Governors from the Niger Delta region on Sunday after an emergency meeting launched a tirade at President Mohammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that the government has no regard for the people of the Niger Delta region.
They also raised the alarm over arms-build up in Niger Delta states by APC leaders in the region with the intent to cause mayhem and a general breakdown of law and order during the elections.
The meeting called at the instance of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, was attended by Nyesom Wike , Ben Ayade and Emmanuel Udom of Rivers, Cross River and Akwa- Ibom respectively.
The governors in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting noted that “the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT is also a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state including the National Assembly and the judiciary”
According to them, while the disciplinary procedure for any erring judicial officer is clearly spelt out in Section 158(1) of the 1999 Constitution,”President, Muhammadu Buhari has a constitutional responsibility and huge moral obligation to defend our democracy.”
The governors said the planned arraignment of the CJN was a pointer that Buhari has no regard for the Niger Delta region.
“Therefore, we consider this step, which is directly aimed at humiliating the nation’s highest judicial officer and a prominent son of the region, as totally unacceptable as it is reflective of the South-South story of endless marginalization and intimidation. The unceremonious removal of former acting Director General of the Department of State Service, Mathew Seiyefa, and his replacement is still very fresh. We note that the unfortunate action against the CJN further reinforces the perception that the Buhari administration has no regard for the sentiments of Nigerians, in particular the people of Niger Delta, and the rule of law. It is a fact that this administration has a penchant for flagrant disobedience of and disregard for legitimate and valid court orders. We expect President Buhari to know that democracy cannot survive without respect for the constitution, strict adherence to the rule of law, and separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution” the communiqué reads in part
The governors noted that the development at the Supreme Court “is capable of causing avoidable anxiety, tension and possible breakdown of law and order in the country,” adding that “the action undermines confidence not only in the judiciary but also the electoral process that has already commenced, in view of the pivotal role that the judiciary plays in the process of electoral adjudication”.
They declared that “President Buhari should know that the continuous assault on critical institutions of state is a defining feature of a dictatorship” stressing that the “President is obliged to live up to his word that he is a born-again democrat, as he assured Nigerians in 2015”.
They therefore call on President Buhari to “condemn without any equivocation, this assault on the CJN and the judiciary especially coming after similar assaults on the National Assembly, to save the country from this embarrassment and global contempt”.
The Niger Delta governors also call on the CJN to ignore this so-called court summon from the CCB and the provocative call for his resignation in some quarters.
They threw their weight behind the fight against corruption, noting however, that “such an action must always be anchored on the rule of law.”