APC’s participation in the
2019 general elections should hereby be disregarded. We remain solidly
committed to ensuring that the forthcoming elections go on record as
one of the freest, most credible and peaceful elections in the
country.”

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