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 government to present evidence to support its claims of asset malfeasance in the Onnoghen trial.
When it launched its fevered campaign against the Chief Justice before the Onnoghen trial in the month before #NigeriaDecides2019, the government claimed through its hired hands that he had money running into Billions in multiple bank accounts and 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 and 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 government’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 domiciliary accounts. A government 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 and judicial public service, is much poorer than Yusuf Buhari who has just been “awarded” his NYSC discharge certificate.
If the Onnoghen trial showed that the Chief Justice had anything like the assets the government originally claimed, he’d surely have had a case to answer.
Now it’s clear that was all made up; the government has a burden to investigate and explain how it chose to mislead Nigerians and the world.
In the end, it’s difficult for the Buhari government to escape the perception that it conspired to orchestrate Onnoghen trial because of personal animus towards the man related to his origins and to factors that had nothing to do with his performance on his job.
Government should not do that!
The damage done by the Buhari administration in the manner that it procured the Onnoghen trial will take more than a generation to address.
This is more than about one man and his fate. If a government can conspire to pervert institutions as it has done in this case, no one is safe!
Prof. Chidi Odinkalu
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