The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, appeared to have delved into the political arena Thursday when he expressed joy that the Governor of his (Oyo) state, Seyi Makinde, had continued to support Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers in the coalition of five governors, now known as the Integrity Group.
The group of five include Governors Wike, Makinde of Oyo state, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state.
They have been at daggers drawn with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, accusing him of reneging on his alleged promise to ensure that if both the party’s standard bearer and National Chairman, now Iyorchia Ayu, emerged from the same region, the chairman would be forced to resign.
The quintet has refused to either endorse or support the campaigns of PDP’s Atiku, maintaining that for peace to return to the opposition party, Ayu must go.
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But aside backing Makinde’s membership of the group, Ariwoola, joked that Makinde was being held to ransom by Wike by threatening to withdraw his sister (Makinde’s wife), who he said is from the South-south state, from the Oyo governor.
“That is why we should not be scared to have these men of the integrity group and I am happy that my own governor is among because he would try to imitate his friend and in-law because we came here to marry for my governor.“So, Governor Wike will always threaten that he will call back his sister if my governor fails to play ball. That is why you see him following his Excellency (Wike) because my governor is afraid of his wife being recalled,” he joked.
He acknowledged the presence of the group of five governors at the gala night and judiciary project inauguration which held in Rivers, stressing that they had been similarly present when Makinde held a ‘lavish’ reception to celebrate his appointment as CJN some months ago.He added that whether people like Wike or not, he was leaving a legacy for generations unborn, stressing that his record will be hard to beat by any other public official.
The CJN explained that Wike had said it on several occasions that he will continue to inaugurate projects until his last day in office, assuring that the governor was an example that humans can always do better if they set their hearts to do it.While lauding Wike profusely, he maintained that nobody, whether as an individual or as a group has supported the judiciary the way Wike had done since he became governor.
“I was telling somebody that his Excellency started far back as a local council chairman and the lordship saw in him his son that is worth raising. I have no doubt that the sky is still the limit for your excellency.
“The whole world has seen what you are doing and what you can do and we want this replicated,” he told Wike.While thanking his supreme court contemporaries as well as past members for their presence , he stated that it was heart-warming that after being honoured outside the state, Justice Mary Odili was being honoured by her own people.
He expressed satisfaction with the governor’s performance in office, pointing out that Wike needed to be emulated by his colleagues.