One of the most general acknowledgement in this discourse that needs to be made more often than it is, is that we all stand on the shoulders of giants. British colonial administrators have invested great amount of time, efforts and wisdom writing legislations for the good and orderly conduct of Nigeria and Nigerians. There would of course be no point standing on their shoulders if we saw only what they saw and simply repeating what was often said. We must at least look in different direction from the vantage points they have given us and seek answers to other questions with the benefit of the knowledge and insight they provided. Both valid and invalid arguments can spur deeper examinations of importance of our constitution and other laws.
While Constitutions were written and rewritten since independence, what are not so abundant are prerequisite for rational minds about current problems and future alternatives. Whatever destination we are seeking, either literally or figuratively, we can only get there from where we are. Verbal virtuosity of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) over the trail of CJN W S N Onnoghen is an obstacle to truth.
I understand that “Change” is not a blank cheque for self indulgence, least of all self-indulgence in the notion which implies a crusade on the side of the “ANGELS” against the “FORCES OF EVIL”, despite its seeming flattery. Whatever change was introduce in the economic and social policies speak well about our current situation. It is the truth whether palatable or unpalatable, that the “change” spelt “PROGRESS”. As the saying goes, “A State without the means of some Change is without the means of its Conservation”.
Searching for a theme in such arbitrary situation has neither been easy nor necessarily productive, but if there is a common thread in the on going drama, it is the public loss of confidence in the Judiciary.
The entire judicial structure has lost its ability to come to terms of resolving the CJN WSN Onnoghen case as well as the capacity to agree with the best method of coping. His deference to take a stand to retire or to appear before the CCT in view of growing social discontent is a serious flaw and lack of confidence on the Nigerian system.
Nigerians have lost some measure of faith in the ability of the NBA, NADL, NJI and/or NJC to show conviction in the war against corruption. The symbolic value of NBA has diminished in importance. A prominent Jurist Femi Falana, SAN is quoted to have said that “ It is the crisis of Compromise and Opportunism on the part of NBA Leaders that has led the legal profession to the Mess that is going on. You can not have INCORRUPTIBLE JUDICIARY IF THE LAWYERS ARE CORRUPT”.
It has been a public knowledge for decades that the judiciary was corrupt from the lowest to the highest court. Judges escaped scrutiny in the anti-corruption fight until 2016 when the homes of several high ranking Judges were raided by the law enforcement officers and several Judges were arrested and charged. Still it seems that there is no total or uniform support for this administration crusade against corruption. Some have called it a vendetta against political opponents while others are denying it of any chances of success.
Politics is not simply a process that reflects existing attitudes and beliefs amongst voters, but politics can shape attitudes and beliefs. Justice Onnoghen silence in the ongoing imbroglio over his asset declarations speaks volume of his contempt and his patriotic duty as a public servant with obligation to serve the interest of Nigeria.
People question his loyalty to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as to the Government of which he heads a constituent part, the JUDICIARY and also to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To my understanding, anyone appointed by the President to a position of higher trust and responsibility swears to uphold the constitution and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This makes loyalty an indisputable to an organized society and to orderly and effective governance. Why does he do it? What is it that Justice W S N Onnoghen wants to prove?
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They do not mean to do harm, but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
PLEASE JUSTICE ONNOGHEN, SPARE THE NATION AND YOUR GOOD SELF THE AGONY. You have accepted your FAULTS, therefore I wish you remain in the GREAT HALL OF THE COURAGEOUS AND NOBILITY. The choice is entirely yours.