Controversial Exit Of A CJN

<strong>Controversial Exit Of A CJN</strong>

Events happened in a torrent with the scathing accusations from Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, SCN, that they were dealing with a boss who was high-handed and drenched in corruptive influences.

Fourteen of them presented a public document to substantiate their concerns which we learnt were addressed by the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, who was then their boss and the nation’s leading judicial officer.

With such a lofty height as CJN, no one could have downplayed the legitimacy of his supreme audacity to manage his turf without fear or let. His position commands enormous influence among colleagues and the entire rung of the judiciary. In the days of yore, a CJN being the head of the third arm of national governance in a democratic system wields tremendous powers within the limits of acceptable constitutional provisions, such that he is not totally dependent on the executive for rational functioning in the realm of jurisprudence.

We appreciate Ibrahim Mohammed Tanko, the former CJN’s demeanour which is unprecedented in our clime by his instant throwing in of the towel and writing his name in gold and leaving the post instantly when perhaps the ovation was loudest. His sudden exit where he never made a fuss of the situation when he had to leave unceremoniously clearly distinguishes him as one who still had some depth of integrity left. In several other scenarios, an office holder of that standing would remain adamant and unmindful of the groundswell of importibilities against him.

In his resignation details, the outgone CJN was magnanimous enough to ascribe his exit to ill-health which is likely to impair his functioning in that exalted office. He never left anyone in doubt that he was no longer fit for that office. However, many Nigerians are wary of the striking co-incidence between his sudden backing out amid his claim of ill-health and the sulking of members of his constituency who have painted him in the public space as parochial, high-handed and distinctly unethical.

We are not in any particular stead to take the retired CJN to the cleaners to the effect of declaring him a persona non grata of the system he had sworn to uphold and protect for national interests, but it is imperative to highlight some succinct predilections that his colleagues at the highest helm of the courts are pointing out, so as to avoid ‘banana pills’ for his successor.

The Senate says it will continue its investigation of the corruption allegations against former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, despite his resignation days ago.

Against the groundswell of allegations and the unexpected backing out of the former CJN, the nation’s Senate through its committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, has vowed to “address the complaints raised by the justices of the Supreme Court.’’

At plenary Tuesday, the lawmakers considered a mini report of the judiciary committee on the matter.

The justices cited challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court – the first of its kind in the 58-year history of the court.

Citing non-replacement of dilapidated vehicles, poor accommodation, lack of drugs at the court’s clinic and unpredictable electricity supply, the aggrieved justices sought reliefs from these torrents of lacunas.

Those worries included a few others which triggered the Justices’ anxiety.

Notwithstanding the suffusing allegations against Mr. Muhammad, he resigned as the CJN on health grounds to  a warm by President Muhammadu Buhari who in the midst of the mix-grill conferred on him the honour of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, and swore in Olukayode Ariwoola as acting CJN.

As an independent arm of government as enshrined in acceptable democratic norms, we call for immediate fiscal intervention as well as long-term and sustainable budgetary allocations, for the judiciary beyond the SCN, to enable it perform optimally in line with global best practices.

We commend the long standing service of Mr. Muhammad against the last minute incongruous circumstances that heralded his exit from a system he had given so much.

However, in line with what is normative, for our once-exalted CJN to come off on a clean slate, we urge in line with the Senate’s proposition that his tenure be reviewed to ensure that the nation’s apex court keeps its integrity unalloyed.   

Indeed, the situation calls for our temple of justice to remain committed to delivering justice not on the thrust of the flamboyance and niceties that are possible but on the oath that was sworn to do what is obligatory in all instances.

AljazirahNigeria welcomes the new CJN, Justice Ariwoola urging him to avoid the pitfalls of the past.


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