The Peoples’ Democratic Party has raised concerns over comments credited to Nigerian Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, where he is said to have dabbled in PDP internal affairs.
The PDP said that while it had the highest respect for the institution of the judiciary and judicial officials, it rejected any action or statement by any judicial official, let alone the CJN, that impeded the integrity of the judiciary.
In a statement from the party’s national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Saturday, the party said: “Delving into the internal affairs of the PDP at a public event in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday, November 24, 2022, where he was reported to have made reference to the political activities of some PPD governors, a comment that is considered to foster division in our party, the PDP postulates that the CJN’s action is unacceptable and inconsistent with his status as head of the government’s judicial arm .
“Our party is concerned that such a partisan comment by the CJN violates his oath as head of the country’s judicial arm, which is expected to be impartial and non-partisan.
“Regardless of the circumstance or situation, the CJN is expected to be prudent at all times and avoid partisan actions and statements that could erode the institutional integrity of the judiciary and bring it into disrepute, especially as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections. ”
Ologunagba stressed that in a Federal Republic like Nigeria, with a constitutional separation of powers, the judiciary has the responsibility to interpret the laws and as such should be neutral at all times and strive to interpret and review the laws. in the context of the case and dispute of the parties before it.
The spokesman added that Nigerians hope that the CJN, with its experience, will be in a position to advise, rebuke and punish members of the judiciary who become entangled in the political arena.
He noted: “The fact that the CJN itself is the one reportedly violating this critical ethic of neutrality, fairness, and respect for the oath of office of judicial officials raises great concerns in our politics.
“The question is, how do Nigerians and especially the PDP trust that the CJN will be an impartial arbiter in any case or matter related to internal affairs of our party or those related to other political parties?
“It is instructive to point out that the test for a judge to abstain from a matter is the “probability of partiality” and it is expected that the CJN take this test into account in its public commitments.”