Oni's aide slams Falana over call for Salami's reinstatement

By Lere Olayinka

The Media Aide to Chief Segun Oni, former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Lere Olayinka has described call by Lagos lawyer and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) supporter, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) for the reinstatement of the suspended Court of Appeal President, Justice Isa Ayo Salami as "hypocrisy taken to the most ridiculous level."

Olayinka, who reacted to the call in a statement issued today said; "It pains ones mind that people like Oga Femi Falana, who should be concerned with the sanitisation of the judiciary choose to keep sealed lips over the grievous allegations made by retired Justice Okechukwu Okeke against Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, a Supreme Court judge, but can be making noise about the reinstatement of Justice Salami, despite the pendency of several court cases on his reinstatement."

Falana had said yesterday after the Supreme Court judgment striking out Oni's case against Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State that; “Once again, the position of the Court of Appeal, with respect to the finding of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, has again been confirmed by the court today. With this, and the fact that Justice Salami has been investigated and exonerated by those who are empowered by law to do that, there is no basis for keeping him out of office."

However, reacting to the call, Olayinka said it was a known fact that there are two recommendations of the National Judicial Council (NJC) before President Goodluck Jonathan and the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher alluded to this fact.

"There is a recommendation of the NJC for Justice Salami's retirement and another one for his reinstatement. The president could not retire Justice Salami in accordance with the NJC recommendation of August 18, 2011 because of the pendency of the suit he (Salami) filed. The other NJC recommendation of May 10, 2012 reinstating him was also declined by the president because of the same reason he did not act on the one asking for his (Salami) retirement," Olayinka said.

Speaking further, Olayinka asked; "Is Justice Salami and other parties no longer in Court in respect of his suspension? Why not allow the court to adjudicate on the suit he (Salami) and other people filed?

"And if one may ask, was Justice Salami exonerated of his alleged unethical relationship with the ACN leader, Senator Bola Tinubu by the Supreme Court or the court merely ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to try the case?

"Was yesterday's case determined on its merit? It is like someone was accused of stealing another person's car at 12 midnight and he was taken to court. His lawyers raised objection that the constitution says; anyone who steals by 12 midnight cannot be tried, and the case was struck out. Does that remove the fact that he is a thief?

"This call by Oga Femi Falana is sheer hypocrisy and it is hypocrisy taken to the most ridiculous level.

"Or has he (Falana) not heard of the allegation made by Justice Okechukwu Okeke that Justice Clara Ogunbiyi tried to influence his (Okeke) judgment on Cecilia Ibru's seized properties. Has he (Falana) said anything since that grievous allegation was made?"