A Coalition of Civil Societies of Nigeria (CCSN) has disclosed that it will commence zonal rallies next week to force the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola to resign his position.
The coalition, composed of 18 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), for the umpteenth time, demanded the CJN’s immediate resignation to save the country’s democracy.
Trouble was said to have started when Ariwoola at a recent commissioning of a project in Rivers State was quoted to have said that he was glad that Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, was a member of G-5, a rebellious group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
After his statement in Rivers, the coalition had embarked on a peaceful protest to the Supreme Court and also to the National Assembly where it demanded the resignation of the CJN.
However, addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, the Head of the Coalition, Olayinka Dada said since Ariwoola visited Port Harcourt for a project commissioning, the political landscape of Nigeria has witnessed a lot of unease, this he blamed on the partisan utterances of the CJN at the event.
His words: “These statements are enough testimony of the partisanship of the CJN in a political dispute involving his friends in a political party out of the 18 parties running for elections in 2023. Nigerians are dissatisfied and confused as to this new twist.”
The coalition noted that with the country’s elections around the corner, Nigerians expect an impartial judiciary that would dispense justice where disputes occur before, during and after the polls.
According to him, the coalition has outlined measures and legitimate means to force Ariwoola to resign.
“As we all know, election results are often contested in courts and in many instances, end at the Supreme Court. How will the CJN allow honest dispensation of justice if the party and friends he already aligned with are interested parties in such disputes?
“How will the CJN resist the temptations of influencing judgements in favour of his allies? How will his interference in politics de escalate tension that is already building up?
“We are now at a point where Nigerians feel the gains recorded in the new electoral laws and the reforms INEC put in place may be truncated by the judiciary whose head is now fully a politician,” he said.
The coalition pointed out that the country could do better by guaranteeing the processes through a non-partisan, credible judiciary, saying the CJN has shown this would not be possible with him at the helm of affairs.
“We hereby wish to invite all Nigerians to our zonal rallies commencing next week to seek the resignation of the CJN from his partisan position,” he stated.