Dear Prof Sagay
It is with the heaviness of heart that I write this in the middle of the night as I reflect on your total transformation to the “Next Level” of genuflecting sycophancy, which has been the pathetic story of ex-radicals that the Nigerian establishment draws now and then.
It has always been a tragic outing for most of them as they do overtime to go on overdrive as if to convince the owners of the game that they were making restitution for their years of being darlings of the people, standing for what is right and just.
What makes your situation more tragic than most of them is that you had made no pretenses of any sort from the day you were appointed the chairman of an inconsequential and irrelevant anti-corruption committee.
I didn’t just describe your committee in such words. I recall meeting a member of your committee at a conference about two years ago and he told me of his experience as he went to the office of a principal official of this government to ask for some facilities for your committee. The words of the officers shocked him to the marrow: “You these Buhari people should stop disturbing us here. Who told you we are here to fight corruption?”
Could it be that you realised early enough that the whole anti-corruption war was a bogey and your committee a smokescreen and quickly did a “pass me not by, master?” I have just been wondering what you would have become if you were in the bedroom of power as Attorney-General and not at the edge of the balcony that you are in presently.
You have turned yourself into a Wada Nas for this administration, with reckless emissions that even Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu would be careful uttering. You dabble into issues that do not concern you with odious positions that annoy reason and public interest.
It’s a tragedy of monumental proportion that a man of your rich past and intellectual fecundity would, at the twilight, be committing errors you don’t have to correct again.
You were admitted to the University of Ife in 1962 where you established the youth wing of the Action Group (AG) and graduated in flying colours in 1965. After further studies abroad, you came back to Ife in 1970 as a teacher and became a professor within nine years. You became Dean of Law in Ife before moving to the University of Benin where you ran into trouble for your defense of noble causes with Professor Grace Alele-Williams.
You have achieved the best at all your endeavours in life. You went to teach and became a professor. You went into law practice and became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). I remember visiting you at home in 2011 and I found you in comfort. I then wonder what would make you demolish the monument you built in the name Sagay in your departing years?
Your latest outing in your embarrassment series since you got recruited is your take on your master’s illegal removal of the CJN, Mr Walter Onnoghen, shortly after the Court of Appeal ordered the Code of Conduct Tribunal to stop his trial and 24 hours to the inauguration of election petitions tribunals. For a man this country would look forward to state the law as it is in such moment of constitutional crisis in years past to resort to intellectual perfidy should compel all those who studied Law under you to have a night of wailing for a fallen teacher.
“It is constitutional. If you look at Section 292 of the constitution, paragraph one clearly makes provision for that where the Chief Justice is guilty of a code of conduct.
“The provision is very clear. It states that where the Chief Justice is guilty of a breach of the code of conduct, he can be removed by an address of two-thirds majority of the Senate. It is quite clear that the Senate itself cannot initiate that address; there is only one person who can do that and that is the President.”
Professor Itsejuwa Esanjumi Sagay, this how you now read the constitution? Section 292 of the 1999 constitution is very clear on the removal of CJN:
“(a) in the case of –
(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the president, acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.”
In doing “Napoleon is right,” you now say your principal is the only person who can combine the powers of Senate with his own conditioned on the former’s to remove the CJN. Will you stand on this your non-sequitur if the Senate President were to draw from your strange and pernicious doctrine to act on his own part of Section 144 to set up a medical board on the health of Mr President? This is what Professor Yadudu and co framed in the spirit of separation of powers:
- (1) The President or Vice-President shall cease to hold office, if –
(a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of the executive council of the federation it is declared that the President or Vice President is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and
(b) the declaration is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(2) Where the medical panel certifies in the report that in its opinion the President or Vice President is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation.
(3) The President or Vice President shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.
(4) the medical panel to which this section relates shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and shall comprise five medical practitioners in Nigeria:-
(a) one of whom shall be the personal physician of the holder of the office concerned; and
(b) four other medical practitioners who have, in the opinion of the President of the Senate, attained a high degree of eminence in the field of medicine, relative to the nature of the examination to be conducted in accordance with the foregoing provisions.
(5) In this section, the reference to “executive council of the Federation” is a reference to the body of Ministers of the Government of the Federation, howsoever called, established by the president and charged with such responsibilities for the functions of government as the president may direct.”
Would you say that since the ministers as appointees of Mr President would not act on his health, the only person who can do it is the Senate President?
The Ijaw Youth Council should be having some belly-laugh at you now as their take on you in 2015 now ring truer today when you supported the UK extradition request on the late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha.
Nigerian journalist and author, Professor Wale Adebanwi, in a book on Nuhu Ribadu, entitled: “A Paradise for Maggots,” captured your words when Alamieyeseigha as your client escaped from London.
You said: “It has nothing to do with the image of Nigeria. It is more the image of the British which has been partial and less objective.”
Curiously, weeks after you were named the chairman of the presidential advisory committee on corruption, you stated that the late Alamieyeseigha deserves to be extradited to London based on the demand of the British government. This was even after the late governor was granted a presidential pardon in 2013 by former president Goodluck Jonathan, a pardon which you defended then.
The IYC had noted of your person: “It amounts to professional misconduct for Sagay, who was one of Alamieyeseigha’s lawyers during his arrest and subsequent trial in Nigeria, to now be acting as adviser to the Federal Government on same matter.
“Nigerians would recall that Professor Sagay fell out with his old time friend and benefactor, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, because of the arrest of Alamieyesegha in London.
“Also, when Chief James Ibori was sentenced in London, he condemned the sentence for being excessive.
“Now the same Professor Sagay is singing a new song. We make bold to state that Professor Sagay’s conduct is not only unprofessional but he also lacks consistency and integrity. “Professor Sagay is nothing but a man who speaks from any side of his mouth and no useful advice can come from a committee headed by such an inconsistent character.”
I am listening to Queen’s “Another one bites the dust.”