The catechism seems sealed. Aso Rock is the Big Brother of Naija. However there is a game known as “Truth or Dare”. You play it, if you are absolutely clean or have got balls for consequences. Today’s Legislature and Judiciary, flash occasional grit, only at the pleasure of the Executive and such can’t altogether be altruistic, because cat will never allow rat near its fried fish.
Of the two withered arms of government, the case of the judiciary, should be more pathetic. Here is a system that is older than neo-Republics, has weathered interregna, power struggles, successions in government and all kinds of power shenanigans including Babangida’s two years of Maradonic diarchy, yet the weakest of the triumvirate. Judiciary is the Esau of the system. The executive is Jacob, the usurper. Political patronage is the porridge. The “birthright” deal wasn’t struck during this administration. The bragging right was last noticed, when clean men who also got balls and biceps, were around the judiciary, not necessarily as the head.
Wigged men and women who took their eyes away from NNPC, NDDC, CBN, Minting, FHA, Customs et al, contracts and deals.
They lived the “Honourable” prefix to their title. They shunned owambe where KWAM 1 would welcome them with, “baba lo nbo, adajo yo lokere, baba lo nbo o” and refused to mingle with unscrupulous politicians who are Wasiu Ayinde’s patrons. They offered no apologies for locking governors out of their homes. Maybe a story will suffice.
As governor, Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola had tried seeing Justice Aloma Mukhtar at her CJN residence years back.
The governor was trying to side-step Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo, the most senior for the CJ seat in favour of Olubunmi Oyewole, now of Appeal Court. Aloma’s NJC was firm in its No. Ogbeni wanted to play the usual politics of emotional blackmail. He chose a former CJN who signed on Aloma’s promotion to the Supreme Court as the first female justice of the court. But Dear Mama won’t see them. Rule is rule. When I said here is out-of-bound to politicians and dogs, I meant it. She turned the two powerful men back at her gate. Today, there is a reversal of such unholy pilgrimage. Governors don’t even bother coming around again. NJC now raises peace panels to Lokoja, Calabar et al, to beg their excellencies in their illegalities. Shame! May God give us real men.
Today, I remember Justice Olamide Folahanmi Oloyede (née Alaaka) the brave lady of Wig in Osun, forced out of service by Mohammed Mahmud’s NJC on 14th July, 2016 for confronting Aregbesola over ill-treatment of the judiciary and bad policies. Her kind should be succeeding Aloma, not today’s men who are perfect memes for affected nobility.
The systemic paralysis is riveting. The jejune Executive Order being toasted by MeLords is a crumb of the whole meal served the judiciary a la carte by various sub-sections of Sections 80, 81, 84 and 121 of the 1999 Constitution, which already granted financial autonomy to both federal and state judiciaries. Why is it difficult for the leadership of the NJC to point this out to Mr. President in an official memo, if Aso Rock is pretending not to notice the existence of the autonomy before the bolekaja Order 10? Is the judiciary so fearful of President Buhari that it can’t engage him in intellectual dissection of the law? What kind of constitutional interpretation is the judiciary, particularly the Bench, doing for others in the name of blind justice, when it can’t help self, get justice from the oppressive Executive?
Why can’t this physician heal itself first? Iru omo alaso wo lo nwo akisa (why is the son of a fabric dealer going about in rag)?. Something fundamental must be wrong with today’s operators having to always beg for crumbs of what they own and should control, when Uwais as CJN and NJC leader, was returning unspent judiciary allocation to the Federation Account at a time the system was trying not to be completely crooked, though his leadership wasn’t also devoid of scandals. In fact, Lawal Uwais, as CJN, went down in history as the first, to be openly accused of corruption by a lawyer appearing before him, during live Supreme Court session. That was Tuesday, July 19, 2005.
Despite the harassment by the apex court and the threat of prosecution by then AGF Bayo Ojo, SAN, Mr. Ephraim Duru, counsel to Globe Motors in suit against Honda Place over the sole dealership of Honda cars in Nigeria, never withdrew his allegation against Uwais and three justices of the court. What was Uwais defence? Report me to EFCC and ICPC!
If compelling the Executive to obey relevant provisions of the Constitution on financial autonomy for judiciary and legislature has become an arduous task for the so-called Temple of Justice, what about the “gift” a former Bar President, Olisa Agbakoba got for the Bench on 26th May, 2014, which should have long set the system free of Executive rascality and oppression, were men of balls and biceps leading it. In 2013, Agbakoba, of his own volition, went to court to seek the enforcement of the constitutional provisions now scaring men and women of Wig, and got judgement against NASS and Aso Rock almost a year later, compelling the duo, to stop interfering in matters of judiciary monies. Till date, that judgement has not been implemented. How much can a system hate itself!
Aside Aloma, CJNs in recent time, have been content living rent-free in Aso Rock BQ. The Tom and Jerry act worsened when Hurricane GMB tore everywhere down, including the roof of the house. Now, everyone is scared. Those with toned muscles now speak in mushed-up tone. But a life-line is being thrown the leadership of the judiciary, if it won’t be too scared, seizing the moment. Since, the fear primarily is about being disgraced with alleged corruption trial once a dissent is voiced, the move by the House of Representatives to include the CJN, Justices of the Supreme Court, CJ Federal High Court and CJs of state and FCT divisions in the Immunity Clause of Section 308, may bring a new dawn for a system that hasn’t only surrendered its birthright to the Executive, but now, needs the permission of Aso Rock, to drink wata on gaari. Wetin dey do these old men sef?
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