ONNOGHEN’S: Obono-Obla is a disoriented advocate, Senior Advocate of Nigeria frowns

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Efio-Ita Nyok|10 February 2017 Mr Kenneth Ikonne a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has taken an acerbic swipe at Chief Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla the Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution over the latter's remarks bordering on the confirmation of Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) NegroidHaven can report. Ikonne made this position known on Wednesday 8th February in reaction to one Simon Utsu's thread that frowned at an undisclosed revered Cross Riverian who was warming up to speak on television against 'his brother' being permanently appointed as Chief Justice of Nigeria. According to the respected legal luminary 'Okon-Obla(sic) is a deranged charlatan. A heckling and and utterly disoriented advocate, his legal practice was a shambles, and his life an utter wreck until he ventured into APC politics where he has emerged as a frontline attack dog! He is a close associate of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs whose incoherent counsel he was at the Cross River State Governorship Election Tribunal in 2011 where I met him'. According to Mr Ifere Paul the media aide to Obono-Obla the process of appointment of a CJN constitutionally speaking is pegged on Section 231(3)of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Amended which says a candidate must have spent 15 years practicing as a lawyer: 'What is the qualification to be appointed Chief Justice of Nigeria ? Section 231 subsection 3 of the 1999 Constitution says you must be a Legal Practitioner who must have practice Law in Nigeria for not less than 15 years. It does not say you just a Justice of the Supreme Court or the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to be eligible to be appointed Chief Justice of Nigeria. 'Is there any precedent? Yes. In 1973 Justice Olawale Taslim Elias was appointed out of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He had  been Attorney General of the Federation, 1959-1966. He was Dean of the Faculty of Law of University of Lagos. He was also Attorney General of the Federation from 1968-1973.  In 1975 a private Legal Practitioner and then Attorney General of the Add to dictionary. Augustine Nnamani was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court outside the judiciary. Also in 1975, the then Chief Justice of the defunct South Eastern State was appointed Chief Justice of Nigeria outside the Supreme Court. However in 1979 the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court late Justice Udo Udoma was not appointed but his Junior late Justice Fatai Atanda Williams was appointed. Who is vested with the power of Appointment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria? Undoubtedly it is the President by virtue of Section 231 subsection 1 of the Constitution. 'However the appointment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is based on recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to the confirmation of the Senate.  The President has absolute discretion on the matter. He has the discretion to reject or accept the recommendation of the National Judicial Council. Recently in the United States of America the then President went outside the Supreme Court of the United States of America to appoint Chief Justice Robert. We must discard the tradition since 1975 of only appointing Judges  to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Nigeria. The practice has been counter productive. This is personal opinion as Okoi Obono-Obla.' he concluded. The original thread by Utsu that sparked
Ikonne's rebuttal reads thus: 'The master of all betrayals is when a revered Cross River son is warming up to go speak against the permanent appointment of his brother as Chief Justice of Nigeria on TV on a Wednesday morning two days before his tenure in an acting capacity expires. Simple wisdom entails that even if you're working for this government, whenever their interests don't align with yours, instead of sticking out your neck to blindly defend them, you should simply pretend you're not even aware whilst you boil inside or if bold enough, covertly work against the interests of your pay masters. 'It's only people who aren't bold enough and are self serving that will do otherwise. But I thank God for that thing called posterity, I'm absolutely sure that Karma's portion(s) that'll be served such people is currently stewing in divine broth, awaiting to be dished out by our friend Mr posterity', it concludes. Other prominent Cross Riverians have bore their opinion on Onnoghen's confirmation. What follows are excerpts: Princewill Odidi :
'Whatever argument the federal government has at the moment against the appointment of Justice Walter Onnoghen is irrelevant. With the public furor, the government should forward his name for confirmation. His appointment is not really taken as a CRS matter, rather it is viewed as a North South matter. Acting President Osinbajo should do the right thing. Nigerians of all walks of life are together on this. Our democracy is young, let's preserve it against the perceived monster called religion and ethnicity. Even if his judicial robes look like the boy below, if by legal tradition it is his turn to be class rep, let's work with him. Onnoghen may not be as innocent as we want him to be, but Jesus rightly said, who amongst you is innocent should throw the first stone. God bless Nigeria. Missang Oyama :
Hon (Justice) Samuel Walter Nkanu Onnoghen (JSC) and The Twisted Tongue of Activism. I've just read some very weird and empty arguments on why Onnoghen may not have been cleared as a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria. It was this same APC government that told the world during the raid on judges by the DSS that Justice Onnoghen was not one of their targets. He was given a clean bill of health and it was said that they had nothing incriminating against him. Today, the narrative has changed. It has suddenly become an issue of someone standing by Onnoghen otherwise the DSS would have raided his house. The same DSS that never had anything against him at the time they went on their sting operations on top Nigerian judicial officers. How abysmally LOW can we get in our mental capacity? Has this not given credence to my position that what we have at the moment is a government of discordant tones? Have cerebral activists of yesteryear become cheap men with self aggrandizement and a morbid  disposition to talk from both sides of their mouth? The world is watching, Nigerians are watching and the masses of our own are watching with bated breath. Remember that in the journey of life, our testimonials are written by our actions. Our daily actions are written epistles for all men to read. Joseph Odok :
If Onoghen was from any other region outside Cross River State, all voices would have been one in lobbying for his confirmation. Some Cross River State citizenry are sell outs, they speak only when their mouth have been watered It is the worst form of betrayal for a Cross River State citizen to be seen championing the call for non confirmation of Justice Onoghen as Chief Justice of the Federation After speaking because we are bought, we will all come home one day. Then it will be pay back time, our pay back is our votes Edet Iyamba General :
ThisDay,Punch newspappers and other numerous social media blogs reported that the Ag. President has sent the name of Ag. CJN,JS. Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation.
Minutes later,One barr. Okoi Obono-Iblia,SA to President on Prosecution appreared on ChannelsTv saying that is reports are unfouded and false. You see this APC govrt?
Its a revered Office like that of the CJN is what they are using to catch trips o. playing him like upandan like football.
Isok let them kontinu.. Eugene Upah :
Chief Obono-Obla’s Appointment: One Step Forward and Two Steps Backwards for Cross River. '… So far, President Muhamadu Buhari has blessed my dear state, Cross River, with sublime appointments since his assumption of office two years ago more than I could ever have imagined that a Northern President would have cared for a state that is nowhere near his zone. But does this mean that Cross Riverians should reject more appointments if offered to be given? The answer is no. 'I saw on Channels TV this morning how Chief Okoi Obono-Obla (SAN), elaborated the process of appointing a Chief Justice, and to me, he is indirectly standing against the confirmation of his own kinsman, Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen as Chief justice of the federation even though the same man was recommended by the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) to the President last year. I am not a Lawyer, but I know there is a section of the constitution which recommends that the oldest person in the bar be recommended for the position of Chief Justice upon retirement or death of a Chief Justice. I have no reason to believe that Chief Obono Obla understands the ethics and morals of the Nigerian legal profession more than the NJC which made consideration(s) before forwarding the name of Chief Walter Onnoghen to the President. 'In other states of the federation, political appointments like that given to Chief Obla are used to lobby and influence other appointments for their kinsmen. Why should ours be different all the time? What does it pay him to cast aspersions against someone he, in his capacity as Special Adviser to the President should ensure the process is facilitated rather than being a bottleneck? This is one of the reasons we are backward in the South; Sabi sabi. Who send am that kind work? Realistically, there is no visible reason why Justice Onnoghen should not be confirmed CJN. Age wise, contribution to the Nigerian legal system, personal achievements as a Lawyer, integrity etc., how then do we approach the government to know why (in the event that he is not confirmed) he is not appointed if as a people we stand divided because of our own selfish interest? 'Just before anyone thinks I am simply being hypocritical, recall how Chief Obono-Obla reacted last year when the process of confirming him as Non-Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission by the senate was delayed. He accused almost all Cross River elites in the federal cadre of working against his confirmation. The truth must be told. Things must work well for Cross River State. Justice Walter Onnoghen’s name must be sent and confirmed. The heavens will not fall'. However, in a reply to the critical bent of Cross Riverians over his role in the Onnoghen saga, Obla through a Messenger chat with our correspondent has argued that he has never suggested that Justice Onnoghen should not be appointed but in defense of his principal has refused to be ethnic, sectional or myopic in his perspective. He insist that his position is nationalistic. Hear him out: 'Rubbish. Poppy cock. It is only the petty and small minded people who will say such. They ought to know that I am broadminded, outspoken and nationalistic. I don't see Nigeria from the prism of ethnicity, religion or sectional. I see Nigeria from a Pan Nigeria perspective. The position of Chief Justice of Nigeria cannot be seen from such a narrow minded and myopic perspective. This is the same thing they did during the last presidential election. They abused, insulted and ridiculed those of us who supported Candidate Buhari. Today the same people have forgotten. They shamelessly want Buhari to patronise them. I have a fundamental duty to defend my principal in the face of barrage of personal attacks launched and unleashed by busybodies on the matter.  I hold no apology to anybody.  'I never suggested that Justice Onnoghen should not be appointed. I only pleaded for patience and also stated that the President has nothing against him. I also stated that President Buhari has appointed many people from Cross River State into numerous positions of strategic importance and so those of them who were accusing the President of pandering to ethnic and regional interest were wrong. Our people are too much immersed into ethnic religious sentiments. It is lack of exposure. I prayer they get out of it and begin to see Nigeria as a nationalistic perspective. 'Anybody who think I cannot defend my principal – The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the issue of the appointment of the CJN is hugely  mistaken. My loyalty is to the Federal Republic of Nigeria not to other primordial considerations such as my ethnicity, sectionalism etc. I shall continue to also speak frankly, truthfully, courageously, patriotically and candidly without minding whose ox is gored. The most important thing is that President Buhari has ultimately appointed Justice Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria and now urge all those who were abusing and insulting him to apologise to him. Do they honestly expect me not to defend the PRESIDENT? Our people are terribly backward in their mindset. It is not good. Our people should read and try to study Nigeria and build bridges across the country and the world. This is the age of globalisation', he concluded. Efio-Ita Nyok
Is a Blogger, the Editor & Publisher of NegroidHaven.org