The Chairman of the South South Governors Forum and Governor òf Bayelsa State, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, has condemned the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the ChiefJustice òf the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The Governor described the removal of Onnoghen as a sad day and indeed a sad commentary on democracy in Nigeria.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the Governor as having made the comment while speaking with journalists shortly after receiving the Sun Newspaper Award for the Outstanding Politician the Year in Lagos on Thursday night.
Dickson also said that the action was inimical to the desired stability of the nation and critical institutions of state.
The Governor said that Nigerians had a responsibility to be concerned about the electoral process and the critical institutions entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard democracy in the society.
He said that Nigeria would be heading in the direction of a shithole country as a president allegedly said if critical institutions of state don’t get it right.
He lamented that the removal of Onnoghen from his exalted position of the Chief Justice òf Nigeria showed in clear terms that democracy was under serious stress and test.
He said, “Talking about the unfortunate development today, having read the details about it, and if the report that we are reading about it are anything to go by, then it is a very sad commentary on our nation’s democracy
“It is a very sad day, for our nation’s democracy and for the stability of our nation, and the stability of the critical national institution of which the judiciary is primus inter pares.
“We must be concerned about the process, the integrity of the national critical institutions that will safeguard and reinforce our democracy, seeing our democracy has come under very severe stress and test by what has happened today.
He stressed that while the courts would make pronouncement on the legality or otherwise on the development around the CJN, he personally found the action condemnable
“Is this action legal? I am sure the courts are there to make pronouncements on it one way or the order. However I have my views, and clearly I condemn it.” He added.
He emphasized the need for due process and adherence to constitutional provisions stressing that countries are governed according to laws and mutual respect among the political class.
The Governor said that there must be respect for processes in the Indepedent National Electoral Commission, and the security agencies.