Prof. Ochonu’s take on the assault on the office of the CJN by the cabal.
The cabal never liked Justice Walter Onnoghen. That’s why Buhari dilly-dallied on his appointment until he left for treatment in London. VP Osinbajo had to defy the cabal to appoint him to the position of Chief Justice.
The cabal thinks Onnoghen is not amenable to their agenda. They have the police, the army, DSS, INEC, and other apparatuses of power. The judiciary and the legislature are the only institutions they’re yet to capture. Of these two, the judiciary is more consequential, especially in election-related matters.
The last straw for the cabal is the APC debacle in Rivers State, which has given Wike, their arch-enemy, a free ride to reelection.
They blame Justice Onnoghen for engineering the judgment denying the Rivers APC a chance to field candidates in the coming election. They also desire a CJN who will help uphold a rigged APC presidential victory.
AG Malami, acting on behalf of the cabal, found an asset declaration issue and the domiciliary account issue. They pressured the CCT chairman to write a report, which they submitted to Buhari to nail Onnoghen and force him out.
VP Osinbajo was opposed to the move, arguing that it’s too close to the election and would cause controversy and feed into the growing belief that the APC/Presidency wants to rig the election for Buhari by using organs of the state.
Accordingly, the VP tried to see the president to persuade him to prevail on the cabal to abandon the move but the cabal blocked him from seeing the president and instead hurried the submission of the report to Buhari, paving the way for them to launch their offensive.
The cabal may have overreached on this one because I’m not sure Onnoghen will willingly step down. Already, many SANs have offered him their service, seeing this move as part of the cabal’s broader assault on judicial independence in service of their agenda.
By the way, the next in the line of seniority is a Hausa man, so this will further Buhari’s reputation of nepotism. That is now the cabal’s dilemma, so they may bypass him or persuade him to resign and pave way for an amenable Southerner to take over as interim CJN.