The JUDICIARY WILL BURN NIGERIA by #MissPearls
Our people have lived with corruption!
Our people have lived with inefficiency!
Our people have lived with oppression!
Our people have lived with Bad Governance!
BUT OUR PEOPLE DRAW THE LINE AT INJUSTICE!
Historically, the one thing that people world over completely abhor and that has time and time again demonstrated the capacity to topple kingdoms, empires or governments is INJUSTICE.
Because Justice is natural, INJUSTICE resonates deeply with everyone on a subconscious level and when it is wrought with so much impunity on a scale so wide that it affects a large number at once, it has the capacity to unite people of different persuasions (Religious, Tribal or otherwise), inflame passions, destabilize the polity and bring down the status quo.
We all saw what happened with Mohbad recently. Nigerians from all walks of life (professionals, underworld kingpins, actresses, masses, cultists, thugs, soldiers etc) were united in the call for Justice. If the government and the police hadn’t responded quickly to start investigations, it could’ve spiraled and quickly descended into something else. Even then majority of people are still distrustful as to if Justice will eventually be served. The Arab Spring and the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, and Syria, and the reactionary rise of religious fundamentalism are examples of the consequences of the failure of JUSTICE systems.
The following are relevant:
– Elections have come and gone but we will all live with the outcomes and consequences of those elections.
– In our dear country Nigeria electioneering is divided into three: (1)pre-election, (2)election and (3)post-election.
– Post-election phase was designed to correct the ills and errors of the pre election and election phases and is the most important of the three phases due to its powers of validation/invalidation of the prior two phases.
– Post-election phase comprises ventilation of grievances through legal challenges mounted via petitions filed at election petition tribunals firmly under the supervision and control of the Judiciary. The balkanization, tokenization and monetization of this important phase is what we are concerned about.
– In Nigeria we operate a constitutional democracy and even though our constitution may not be perfect, it symbolizes the highest authority in our land today and birthed the current order (all arms of government) and is a document we all mandatorily have to obey and follow. It is the social contract that binds all of us Nigerians. It is written in English language and plain enough for ordinary Nigerians to read and understand.
– The Judiciary was created by our constitution and saddled with the responsibility of upholding and interpreting our constitution and all laws made pursuant to it.
– The election petition tribunals in Nigeria are to the legal profession in Nigeria what the champions league football is to the footballing world. It is indeed the only time when all Nigerians pay attention to the legal sector and Judiciary.
– As a result of the aforementioned, the judgements that emanate from the election tribunals have important and serious implications on the confidence the Nigerian citizenry place in their Justice system. If the Judges who are supposed to uphold our constitution shit on it for personal gains, they endanger with the smell of their shit the entire order including themselves whose existence rests on the sanctity of the same constitution.
– The Judgments that have been emanating from the tribunals are a source of worry and threat to the Nigerian Justice system because of their lack of fairness, propensity to elevate technicalities and process above substantive justice, misinterpretation, double standards, deviation from standard norms and open bias.
– To achieve the impossible, the NIGERIAN JUDICIARY has mastered the art of striking out/upholding objections to evidence tendered to render a petition useless.
The PEPT Judgement has been described by neutral legal minds from other jurisdictions as a judgment not based on law, facts and evidence pleaded and adduced but on innuendos sprinkled with implicit bias.
– A rogue judgement is one in which the adjudicator would usually frame the wrong issue. The forefeiture argument against APC’s candidate at the PEPT sat squarely within section 137(1)(d), specifically as canvassed by the Lawyers but in order to conflate it with section 137(1)(e) which talks about “ convicted” and “ ten years”, Justices of the court of appeal framed the issue around section 137 broadly, instead of framing it around 137(1)(d) specifically blurring the specificity of that issue.
– Same with APM’s case on double/invalid nomination. Nomination and sponsorship were unilaterally declared Pre-election matters by the PEPT when the constitution says otherwise. In section 285(14) where the constitution lists pre-election matters it uses the words ‘ASPIRANTS’. The constitution further mentions ‘CANDIDATE’ in the same section lending credence to the fact that the framers of the constitution understand that there is a difference between ‘Aspirants’ and ‘Candidates.’ The Electoral act 2022 went further to define both words in section 152.
How the word ASPIRANT became a blanket that covers both aspirants and candidates is befuddling. If Justices of the court of appeal cannot differentiate between the words ‘candidate’ and ‘aspirant’ then it becomes obvious they have been promoted beyond their station and this portends even graver danger for our system.
– At the Kano Tribunal, we see a clear departure from the ‘WISE’ words of Justice Mistura, where she mentioned that the tribunal cannot go into the market place to look for evidence for the petitioners. Yet, in Kano we see the Judges in their full regalia descend into the market place for their preferred petitioner and checking even the gutters too for evidence. The fact that the unstamped ballots tendered by the APC were not listed POLLING UNIT by POLLING UNIT seemed not to matter anymore since the petitioners were of the APC stock.
All of a sudden the Justices remembered The law is that where there are credible Documentary Evidence, there is little or no need for oral evidence unlike the position their colleagues took at the PEPT. Then the Judges use of uncouth words like GANG OF RED CAP WEARERS, BANDITS IN POLITICS to describe the KWANKWASIYYA MOVEMENT which the respondents belong to. They even went as far as likening them to a VIOLENT and TERRORIST CULT. They also used phrases like ‘WHERE A PARTY PURPORT TO HAVE HIS EYES ON THE JUDICIARY AND REMOVE SAME FROM HIS CASE…YOU ABANDONED YOUR CASE AND CONCENTRATED ON DISTRACTING YOURSELF BY HAVING YOUR JAUNDICED EYE ON JUDICIARY.’
This words being uttered by Judges would make the sane and ordinary Nigerians wonder if biased motor park touts have not invaded our Judiciary already. What is next in the hall of infamy? a Justice Oluomo?
– In Enugu tribunal’s judgement on PG 103-109: the court was of the view that although Mbah attached his NYSC Certificate to Form EC9 and submitted/presented it to INEC, but because he did not fill the NYSC Certificate in the form EC9, he didn’t intend to use it to aid his qualification to be Governor.
The constitution is clear on the presentation of a forged certificate (even if its a vocational training certificate or share certificate) to INEC being a ground for disqualification.
The disingenuous attempt of the Judges to insert Mensrea (Intent) is akin to pasting a Mercedes Benz Logo on a Toyota Car. Their going further to pronounce that to prove forgery you MUST attach the original certificate when the issuing authority NYSC already clarified that the original certificate was destroyed is nothing short of shifting the goalpost in the middle of the football match when it’s apparent the petitioners will score a goal.
They also discountenanced the oral and documentary evidence from Labour Party because Labour Party witnesses in Enugu who testified that what INEC entered into from EC8B was different from from form EC8A were not accredited agents of Labour Party. This is akin to cutting off a man’s leg and asking him to walk.
-In Lagos we could see obvious injustice and a rehearsed repeat of the Enugu state scenario when the judge cited that the forged certificate presented by Sanwoolu was not a ground for qualification and disqualification under section 177 and 182(1)j. This is in flagrant disregard to the constitution in 182(1)(j) which states that you should be disqualified if you’ve presented a forged certificate to INEC.
The more shocking one was when in Rhode-Vivour’s case, which is a straightforward one revolving around Oath of allegiance where Sanwoolu’s deputy governor Hamzat admitted to having sworn an oath of allegiance to the USA, the Judges turned it to a question about citizenship which was never mentioned just so that they could rule in favour of their anointed APC.
-In Plateau State, four PDP National Assembly members were sacked based on invalid nomination ‘DUE TO LACK OF STRUCTURE’ this is against the standard set by their colleagues at the PEPT that nomination is a pre election matter and despite the confirmation of their colleague Judges of a presence of structure for the PDP in the same state for another set of HOR members.
– At the presidential election tribunal, INEC was given a pat on the back for botching an electoral process they requested so much money for, made firm commitments to Nigerians, plus breaking all the promises and representations made locally and internationally.
Not even so much as a reprimand from our honorable Justices. Justices were also seen to be displaying open bias, love and affection in favour of Lawyers of the APC. Justice Bolaji specifically declared that Wole Olanipekun SAN who was representing a side in the tribunal’s hearing had the Interest of Nigeria at heart.
– We have also heard from other tribunals across the country Judges striking out witness statements on oath for frivolous reasons like not voting on Election Day and other spurious reasons.
– These judgements make it seem like of majority of the Judges on the tribunals have lost sight of Justice. Rumours abound that they even lobby to be placed on election tribunals as they are seen as money making ventures.
– To add to the aforementioned, the news that petitioners must deposit the princely sum of 1 million naira only before they can even lodge their petitions at the tribunal is also worrisome. A poor petitioner cannot afford this. Is this a barrier to prevent people from accessing Justice or a pointer that Justice is for sale?
– It is worrisome that for elections which are indexed to substantial compliance (where the bar of what constitutes substantial is subject to discretion) the election petition tribunals subject petitioners to strict compliance with a maze of processes, rules and regulations where the smallest errors are given fatal outcomes and technicalities are promoted over and above substantive issues and evidences are struck out on the flimsiest of excuses.
– It would also appear that the Judges sitting on the tribunals have no knowledge, feign ignorance or are deliberately mischievous and willful about the ills the electoral act 2022 was supposed to cure with its technological innovations.
-With the pronouncements of the Judges, even if angels come down to their tribunals as petitioners, they will never be able to prove their case as the bar has been taken beyond the moon.
None of those justices, if they came to the bar, is capable of meeting the analogue standard they have set which involves inviting all your polling unit agents to lead evidence. An anomaly the 2022 electoral act sought to correct with the BVAS and BVAS report.
– It becomes apparent that we have a justice system based on hoops, cracks, crevices, lacunas, hurdles and what not saddled with Justices with credibility deficit and that getting justice for a petitioner not of the ruling party is more difficult than getting a camel to pass through a needles eye.
– It becomes even more blatant with judicial mispronouncements turning law on its head and inputing attributes our constitution never provisioned just to miscarry justice as was seen in the Enugu judgement.
– Or applying a different set of rules to confer advantage to their preferred parties as was seen in Kano judgement.
– Rumours of hundreds of thousand of dollars, tens of millions of dollars flying around – confirmed by Justice Azinge at the Kano election petition tribunal is worrisome.
– The judiciary is acting like a derivative of the executive rather than being independent, and citizens now know that they cannot rely on the court system for significant redress or remedy, especially against the state.
– In our court system, rules of court are prioritized over and above the laws of the land, fairness and equity which is the hallmark of Justice
– When Justice systems fail, “Rule of Law” does not exist and law as an autopoietic systems does not work.
When justice systems fail, laws and lawyers become instruments of injustice and oppression rather than swords and shields fighting for justice and equality.
When justice systems fail, laws and lawyers are degraded to the status of fig leaves, hiding the nakedness of the rulers. They become the tools that keep bad people in power and put good people in jail.
When justice systems fail, the very elements of the justice system become obstacles to justice. Instead of being the cure, laws and lawyers become part of the disease. The consequences of the failure of justice systems are dire.
– On the macroeconomic level, the failure of the justice system works like a massive tax on free enterprise and encourages inefficiency and corruption in the public sector.
– On the macroeconomic level, unprecedented levels of inequality endanger fledgling democratic institutions. Political and economic instability and If the people cannot get justice from the courts, they will get justice elsewhere and would not rest until their sense of justice is fulfilled.
– The justice from the tribunals is Justice as “the interest of the stronger”. In the other words, might is right. For a while, every man acts for himself and tries to get what he can, the strongest is sure to get what he wants and as a state the Government is the strongest, it will try to get and it will get, whatever it wants for itself.
Thus the Nigerian justice means personal interest of the ruling group in any state where Laws are made by the ruling party in its own interest.
– TRUE JUSTICE implies superior character and intelligence while INJUSTICE means deficiency in both respects. Therefore, JUST men are superior in character and intelligence and are more effective in action. As injustice implies ignorance, stupidity and badness, It cannot be superior in character and intelligence.
– All manner of characters have been admitted to the bench and today it is more difficult to find an incorruptible Judge than it is to find a honest politician. The corrupt Justices have turned Nepotism and Parochialism into the order of the day.
Justice is to the soul as health is to the body. Plato says that justice is not mere strength, but it is a harmonious strength. Justice is not the right of the stronger but the effective harmony of the whole.
– Aristotle says justice consists in what is lawful and fair, with fairness involving equitable distributions and the correction of what is inequitable.
– Our forefathers believed Justice is spiritual, hence why they called down the wrath of Sango, Amadioha and the gods whenever injustice was perceived.
– Our courts are more concerned with ‘all eyes on the Judiciary’ campaign than doing the actual work which is DISPENSING JUSTICE that they are paid for
– The Justices have forgotten they are paid with taxpayers monies and are servants of the people and the Law not Lords set over the people.
– ‘Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable’ —JF Kennedy
If the Judiciary continues to push the system with ridiculous Judgements to a breaking point where it is set on fire, forcefully overhauled and reset, for the first time in the history of our dear country, a new system that rises from the ashes of the old may suspend the Judiciary. Justices and senior lawyers may find themselves sharing cells with criminals they charged and convicted.
It is with a heavy heart and a sense of sobriety and somberness that I point out the DANGER of the path the Judiciary is treading. If they do not rein themselves in, in their obnoxiousness and condescension, in their obsession with the adoption of technicalities that line their pockets over and above substantive Justice, they will set this country on fire and shall burn along with it. Being learned will not insulate them. It is not too late to remedy the situation. A word is ENOUGH for the learned!
—Written By @MissPearls