The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has distanced himself from the statement credited to him on the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde’s membership of the G5 in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The G5 is an acronym used for the five aggrieved governors in the PDP pushing for the resignation of the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
Apart from Makinde, other governors in the group are Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
Ariwoola had on Thursday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, reportedly expressed happiness over Makinde’s involvement in the activities of the group.
The PDP on Saturday warned Ariwoola to steer clear of partisan politics, and focus on dispensing justice to Nigerians.
However, in a statement issued by the Director of Press and Information in the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande, the CJN said the media misinformed the public on the matter.
He added that his statement was misconstrued by the media.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a publication with the above caption making the rounds in both conventional and social media. We wish to state unequivocally clear that the CJN, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON had never at any point said such during his brief remarks at the State Banquet organized as part of the events lined up for the commissioning of the two Judiciary projects undertaken by the Rivers State government.
“Issues bordering on misconceptions and misrepresentations of this nature are not always strange in times like this when the country is preparing for general elections, as some people may want to take advantage of every opportunity to score very cheap goals.
“As we all know, this is the era of aggressive and even unconventional politicking, so, there’s nothing that will not be heard or seen at this crucial time, especially between now and February 2023, when the general elections will be conducted.
“People say whatever they choose to say, just to please their selfish interests and inordinate desires. We can’t really pinpoint where such barefaced falsehood is coming from; and certainly, we don’t also know at what point the CJN said he was happy that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State was a member of the now christened ‘Integrity Group’ or “G5 Governors.’
“Everyone knows that the CJN, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, is a judicial officer and not a politician, as such, would never directly or remotely make such comments or innuendoes.
“We wish to set the record straight by making it clear that the CJN and other senior Judicial Officers drawn from different parts of the country were in Port Harcourt on Thursday and Friday, November 24 and 25, 2022 to commission the two buildings to accommodate the Federal Judicial Service Commission’s South-South Liaison Office and the Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili Judicial Institute, which was conceptualized and constructed by the Rivers State government.
“Even at the State Banquet organized as part of the events, the CJN made it clear in his brief remarks, that he (CJN) was not in Port Harcourt for the State Banquet but simply to commission the two projects as a mark of honor for the Judiciary and Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili, CFR, JSC, retd and later go back to Abuja thereafter.
“Similarly, he said he was very surprised to see the ‘G5 Governors’ (Integrity Group Governors), just as he equally expressed the same surprise when he saw them in Ibadan, Oyo State, during the reception organized in his honor by his state government in October 2022.”
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