It has come to my knowledge that over 150 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) are preparing to defend the Learned Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Walter Ononghen CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal Tribunal on Monday, and I seriously think that enormous resourceful contribution would amount to making a mountain out of a mole hill.
The Nigerian Bar Association should simply send a delegation of 2 very junior Lawyers (green wigs) to act as little David for the downfall of the Goliath Attorney General for a sound lesson to the Attorney General of the Federation, that the rule of Law goes beyond political chicanery.
I think the entire gamut of legal gymnastics from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice would be shot down by a fragment of Preliminary Objection well canvassed.
Firstly, the Proof of Evidence if unavailable should be sought for and obtained on the authorities of Okoye & Ors v. COP & Ors (2015) 24 LRCN 1 @ 150 Ratio 2-18; Lufedajo v Johnson & Ors (2007) 147 LRCN 1060; & Abacha v The State (2002) FWLR (118) 1224 SC.
Thereafter, the smart Lawyers should look the CCT straight in the eye and tell the Tribunal that it absolutely lacks the requisite jurisdiction to try the CJN due to the arrant abuse of due constitutional process by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice in bringing the charge without due process.
It is beyond doubt that “noncompliance with mandatory provisions of the Constitution has the inevitable consequences of rendering the proceedings a nullity. It is a fundamental defect that is not a mere irregularity, but a gargantuan illegality. See the case of Galadima v State (2018) 276 LRCN 124.
The young Lawyers should stamp it on the breast of the Tribunal that by virtue of sections 318, 158(1) and Paragraph 21 (B) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, the CCT, lacks the requisite jurisdiction to try the CJN because the allegations against the CJN were never referred to the National Judicial Council, NJC, before the criminal charge was entered against him.
They should conclude their submission by reminding the Tribunal that it has the powers of emancipating any person from any oppressive charges including the oppressive charges against the CJN. The case of Tawakalitu v FRN (2011) 9 WNR 31 @ 57 Ratio 24 is clear on this point.
CASE CLOSE, because Preliminary Objections must be sustained.
I see no reason why 150 SANs should waste their time over simple charges the most junior Counsel in my office can move the Court to quash with a wink of the eye.
Let no one glorify the office of the Attorney General of the Federation with more response than they deserve in this case.
If the Attorney General of the Federation chooses to mess with the CJN, let us simply get juniors to pull down the dignity of the Attorney General’s office without much ado.
We can win this Case from the swimming pool.
Thanks for your time.
Written By: Michael Omo Egiethua.