Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari surrendered all pretence to the rule of law and constitutional democracy by sacking the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen. Unilaterally and in flagrant violation of the Constitution, he also swore in Tanko Muhammad as the new acting CJN. By this act, the President has precipitated needless confusion in the polity. A shocking action, it will aggravate tension ahead of the general election in February and March. This poses a great peril to our democracy.
Though the President defended his action by citing an order from the Code of Conduct Tribunal directing Onnoghen’s suspension, his action is akin to a coup – a judicial coup in this case. In a subtle way, the President has suspended in part an integral part of the judiciary by illegally intimidating its highest symbol and shamefully deposing him. This undemocratic and high-handed approach advertises Buhari as an anarchist in a civil garb.