Judicial wonder

ANYTIME Judiciary should be celebrating an accomplishment, something not too pleasant would just jump up to either dampen the rapturous moment or completely veil the good news, thereby weakening the hearts of those with breakable resolve, among the stakeholders seeking redemption for the much-maligned justice sector. Well, it may be argued that if sectorial joy is overflowing, bad news would easily be neutralised in the oceanic happiness. Maybe, but the occasionally shining should stop running into kill-joy mode.

Last week, National Judicial Council(NJC) made a huge leap in e-governance, on behalf of the Judiciary and the Nigerian masses, but the moment passed practically unnoticed. Why? Well, another judiciary story was trending and it wasn’t palatable. Let me relay as received: “With Justice Tanko (Chief Justice Mohamed) bedridden, our judiciary is in yet another ethnic logjam. Mary Odili is to lead judiciary as acting CJN as Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour bows out on March 22, 2021(tomorrow). But will Mohammed Buhari do the needful?”

Though many aren’t unaware of the politics of succession in the apex court, which is beyond Mary Odili, whose daughter was rejected by President Buhari as a judge of the FCT, one would be committing the fallacy global media has thrived in for too long, that it must drip to lead. Yes, governments, world over, with little or no exceptions, are sinking further into roguery and for the media to play the accountability card, some adversarial disposition must be retained, especially in Nigeria where it is easier for public funds to find entry into private pockets than for the purposes for which they were allocated.

When the ICT world was toasting NJC’s latest groundbreaking decked-to-the-hilt computerization of all its operations, first of its kind in public service space, the ever-busy social media highway was quiet as the one still in shock of losing a dearest. Those who noticed the scant media report on the history-making paperless revolution would possibly ask: “na who NJC technological revolution eep (help)” or snigger with the usual “wahala for who no work for NJC o”.  The social media audience was a creation of the traditional media. Before social media became an all-comer, twitterati relied solely on what the traditional media gave out. The indoctrination that it must be “negae” (negative) to be prominent was total on the social media generation and changing that orientation may require a lifetime effort.

Should we then blame the media? Maybe, media was just responding to the dictates of changing times as the society evolved through the ages. Now, we probably have more rogues in public space than when journalists decided on the orientation to stick with printing what others don’t want printed. So, if adversarial journalism has obviously bred more rogues, though many have also been named and shamed, is it not about time for another kind of orientation, since seeing others being disgraced isn’t deterrent enough again? Today, the didacticism in Yoruba’s saying, that victims of self-inflicted fall, serve as warning to others (enijinsikoto, o koarayookulogbon) no longer holds true. Here, now, it is more of enijinsikoto, oju e lo fo (those caught, lack the meandering strategies).

Negativity syndrome selling news is everywhere. In a recent study, it was discovered that newsstand magazine sales increase by roughly 30 percent when the cover is negative rather than positive. It was also discovered that “good news day” resulted in a 66 percent decrease in readership in an online Russian newspaper. This made Stuart Soroka to suggest that humans may be neurologically or physiologically predisposed towards focusing on negative information because the potential costs of negative information far outweigh the potential benefits of positive information.

He is correct in a way. Who would not want to keep a permanent eye on his commonwealth kept with kleptomaniacs who have refused all forms of salvation? Despite these obvious compelling circumstances, public space shouldn’t be completely toxic with “bleeding to lead”.

Under the leadership of Ahmed GamboSaleh, NJC is thriving, but this isn’t a compendium for his public service record. Anyways, it would even be too early in his public life, for any kinds of documentation for history. But the silent revolution he has been spearheading within his different spheres of influence within the system, ably supported by different bosses (CJNs) at different times, isn’t necessarily dripping or bleeding, but can and should lead, at least as an encouragement to others who may also want to be different like him.

Today, NJC’s operations are completely paperless. About 5,000 paper-works per council member for meetings are gone forever. Now, there are real-time meetings, regardless of locations of members and even the whole meeting can be dissolved mid-way into committees and only paper-works relevant to each committee would be exclusively seen by committee members!

Imagine a council member recently giving his daughter out in marriage and still participating fully in council meeting and all members, being able to append their signatures real-time, to documents that require such, without having to fly down to Abuja and appointments not having to be delayed forever, while waiting for a necessary council member to append his signature. C’mon, let’s applaud the Tanko/Gamboteam; because this isn’t just Zoom wonder, it is completely being tech savvy. Gambo, backed by his chairman, CJN Tanko, is doing wonders, saving the system millions of Naira through innovative moves. The latest move by the Judiciary is the perfect answer to the longevity coronavirus is seeking with humanity.

For all the accolades Gambo isn’t just waking up to getting it right. As Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, he achieved similar feat, among others, though he has eternally chosen to be deaf to public applause, conducting his public service like a total recluse. Once bitten, twice shy, they say.

For all this is worth, it may still attract strong disapproval from him. But it is better to be positive, whether it drips and bleeds or not. Imagine if the fund for the project had been declared missing.

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