The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati on Thursday expressed the Presidency’s views as regards the ongoing controversy surrounding the sack of Justice Salami and the installation of a new judge to preside over the affairs of the Appeal Court. Since Salami’s sack was approved by the President, several groups and notable persons have reacted, protests had been staged in Lagos criticizing Salami’s sack. Many claim that the action by the President was rash and unconstitutional.
The Presidency however is of the opinion that Jonathan acted within the confines of the constitution and that failure to have reacted swiftly would have left a vacuum in the seat of the Justice of the Appeal court and would have attracted criticism.
Reuben Abati said “The President is not a party in this conflict as has been described and it will be most unfair to use him as a scapegoat and the surprising thing is that the people who are struggling very hard to drag him into it are not looking at specific recommendations in the constitution.
“I have seen that in reacting to this (issue) people have been making all kinds of allegations, all kinds of judicial pronouncements and everybody in Nigeria has suddenly become a judge and Mr. President is being turned into a scapegoat in a matter in which he is completely innocent.
“They are all making judicial pronouncements and dictating to the President what he should do within the confines of the law and I believe they do so strictly for their own partisan interest.” The presidential spokesman said Jonathan meant well and was only trying to prevent a vacuum in the Court of Appeal.
Abati said, “What the President has done is to prevent a vacum and the law provided for that, and the acting Justice of the Court of Appeal is there in an acting capacity until all the issues involved in this matter have been resolved.
“The President as leader of the country has the primary responsibility to ensure stability. “If he had not acted, he would have been criticised and now he acted and he is also being criticised.”