By: Douglas Ogbankwa, Esq.
I will stand by what is right, even if I stand alone. -Chief Gani Fawehinmi
I thought about the consequences of writing this article. I know there will be consequences. But I find solace in the fact that If you talk you will die, and if you don’t talk you will die.
The Nigerian Judiciary is gradually sliding Nigeria into anarchy! The way the Nigerian Judiciary is going, mark my words, the division of Nigeria if care is not taken, will not be spurned by IPOB, Yoruba Nation, ESN or MEND, the Nigerian Judiciary will divide this Country not with a gun, but with a pen.
In the Nigerian Judiciary now, you have all sorts of shenanigans going on. From a Judge who uses about 5 DSS Officials with a backup car, when he is not the Chief Judge of the Court, to the same Judge that will ask a lawyer old enough to be his uncle to face the wall as if you are in a Kindergarten School and to a Chief Judge of the same Court that would tolerate and even by his body language encourage actions that even touts will not think about.
We are heading to a scenario, where litigants will no longer have recourse to the Judiciary but will do anything and buy their way through.
“We are living in a wasted Generation”- Wole Soyinka. You will pass this life but once, You will not be remembered by the houses you built or the money in your account, which is likely going to be fought over by your children, but how you ensured justice in your generation
I have been a victim of standing to be counted on these issues, but I don’t care as that is why you have the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Public Opinion. I have one question for some Nigerian Judges, if you stand before your creator, can you defend some of your decisions, by the law of Man and God?
Don’t get me wrong, some very many upright Nigerian Judges see the law, the way it is, but they are mostly victimized and forgotten, except for some exceptional few that can not be ignored.
Sometimes, I wonder if some of these Judgments come from Judges. From the one that gave a bail condition of a serving House of Assembly member, when a citizen complained that an Agency of the Federal Government gave a bail condition of a Permanent Secretary, to the same one that revokes bail without any reason, but with a false and feeble impression that he is the Almighty God.
Or is it the one that will insist on following rules in one case and will depart from the same rules in another case, or the one that will give a ratio that if an agency of Government gives very obnoxious and highly impossible conditions for bail, the suspect who is still in detention at the time he is giving his Ruling had been granted Bail? Could it also be the one who in the face of the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended ), by the 4th alteration, states that no person can be discriminated against on account of his tribe, creed, gender, and religion, gave a Judgment that once you join an Organisation that discriminates against the tenets of the referenced section of the Constitution, you have waived your rights even when the Constitution, the highest law of the Land does not say so?
“We are not final, because we are infallible, we are infallible because we are final”- Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, on the finality of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court as a policy court and as the highest court in the land, like Caesar’s wife, must live above board. Some judgments can be churned out by lower courts, but the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court must do substantial Justice, that even the devil will agree with.
“When a Judge sits over a case, the two parties know the truth, only the Judge is on trial.” -Anonymous.
The Nigerian Bar Association under our President, the very vibrant and astute Olu Akpata Esq. is doing a great job, but it could be better. The Bar I know and one that I have been part of its administration can achieve endless possibilities. We just have to be united and focused.
Some components of the Nigerian Judiciary are certainly not the Judiciary, I want to bequeath to my loving and lovely children. We are doing this for the generation next. You can be a beneficiary today, tomorrow you can be a victim.
About the Author:
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq., firstname.lastname@example.org, a Benin Based Lawyer is the Convener of Vanguard for the Independence of the Judiciary (V4IJ) and the Founder of the Benin Writers’ Society.