The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, is currently facing heavy criticism on social media over his support for Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde’s membership of the G5, also known as the Integrity Group.
Recall that Justice Ariwoola had made some complimentary comments about the G-5 Governors during a banquet held in his honour on Thursday in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Government as a prelude to his commissioning of two projects; the Federal Judicial Service Commissioner’s South-South Liaison Office and the Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili Judicial Institute.
He had commended Governor Wike for being the Governor that had done more projects for the judiciary than any other Governor, asking others to emulate him.
The G-5 Governors were all present namely; Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
Also, speaking in a lighter mood during the banquet, the CJN, who hails from Oyo, said his host (Governor Wike) was threatening to withdraw Makinde’s wife, who is from Rivers, expressing hope that Makinde would emulate Wike to replicate the good works in his state.
He said, “That is why we should not be scared to have these men of the integrity group. And I am happy that my own governor is among them because he would try to imitate his friend and in-law because we came here to marry for my governor.
“So, Governor Wike will always threaten that he will call back his sister if my governor fails to play ball. That is why you see him following his Excellency (Wike) because my governor is afraid of his wife being recalled.”
Although the CJN made remarks on a lighter note, some Nigerians have accused him of bias, Daily Trust reports.
Tweeting via @lordcharles01, a social media user said, “I have read the statements credited to my Lord, the CJN on the G5 Governors. Even in the banter mood and the context of the banquet, His Lordship should have kept up his guard and not make such statements.”
@Graceyisaac wrote, “A judge should not be partisan. This is dangerous for democracy.”
@SamAmadi said, “A CJN making careless political statements in election season when his court will probably decide. Well, where are Nig. Lawyers trained?”
@DearestJessica_ wrote, “There is no right thinking & justice conscious Nigerians that are not happy with them. They are setting a record that injustice & unfairness should no longer be condoned”
@Elfoegbu: “This CJN must resign now!!! This is a danger signal.”
ARISE TV anchor, Rufai Oseni, described the development as a sad one for the judiciary.
“Must the Chief Justice of Nigeria delve into politics? Its sad for our judiciary,” he tweeted.
However, Dr Festus Akande, Supreme Court Director of Information, said the CJN’s comments had been taken out of context.
“Well, this is the era of aggressive politics and politicking, so, there’s nothing that will not be heard or seen between now and the period of the 2023 general elections. People say whatever they choose to say just to please their interests and inordinate desires, most often.
“I don’t really know where that is coming from; and I don’t also know at what point the CJN said he was happy that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State was a member of the now christened “Integrity Group” or G-5 Governors.
“You all know that the CJN, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, is a judicial officer and not a politician. He and other senior judicial officers were in Port Harcourt on Thursday and Friday being 24th and 25th November, 2022 to commission two buildings to accommodate the Federal Judicial Service Commissioner’s South-South Liaison Office and the Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili Judicial Institute, that were conceptualized and constructed by the Rivers State Government.
“Even at the State Banquet organised in honour of the CJN, he made it clear in his brief remarks that he (CJN) wasn’t in Port Harcourt for the State Banquet but simply to commission the two major Judiciary projects as a mark of honour for the Judiciary and Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili, CFR, JSC Rtd and go back to Abuja thereafter.
“Similarly, he said he was surprised to see the G-5 Governors (Integrity Group Governors ) which, incidentally, his own State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde is a member at the occasion.
“Anything said, assumed, presumed or reported outside this, is simply a mere figment of the imagination of such authors and don’t in anyway represent what the CJN said in Port Harcourt, as no one is ready to join issues with such purveyors of misinformation