APC Governor Obaseki absent as South-South governors meet over CJN Onnoghen’s trial

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Governor Godwin Obaseki was absent at the meeting of South-South governors in Abuja on Sunday.

The governors are discussing the fallout of the scheduled trial of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The meeting, which began at 4:00 p.m. and still underway as of 5:49 p.m., is chaired by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.

Governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Ben Ayade of Cross River and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State are amongst those present. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta was absent but reportedly sent a representative, although this has not been independently confirmed by PREMIUM TIMES.

Of the six governors in the South-South, Mr Obaseki is the only one belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC), which controls Nigeria’s political centre.

The remaining five governors belong to the Peoples Democratic Party (APC), Nigeria’s main opposition party.

A spokesperson for Mr Obaseki told PREMIUM TIMES the governor was attending a meeting in Lagos.

“The governors are having an emergency meeting in Abuja, but Governor Obaseki is in Lagos attending to official engagement he had preciously scheduled,” spokesperson Crusoe Osagie said. He said the governor did not shun the meeting because he is associated with the APC which is prosecuting the chief justice.

Despite the outrage that greeted the planned prosecution, the APC has formally backed the move, saying in a Sunday afternoon statement the Buhari administration’s fight against corruption would not tolerate sacred cows.

Mr Onnoghen, from Cross River, has been accused of improper declaration of assets, with the Nigerian government filing six charges that it said violated the code of conduct law for public officers.

The chief judge strongly denied all allegations against him. He is expected to be arraigned on January 14 in Abuja.

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