A former governorship candidate in Enugu state, Dr Alexander Obiechina’s attention has been drawn to what he describe as a very false and misleading statement credited to the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen in Thursday edition of the Punch newspapers. The former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) was quoted as saying during his 70th birthday celebrations that nobody told him of his offence before his ignominious removal as the CJN.
“If he was not told of his offence what did he go to the CCT to defend? What was he defending then at the High Courts and later Court of Appeal? What were his team of lawyers defending in these courts or were they busybodies?,” he asked the former CJN.
“This is a case of refusing to tell yourself basic truth!! If you do not know why you were removed, go to Goggle and see that the world knows. You are equally saying that the rulings and judgements delivered by different courts on this matter were not based on legal facts before the courts but merely delivered at the figments and inventions of these judges since there was no case (any accussation against you) before them. By implication, as the former High Court Judge, Appeal Court judge, Justice of the Supreme Court and CJN, you are testifying to Nigerians and the entire world to loose faith in Nigerian judiciary as judgements obtained in Nigerian courts from your experience are not based on law but on extraneous factors. Was that what you were doing? If you were not doing so why kill the system that raised you up and fed you simply because you misendeavored and crashed?” he queried.
“And drawing from this your now exposed line of thoughts I recall I won gubernatorial election and as INEC did not do the needful and declare me the governor of Enugu state, I approached the courts for this declaration. The governor then, realising that this case will throw him out of office once it is determined in court, resorted to flexing his weighty financial muscles and tentacles to ensure the hearing of the suit was delayed until he left office. And the case was strangely delayed for six years because the courts under your watch did not give us hearing dates for this case.
“My lead counsel then, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, the foremost African constitutional lawyer, wrote you explaining that gubernatorial pre-election cases in courts are not time barred by Nigerian 1999 constitution then and all he was seeking was that you list this novel case for hearing and he will lead team of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and citing different provisions of our constitution they shall establish my case was not time barred and that I was the elected governor with no legal inhibitions to stop me from serving my four years from any date the court declares me the winner. You neither obliged him this request bordering on fair hearing of this case nor accorded such a legal icon a courtesy of reply. All you rather did was to rush to Supreme Court as CJN and chairman of the adjucating panel and tried prompting my lawyer, Chief Udechukwu SAN, representing Prof Ben Nwabueze, to toe a particular legal line and as you tried it twice, the wise, bold and courageous Chief Udechukwu, retorted to you there at the open court
“if you have taken decision on this case outside this court but you are merely here to act it out, please tell me so that I pack my bags and go because I am a senior member of the Temple of justice and my case ought to be treated with some sanity or fairness and I can never be coerced to a strange legal path!!
“This was widely published then. Morally burdened, you swallowed the whole sheet before the watching public but merely muttered that Udechukwu should mind what he says to you aa CJN and went ahead to strike off the case telling me that if I am not satisfied I should report to God in Heaven.
“I immediately reported you to God who I serve, left the Supreme Court room and immediately granted press interview where I said I have reported your actions to God Almighty praying Him to disgrace you out of the Supreme Court. This was again published then. Within one year of this prayer, you were disgraced out of the Supreme Court alledged in handcuffs and possibly without entitlements as due former CJNs. Indeed God Himself served you the same hot water you gave me. And so all these your integrity and moral highstandings are fake to me who came near your court with serious legal issues as l bear witness in opposite direction.