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Why must we rubbish all our institutions because of our tendencies?



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By Dr. Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru

A statement by Dr. Ajibola Basiru, Senate spokesperson, is a reaction to a purpoted plea to the judiciary to save Nigeria’s democracy by the NLC and a Civil Society Organisation.

It is rather sad and disheartening, to say the least, that a body like the Nigerian Labour Congress that parades the finest crops of professionals which cut across the strata of the working population of the country will allow itself to be used as the body to denigrate, discredit, rubbish and threaten the Nigeria Judiciary. com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">

The coercive statement credited to a coalition of the NLC and Citizens’ Democratic Movement, a civil society organization pleading with the Judiciary to do justice to all election petitions brought before it is condemnable, coercive, tendentious and ill motivated.

Sounding sanctimonious, the NLC and the Civil Society organisation condemned the same judiciary from which they are looking forward to dispense justice to all the election cases that will be brought before them. One will wonder why you expect justice from an institution you have so brazenly condemned.

We must not rush to forget that the judiciary is the finest and most robust institution that has developed over time since independence without interruption by the military. It is noted for finding its feet even during the draconian days of military decrees. To dismiss this institution as it has been done is preposterous. It is an attempt to always bring down our institutions, and this is one taken too far.

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Urging the Judiciary (Judges) to do justice to all election petitions brought before it for adjudication with a caveat to “name and shame corrupt judges” and in fact create “a hall of shame for them” is an attempt by this coalition to set the unsuspecting populace against the Judiciary by feeding them with the preconceived notion that the Judiciary is compromised and thus creating a fertile ground for anarchy when Judgments from the Election Petition Tribunals do not favour their puppeteers.

This ploy of attempting to arm-twist the Judiciary has never worked, and it also will not work this time, too.

The question that readily comes to mind is who is or are the sponsors of this Coalition, and what do they intend to achieve by their unwarranted insinuations? It is a known fact that judges are disciplined by a specialized body known as the National Judicial Council. The threat by the Coalition to name and shame judges is curious and at the same time laughable because, apart from their obvious sentiments, one needs to ask the parameters they are going to employ to determine which judge is above board and which one is not.

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Their reckless labelling of our judges as corrupt without any shred of evidence to back their less than spurious claims are based on emotions and subterfuge and are calculated to blackmail the judges into towing the lines of their preferred outcome of cases before the Election Tribunals.

Even if one assumes without conceding the fact that they have evidence of infractions and underhand dealings against some judges, are there no laid down procedures for laying petitions against erring judges before the NJC? I think that the Senior Lawyers, who are part of the Coalition desecrating the Judiciary, should have been circumspect in allowing such unbridled tirades to be launched against the judiciary.

The Coalition might have been pardoned for its utter lack of understanding of how the judicial process works but for these Senior Lawyers among them who should have cautioned and lectured them on the very rudimentary fact that judges while adjudicating on matters before them, give all parties involved, the opportunity to state their cases before making pronouncements.

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This is why in the celebrated case of Garba vs. University of Maiduguri Oputa JSC stated that “God has given you (Judges) two ears. Hear both sides”. So, rather than engaging in open blackmail, let this Coalition take their cases before whichever Tribunals suit their fancy. They have failed in the ballot box, and they have failed to coerce the INEC. It is the judiciary they want to blackmail. This one has also failed.

The Coalition and their likes are advised to desist from their unwarranted vituperations and veiled blackmail of the Judiciary as they do not have the mandate, legal or otherwise, to police the judiciary lest they fall into the other side of the Law. Let our judiciary operate without let or hindrance. Let our judiciary be.

Dr. Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru is Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District.

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