According to some commentators and Nigerians, National Judicial Council (NJC) is in crisis over the saga of Salami. Judge Salami, the former president of Court of Appeal, overnight becomes a saint and freedom fighters. There is an even protest by supposed ordinary Nigerians over his demises or suspension as you may want to call it. This has become a matter of extra-ordinary for Nigeria. There are many things that baffled me about Nigerians, one of which is their inability to assess situation properly and believing allegation to be a true without facts or knowledge of the situation.
I for once suspected Nigeria judges through their judgements. This is the only country where injunction can be given against law enforcement body not to prosecute or arrest someone of a crime. There were notable cases which presented a cause for concern. Some judgements themselves breached Nigeria constitution. One example was granting bail to Kalu and co: over their corruption and embezzlement charges. In the same case, bail was granted to current governor of Abia state over corruption and knowing fully well he will be sworn in as governor and protected from prosecution by the law.
They grant Atiku chance to contest for presidency despite the constitution stating that a person must resign as an elected officer before he can contest an election in another party platform. The tips of the iceberg were the election petitions, appointing a governor that was not even on a ballot paper as a governor. Three governors currently benefited from Salami directly; with doggy judgements (two were ACN governor). The judgements were based on that some of the declared winners’ votes were invalid and none for the opposition, they then tallied remaining votes to declared winners (in all three states). What was sad about this was that the votes they disregarded were between one third to two third of the votes casted. These making it relevant, as significant amount of votes were disregarded. Logically, for a wise man, a judgement in electoral case should and must promote democracy by enforcing electoral process. This is because; no one should appoint who govern people but people themselves. Not judges or anyone else. If election is rigged or there is a substantial invalid vote, then best solution is re-election. Nigeria judge (Salami & Co) thought is their God giving right to appoint governors.
Salami putted himself in hot water for one reason or the other, one of which can be power tussle with immediate passed chief judge of Nigeria or he had been found to be corrupt. It can be both, going by what PDP governor claimed to have found, his called logs to one of the party to a petition in the court he controls made his position unattainable. In most advanced countries that most Nigerians wish to live, a judge would be guaranteed a jail term for something like that (perverting the course of justice). If we love these countries, why we do not emulate them but only subject our government to their standard. There was complicity of his handling o 2007 Sokoto state governorship petition that the past CJN had to personally intervene.
More over, there is case of perjury from his sworn affidavit allegation against the ex CJN that was hold to be untrue due to witness at the meeting. Perjury by a judge is way off, is something that should not be permitted by any country because it is the major fabric of justice system. If a judge lied under oath, who else can not lie then? As for the president, judges are appointed by recommendation of NJC, so is the remover. For those who are feigning ignorance; a number of judges were removed by Obasanjo on recommendation of NJC when they were abusing injunction process of the court. At that time, NBA did not see anything wrong then.
NBA supposes to be respectable main law association in the country and should cover anybody that is called to the bar in Nigeria. This should include the judges too; this is one thing NBA did not realise. NBA leadership had been hijacked younger lawyers and as most judges are old, they see them as enemy or inspiring source of classroom rebellion. This is very unfortunate, in UK; the Law Society is taken as high esteem by all people that have interest in law. Moreover, the new generation of successive NBA presidents have been more radical and sometimes see themselves as opposition party in Nigeria politics.
NBA reputation stated falling very bad under the presidency of Agbakobi, who literally became mouth piece of Atiku and unpaid lawyer. Even in this crisis, must NBA president or its leadership been taking hard line on matter of national importance and things that it does not have influence over. The judges must belong to NBA as you have to be a lawyer before you can be a judge, in this way, NBA can influence NJC or CJN in a matter of national importance like this. This can not be so if you are hardliner, confrontation or unethical yourself.
We the ordinary Nigerians, we should learn to understand a situation before we open our mouth. If Salami stay or fired, it will not make any differences for ordinary Nigerians. The fact of the matter is, if the whole NJC members are corrupt, then, there is 100% that Salami himself is corrupt as well. We need judiciary reform, not just from federal level, state as well. I will like cases not lasting more than three years in court and removed ability of lawyers to stall cases by counter suing or securing injunction in another court. I will like automatic appointment of chief judges on the basis of years serves in the particular court. Removing ability of governor to remove or appoint state chief judge. In addition, looking at a better way of appointing judge and magistrate in state and local government levels. Finally, allocation of money for judiciary at all level of government should be statutory mandated.
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