The People’s Democratic Party on Monday cashed on Ahmed Tinubu’s criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to recall suspended Appeal Court president, Ayo Salami, to accuse the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Tinubu’s party, of pursuing a veiled agenda in the Salami saga.
Mr. Salami’s suspension has long been seen more as a political ego-clash between the ACN and the PDP, with the ruling party holding an unofficial position that the judge was the opposition party’s sympathizer.
In statement Sunday, former Lagos state governor derided the president’s continued refusal to recall the judge weeks after the National Judicial Council recommended a reinstatement, branding the delay a “coup”.
“Even under the years of brutal military dictatorship, laws were being obeyed and the judiciary was not hamstrung,” he said, responding to the federal Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke’s argument that the delay was informed by a subsisting litigation.
Mr. Salami’s suspension last August was equally approved by the president while a protest had been filed in court against the decision. The contradiction has helped fuel public distrust about Mr. Jonathan’s motive for halting the recall.
“An elected President who himself has been a beneficiary of the protection of the legal protection under the doctrine of necessity that paved his way to the presidency, now leads a power cabal that is disrobing Nigerians of their rights and denying them justice,” Mr. Tinubu had said.
In a response on Monday, the PDP said the ACN position asking for a reinstatement had eventually unveiled the opposition party’s true interest in the episode.
“The desperation of the Action Congress of Nigeria which peaked today with an unreflecting statement from its leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu amounts to a frontal attack on both the President and our great Party and is further confirmation that ACN has a different agenda in the Justice Salami saga than its touted role as an evangelist of the rule of law,” spokesperson Olisa Metuh said in a statement.
The governing PDP insisted in its statement that the Salami matter was purely legal and denied the matter had been politicized by the president.
The party said Mr. Tinubu’s call smacked of effort at self-relevance and provided “a graphic effigy of a hypocrite in a desperate agenda to re-shape facts.”
“This level of desperation raises a gigantic question mark on the sincerity of the ACN and the integrity of its leadership especially in the background of insinuations that four states were delivered to the Party via judgments that were ‘more political than legal’ to use Tinubu’s very words. We therefore insist that it is high time Tinubu told Nigerians his political relationship with Justice Salami that has driven him and his party to cry more than the bereaved.”
“When Tinubu harps on the rule of law, one is quick to ask why he was slumbering away while the Lagos ACN government state threw the law to the dogs in disengaging the striking Lagos doctors; an issue that is threatening to boil over to other states. Is Tinubu playing Nero?”