by Lekan Olanrewaju
The proposed reinstatement of Justice Ayo Salami as chairman of the Court of Appeal has been met with opinions, generally divided, over whether or not the suspended judge should get his job back.
The latest camp to weigh in on this matter is the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), which has called upon President Jonathan to swiftly reinstate Justice Salami as recommended by the National Judicial Council, or risk sending mixed signals to the public.
“We call on the President to approve the recommendation of the NJC and reinstate Justice Salami today, because that is the right thing to do, irrespective of the scheming of the hawks in his party and whatever self-serving advice he may be receiving from some aides,” the party said in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
“The jet speed with which the President accepted the recommendation of the same NJC to suspend Justice Salami has placed a huge moral burden on him to stop pandering to the naysayers in his party and approve the NJC’s recommendation reversing its earlier decision.”
“The courageous act of the NJC is a reflection of the determination of the judiciary to put an end to a crisis that has dented its image in the eyes of the world,” the ACN continued. “Therefore, it will be most unfortunate if the executive arm of government will be the one fomenting a fresh crisis in the judiciary. This is why President Jonathan must act today, over a week after the NJC made its recommendation.”
“For now, we at the ACN have chosen to give the President the benefit of the doubt by not believing published reports that the government may be the one orchestrating these lawsuits, or that its officials were even reportedly distributing some court papers on behalf of one of the lawyers behind such suits.”
“This is because if this is true, it may very well signal the death knell of the judiciary, which will not augur well for the country. A
country where the rule of law is tied to political expediency cannot expect to attract foreign investments or earn any respect in the comity of nations. We, therefore, hope President Jonathan is listening.”