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A take on the ONNOGHEN Fiasco by Prof Chidi Odinkalu. Where is integrity?

Despite manifest incongruities in the official story-line concerning Buhari’s decision to remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria in Jan 2019, I was willing to suspend my disbelief & wait for govt to present evidence to support its claims of asset malfeasance in the OnnoghenTrial

When it launched its fevered campaign against the Chief Justice before the #OnnoghenTrial in the month before #NigeriaDecides2019, the govt claimed thro its hired hands that he had money running into Billions in multiple bank accounts & over 55 houses
Hired amplifiers were procured to skewer a man who could not defend himself. In the media, he was a thief, a rogue & much worse. Digital lynch mobs, many of them amplifier bots with transparent ends to serve created a mood music with a life of its own

Given the opportunity to back up its claims, the govt’s case at the #OnnoghenTrial has turned out to be a despicable, venal fantasy. There were no billions, no 55 houses, no fantasy FOREX in make-believe domicillary accounts. A govt decided to make up lies against an innocent man

By way of a useful comparison based evidence from the #OnnoghenTrial, Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, who has spent a lifetime in private legal practice & judicial public service, is much poorer than Yusuf Buhari who has just been “awarded” his #NYSC discharge certificate.

If the #OnnoghenTrial showed that the Chief Justice had anything like the assets the govt originally claimed, he’d surely have had a case to answer. Now it’s clear that was all made up, the govt has a burden to investigate & explain how it chose to mislead #Nigerians & the world
In the end, it’s difficult for the Buhari govt to escape the perception that it conspired to orchestrate #OnnoghenTrial because of personal animus towards the man related to his origins & to factors that had nothing to do with his performance on his job. Govts shd not do that.
The damage done by the buhari administration in the manner that it procured the #OnnoghenTrial will take more than a generation to address. This is more than about 1 man & his fate. If a govt can conspire to pervert institutions as it has done in this case, no one is safe!

*Professor Chidi Odinkalu*


Development and policy analyst with a strong interest in the arts and inclusive social change. Dabbles occasionally into poetry and literary criticism!

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