The Supreme Court of Nigeria has debunked reports credited to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, during the inauguration of a project built by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Earlier in the week, the CJN was reported to have commended the governor of Oyo state, Seyi Makinde for being among the five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party loyal to Wike.
However, the Director of Press and Information in the Supreme Court, Dr Festus Akande, in a statement issued, on Saturday, in Abuja titled, “RE-CJN: I’m happy Makinde is among G5 Governors,” said the comment by the CJN was twisted and misrepresented by the media.
The statement reads, “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 organised 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, that were conceptualised and constructed by the Rivers State government.
“Even at the State Banquet organised 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 honour 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 “G-5 Governors” (“Integrity Group Governors”), just as he equally expressed the same surprise when he saw them in Ibadan, Oyo State, during the reception organised in his honour by his state government in October 2022.
“His surprise particularly stemmed from the fact that he saw his own State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde (who incidentally is a member of the “G-5 Governors”) at the Port Harcourt occasion.
“He equally stated jocularly that being that Engr Makinde married from Rivers State and is equally very close to Nyesome Wike, he would be able to replicate the developmental strides of the latter in Oyo State for the good of the citizenry.
“This, of course, is a comment that, ordinarily, ought to elicit applause and not myopic misrepresentations, as governance is all about positive comparisons and healthy competition.
“Anyone or group of individuals making these unconscionable assumptions and pervading the misinformation are by implication, creating the impression that it is now a crime for the CJN to have come from Oyo state, which coincidentally, has a member of the group, Seyi Makinde, as the governor.
“Let it be noted that anything said, assumed, presumed, reported or placed in the public domain outside the above facts, is simply a mere figment of the imagination of such authors and doesn’t in any way represent what the CJN said in Port Harcourt, as we are not ready to join issues with such purveyors of misinformation.”