FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, May 24, 2019
[email protected]
Bonn, Germany
ATIKU VS. BUHARI: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE NIGERIAN JUDICIARY TO SORT ITSELF OUT (2) (PICTORIAL)

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I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic (Brett Kavanaugh)

All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary (Andrew Jackson)

t's unfortunate that while the judicial system is visibly present in Nigeria, it doesn't work reasonably well there. In better climes, the politicians - the presidency and the legislature - fear, and are being kept in check by the judiciary, but in Nigeria, it's the other way around. In Nigeria, the judiciary, because of corruption, is afraid of the politicians - It's tied to the presidency's "apron strings".

If the Nigerian judiciary has been independent and upright, this government wouldn't be operating with impunity, as it does. The Nigerian judiciary has been letting the Nigerians down. If the Nigerian judiciary is up to its responsibility, this government wouldn't have paid the Fulani herdsmen (Myetti Allah) N100 billion so that they will stop killing innocent Nigerians; it wouldn't have planned to establish a radio station for the Fulani herdsmen; it wouldn't have revoked the firearm licenses of innocent citizens while the terrorists - the Fulani herdsmen - are keeping their guns; it wouldn't have sent the DSS to invade the house of some judges at night; it wouldn't have been Fulanizing and Islamizing Nigeria; and most importantly, it wouldn't have remained in power. How can the Nigerian judiciary be independent when the acting chief justice and other justices were seen meeting, and joking with Buhari, who then later wined and dined with them (see pics below). Tell me how these justices will be unbiased when the case, Atiku vs. Buhari, reaches the Supreme Court? Kunle Oshobi, who posted the pictures below, wrote: "Is it desperation or is it that Buhari just doesn't give a damn? This has clearly crossed the lines of decency. He should not be frolicking with Supreme Court judges that will preside over his electoral heist case, talk less of doing it publicly and having closed door meetings with them after".

Justice is one of the basic fundamental human rights, and a society lacking it becomes a jungle. Although William Blackstone (1723 –1780) noted the importance of justice by writing: “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”, but in Nigeria, the reverse is always the case - the innocent are always the victims. There's poverty and hardship in Nigeria today partly because the law is not effective, a point William H. Neukom, (1942), WJP President & CEO, made, when he wrote that "effective rule of law helps reduce corruption, alleviate poverty, improve public health and education, and protect people from injustices and dangers large and small. Wherever we come from, the rule of law can always be strengthened.”

Many of us trying to make Nigeria a better place, in our own little ways, through writings, are doing this because of the love we have for the people of Nigeria. In the words of Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), winner of Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. ........... To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all...” Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was right, when he noted that “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

I'm writing hoping that it will make a little difference in Nigeria, and I implore as many Nigerians as possible to be "writing", to be "shouting", to be "crying", to be "exposing" evil, inorder to see if things will get better in that country, as Jeremy Bentham, (1748-1832), wrote that “In the darkness of secrecy, sinister and evil in every shape shall have full swing. Only in proportion as publicity has a place can any of the checks applicable to judicial injustice operate. Where there is no publicity, there is no justice. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.”

It will be a miracle if a bench so full of corruption can cleanse the Augean stables. If the Nigerian judiciary really wants to sort itself out, it must, first of all, rid itself of the so many bad eggs within its own ranks and must make sure that no "wrongo" (corrupt person) is being given any special position of authority. The judiciary must start again with a clean sheet or slate. It means there must be a paradigm shift before it can win the people's confidence, and now is the time to do that.

If you really want to know why the judiciary is a cesspool of corruption or inequity, you need to look no further. The President of the Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, personifies the malfeasance in the sector, and as long as somebody like her remains in an authority position in the Nigerian judiciary, the corruption music will continue to play on and on, and even louder.

Let me make it clear here that although the Nigerian judiciary is one of the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria, the Appeal Courts segment of it is where the most corrupt judges are operating. The judges of the Appeal courts in Nigeria are at their best when it comes to upholding injustice due to the inducements they freely take. So, if the Nigerian judiciary must sort itself out, let it start from the Appeal Courts judges.

Atiku Abubakar and his party, PDP, are challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the election. They asked Mrs. Bulkachuwa to withdraw from the five-member panel she headed. They based their demand on Mrs. Bulkachuwa’s relationship with some APC members, because there's no way she will remain unbiased in the handling of cases involving APC and other political parties. Atiku released a statement saying that his asking Justice Bulkachuwa to leave the panel has nothing to do with competence or character, but that one of the principal maxims of the Common Law is nemo judex in causa sua (no man shall be a judge in his own case). In his words:

"The call by my legal team for Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was predicated on this principle, being that her husband, Alhaji Mohammed Bulkachuwa, is an All Progressives Congress Senator-elect and the case she was expected to adjudicate upon had a bearing on that party. My legal team’s objection was not a reflection on Justice Bulkachuwa’s character or competence. As a matter of fact, I have great respect for her, being a pioneer and advocate for gender equality and female empowerment".

Atiku's lawyers, in a motion to force Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself, said that she was likely to be biased because her husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, who's a Bauchi State Senator-elect, and her son Aliyu Abubakar, a governorship aspirant are both members of the APC. All along, the woman refused to step down, claiming that her personal relationship will not affect her decision. Then, on May 23, Justice Bulkachuwa decided to exclude herself from the tribunal on personal grounds. But that was after her colleagues rejected Atiku’s motion that she should quit because of conflict of interest. Her decision to quit has saved the judiciary from further embarrassment.

This woman, who's the President of the Court of Appeal and Chairman of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT), knew what to do but refused to do it until the pressure became unbearable for her. She shouldn’t have allowed this to linger; she should have quit before now. My people say that if one does later what he or she knows should have been done earlier, it amounts then to stupidity. She thought that Nigerians are fools who will not question her continuous leadership of the Appeal Section of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal when her family members are prominent APC members. People like her are underestimating Atiku Abubakar! Before now, she should have taken a leaf from Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court, her fellow woman, who recused herself from the Wike/Dakuku Case, when it got to the Supreme because she's from Rivers State and her husband is a PDP member.

Nonetheless, after Bulkachuwa's belatedly recusal, Atiku still praised her this way:

“Her action showed courage and is an act of patriotism. She has, by this action, increased the confidence the public have for the judiciary. Not only do I commend her, but I also pray, especially in this holy month of Ramadan, that Justice will be done by the tribunal according to the fear of God and not in keeping with respect for the powers that be. May God bless the judiciary and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria."

Nigerians should not underrate the APC. Buhari, and the cabal around him. They're master planners when it comes to corruption and impunity, but are Lilliputians when it comes to good governance. They knew, a long time ago, months before the presidential election of Feb. 23, that Buhari will lose; they then started planning ahead on how to rig the election, and on how to secure/retain the stolen mandate, as they knew, definitely that Atiku will do everything, and will go to any length to challenge them. That was when the plan to sack the former Chief Justice was hatched. All those accusations leveled against him were just to facilitate his forced exit. They also knew that the case will move from the Tribunal to the Appeal Tribunal, and eventually to the Supreme Court. APC must have given Justice Bulkachuwa's husband the nomination to contest, as a senator, in order to seduce her, so that she will rule in favor of the party whenever the case reaches her court; and too, the APC must have been using her son's gubernatorial ambition as a bait to further win her over.

All the judges who will be involved in this case, Atiku Vs. Buhari, from the Tribunal levels to the Supreme Court, might have been "settled" by Buhari and the APC, because of their over-desperation to hang on to power they do not know how to use to move Nigeria forward in a positive way. Although she has recused herself, Justice Bulkachuwa can still do some influencing from the sideline. She's a danger to justice if you have followed all her previous rulings. That's the problem with the Nigerian judiciary. Chidi Cali even suggested the disbanding of all the tribunals she constituted as their independence, objectives, and fairness to all parties is grossly impaired. Access to Justice released this statement:

“Of late, there have been strong speculations that the Buhari government is heavily invested in efforts to achieve the best possible outcomes from electoral courts in any election litigation involving the ruling party through any means possible. Many believe this is the reason the government worked hand in glove with the Code of Conduct Tribunal and removed Justice Walter Onnoghen from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria applying bizarre legal procedures. The dust has not settled from that incident.

The Court of Appeal President, Hon. Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, is married to a Senator of the ruling APC and she has not publicly denied this claim. We note that the Court of Appeal President is not however sitting on an election petition involving her spouse personally but that involving her spouse’s political party and platform.

In ordinary circumstances, there would be no question of whether the President of the Court of Appeal can, or should participate in tribunals adjudicating election petitions involving her spouse’s party. But these are no ordinary or normal times. The Nigerian judiciary is facing very heightened levels of public scrutiny, and the performance of some judicial bodies have raised red flags concerning judicial independence and integrity.

There are now far more than normal anxieties about the Judiciary’s strength of character. Many keen observers of the Judiciary are already worried that the Judiciary has been overawed by the government given, particularly, the example of the bizarre way the removed Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was “guillotined” by a supposedly “judicial” body.

Given the present context, it may be difficult for judicial officers to bank on the moral capital of the Judiciary as an institution as a basis of comfort when they sit on cases where some familial, fiduciary or other interests are implicated, for the stock value of that capital has descended a few notches over time and survives mostly through its clichés than its substance.”

To be concluded!

TIT BITS

Because the Nigerian judiciary is in actual fact under the spell of the presidency, Buhari does whatever he wants and gets away with it.

*One Chi Di posted this:

It can never happen....Buhari became President.

It can never happen...Buhari divided Nigeria in 97/5.

It can never happen....Buhari excluded Igbos from the security architecture of the nation.

It can never happen....Buhari appointed his Islamic brother heads of security, military and para military bodies.

It can never happen.....Buhari took off to the UK for months.

It can never happen....Buhari removed the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

It can never happen....DSS attack Judges at nite.

It can never happen.....Buhari approves the release of Boko Haram fighters from prisons.

It can never happen...Buhari integrates the Boko Haram fighters into the military.

It can never happen...Buhari gives billions to Fulani Herdsmen

It can never happen...Buhari approves a radio station for Herdsmen

It can never happen....all the things are happening, have happened and will happen.

Heaven did not fall. We whimper and move on.

It will never happen....until the whole nation is over-run.

It will never happen........until 180m people become refugees overnight

*A friend sent me a post on how Nigeria is taking "The Road To Rwanda". There Adolf Hitler was quoted as having said: "To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens".

  1. The Hutu militia iinterahamwe in Rwanda started just like the herdsmen AKA bandits in Nigeria before the genocide.

  2. The government of the day in Rwanda headed by a Hutu tactically encouraged them same as the bandits are encouraged in Nigeria.

  3. They have a radio station for easy coordination just like new Fulani radio for coordination.

  4. The Hutu militia iinterahamwe was supported by the Burundi Hutus just like Nigeria bandits backed by Niger, Chad, etc Fulanis

  5. Suddenly before the Genocide, guns were mopped up from the innocent civilians by the then Rwanda government headed by the Hutus. Just like it will happen in Nigeria soon

  6. Then the signal is the sudden assassination of the Hutu president, the genocide that claimed over 1 million lives started

Out of the 6 steps to genocide we have completed 5 steps Pray against this bloodshed. And be prepared BE PREPARED

Listen to these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-pBkaVS83w

Midnight Star-No Parking On The Dance Floor (Official Music Video)

Midnight Star - Headlines (Top Of The Pops)

THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!

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