Buhari’s ally, Momoh speaks on CCT judgment on Onnoghen, 9th NASS leadership
A former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, has weighed in on the recent pronouncement the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
In a statement he signed on Friday, the close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, said that the argument of some lawyers that Onnoghen shouldn’t have been taken to CCT was not tenable, arguing that such lawyers didn’t know what they were talking about.
I don’t believe that it is a case of witch-hunt. I advised him (Onnoghen) to resign when the case started.
That would have saved him from the embarrassment,” he said. Momoh said that the CCT and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, established by Part One of the fifth schedule of the constitution, had the powers to deal with sitting presidents and governors.
“Part two deals with those who are subjected to its jurisdiction, which is the President, Vice-President, CJN, down to councillors.
The CCT is a disciplinary body.
“Onnoghen is a public servant before he became the CJN. His case was directed to the Code of Conduct Bureau, which transferred it to CCT,” he said.
Also speaking on permutations about the composition of the leadership position for the 9th National Assembly, Momoh said that the reliance of the APC on party supremacy to impose its candidates would not work.
He said that claims of party supremacy could only be effective in a parliamentary not presidential system of government because the political party with the majority would always form the government in the former.
Momoh recalled that since 1999, efforts by political parties to impose their candidates on the nation’s parliament had always been resisted by federal lawmakers.
He added that the National Assembly had its own personality that it always protected in spite of political party differences, adding that the party’s choice could only succeed if there was cooperation and not by imposition.
“In 1999, Evans Enwerem was not the choice of the senators. They wanted Chuba Okadigbo. So, Enwerem did not last when he emerged. Also in 2015, the party wanted Femi Gbajabiamila but Yakubu Dogara got it.
“Since 1999, there have always been problems between the legislators and the party’s candidates.
The legislators come together to pursue common interests and party supremacy is obviously not one of them.
In the parliamentary system, the party with the majority will dominate leadership positions in the parliament. The prime minister is also a member of the parliament.”
The former minister also stressed the need for restructuring of Nigeria as a way of ensuring good governance in the country, arguing that Nigeria was too top heavy in administering governance.
Momoh said that the country needed to decongest the political space, noting that the National Assembly makes law in 93 areas comprising the exclusive and concurrence lists.