Shame of a Judiciary – By Mustapha Ogunsakin

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Ogunsakin Kunle
Mustapha Ogunsakin

As his days of exit tickles by, it is becoming very obvious that DrKayodeFayemi (Ph.d War Studies) does not know the people he governs.Ekiti people can hate as much as they love. Allah (SWT)in Islam Holy book. The Qur’an enjoined muslims to know Him before they worship Him. It is either the out-going governor is not worth the doctoral degree he fondly professes or he is a poor historian.  The way he is desperately trying to scuttle the wishes of the same people he has governed in the last four years is quite disturbing. If he goes on like this till next week, I foresee the people chasing him out the state with stones and he may not be able to visit the state for a very long time to come. In his bid of to perpetuate himself in government, it seems Fayemi is ready to pull the whole of the state down, and destroy every credible system of government in the state.

Just this morning, a friend sent a story of a suit filed by a Young Democratic Party Vs INEC, Ayo Fayose, and others before an Abuja Federal High Court. The suit obviously filed by the cronies of Fayemi seeks an order of court restraining the swearing-in of Ayo Fayose as governor of Ekiti State. This is after Fayemi and his group are gradually waking up from reality that all plan they orchestrated at the High Court of Ado- Ekiti would not be enough to stop Fayose from coming back as governor. Rather, they have only succeeded in ridiculing Ekiti judicial officers as either not competent in learning, orbiased beyond reason.

Take Justice AyodejiDaramola, the Ekiti State Chief Judge for example. Milord in his bid to satisfy the governor, who enabled him to become Chief Judge in 2012, threw caution into the wind by forgetting the rules that guides the conduct of a high judicial officer of his caliber. By picking his pen and writing a petition to the National Judicial Council, and the Ekiti State Police Commissioner, he has already made a descent into the arena of a conflict. He is now a “party” to the conflicts in the state and of course, every right thinking person now knows the side of the divide he belongs.

Ekiti State Judiciary has a Chief Registrar whose duty under the law and High Court Procedure Rules is the administration of the High Court. I have spoken to several senior legal practitioners and I verily believe them that writing under such circumstances is the duty of the Chief Registrar. But milord, in the bid to be a good boy to Fayemi threw the dignity of his office into the dustbin. I am sure members of NJC, particularly; the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice AlomaMukhtar will just be smiling in amusement at such ignorance.

The job of a judge is a job that requires a sober personality. It is conservative and requires a sound person both in learning and character. This why judges hardly speaks except through their pronouncements in cases before them. This is why their judgments have the force of the law. This is why when controversial issues like that which occur at the Ado-Ekiti High Court, both local and national body of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has the duty to rise up to the occasion and protect, not only the sanctity of the court, but also the integrity of the judge. But milord, Justice Daramola rather than waiting for these right channels decided to do the fight himself. He forgot the wise sayings of our people that “soldier go, soldier come. Government remains forever”. This is why he is not a politician but a civil servant and as such, a custodian of government and not the person in government.

Now, can Justice Daramola refuse to swear-in the governor- elect come October 16, 2014? I think not.  As Chief Judge, he has the statutory and constitutional duty to do the swearing-in. Any act contrary will amount to dereliction of duty. If he refuses to come to perform the swearing-in, it will amount to abdication of duty. All these offences are accompanied with punishment. Now can you see that Justices Daramola and Adeyeye have boxed themselves and other judicial officers in the state into a terrible corner! All in a bid to help a politician to subvert the law and the will of the people!!!

What baffles one however is the rush and desperation to prevent Fayose to assume office after the people of the state massively voted for him. Why all these desperation? After all, the E-11 case can continue after Fayose assumes office. Andy Uba was sworn-in as governor in Anambra State before Peter Obi won his case at the Supreme Court. Also Celestine Omenha was already governor of Rivers State before the Supreme Court judgementfavouredRotimiAmaechi, the present governor of the state.

I will always remember the answer Justice AdesolaOguntade who delivered the lead judgment in the Amaechi case gave me about six years ago. I asked the revered judge on how he came to his conclusion that Amaechi is the right person to occupy the post of governor of Rivers State. Justice Oguntade replied that the answer I seek is “the law within the breast of a judge”. This judgment was reviewed in a book titled “Force of Justice” edited by an erudite Ekiti son, Dele Adesina SAN. I am also privileged to be one of the editors. The interview also forms a part of my book “For the love of their Nation- Lawyers as agents of change in Nigeria”.

So why is it that Fayemi and his men, rather than wait and allow the judicial process to run its course, prefer to be in a hurry and in the process of their exit, destroy the very instrument of government that brought them into office? The answer may not lie in the politics, but the economic running of the state by the outgoing governor.  That story will be for another day.

Suffice to conclude here that the Ekiti State Judicial officers have not displayed the quality expected from judicial officers and it is a shame. Ekiti parade some of the best lawyers Nigeria has produced. Aare AfeBabalola SAN remains the most outstanding Nigerian lawyer that has ever lived. No lawyer dead or alive has contributed to both law and national development the way he has done. Chief WoleOlanipekun SANtoday enjoys the best prominence both in legal circles and national space. Dele Adesina SAN, Femi Falana SAN, OluDaramola SAN, and a host of others too numerous to mention are contributing to national development. It is high time that these men look inwards and safe their state by insisting that the peoples’ will must prevail.

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