Bola Tinubu, the National leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has, on the matter of Justice Ayo Salami’s recommended reinstatement by the National Judicial Council (NJC), accused President Goodluck Jonathan of acting out a script of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to intimidate judges in the country.
Tinubu, in a statement signed by him, described the saga as a “direct assault against the judiciary”, which will weaken other judges in the country.
According to the former governor of Lagos State, seeing the treatment so roughly handed to a senior justice like Salami, no other judge will dare act independently and according to the law.
He said they would seek direction from the executive and concoct flimsy legal arguments to defend what they have been ordered to do.
“They will come to use the colour of law to undermine justice,” Tinubu lamented.
“Herein lies the danger to us all. This government has shown itself to be greedy. The more it eats, the hungrier it gets. The more power it has, the more it wants. Today, it seeks to devour Salami because of his electoral rulings. Tomorrow, it will be a contract you signed, the land your father purchased, the business your uncle built, or the newspaper that published an unfavourable news report.”
The ACN chieftain further explained that if the law courts were no longer able to honestly adjudicate the law, “to serve as the sharp knife of the Imperial Court in Abuja, then we no longer operate under a constitutional democracy.”
He regretted that “we have lived this scenario before and it did us no good. We should not walk this trail of tears again.”
Tinubu added that the Salami tale would definitely define governance in Nigeria, for good or bad, advising Nigerians to choose a side.
“It is time to select the side that you are on. Either you are for right or for power.”
He urged all jurists, lawyers, civil society groups and the media to stay on the side of justice.
He stressed that Jonathan was a beneficiary of the protection of legal justice under the doctrine of necessity that paved his way to the presidency. Tinubu however chided the President for leading what he called “a power cabal that is disrobing Nigerians of their rights and denying them justice.”
He further accused the Federal Government of plotting to provoke crisis by its refusal to obey the rule of law and reinstate Salami, describing excuses offered by the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGP, Mohammed Adoke, SAN on the issue, as “flimsy and self-serving”.
He said that they were even more anxious by the larger script to end the career of a courageous judge and amputate and subvert the rule of law.
Tinubu applauded the nation’s eminent jurists and legal scholars “for supporting Salami’s reinstatement, against the partisan PDP and their legal mercenaries”.