An indisputable fact about human beings whether as individuals or in groups notwithstanding, is that we are all political animals and this much was recognized by the American political scientist Harold Lass well and the Greek philosopher, Aristotle in their respective treatise.But in expressing our opinions on public issues, it is expected that we should naturally be guided by facts and rationality rather than illogicality, emotions, sentiments, mischief and hypocrisy which exposes us to ridicule, but which unfortunately has become the order of the day and bane of development in present day Nigeria.
Following the raid on corruption in the judiciary which culminated in the arrest of some judges and the confiscation of huge sums of cash in local and international denominations allegedly discovered in their homes by the DSS, Nigerians have been divided as expected on this issue of the fight against corruption by the President Buhari administration, which is battling hard to instill discipline into a society that has become embedded in corruption as a way of life and will do anything and everything to maintain the status quo.
While Nigerians both individually and in groups were expressing divergent opinions on this fight against corruption, of which the ship had birthed in the judiciary, Afenifere Akure true to its character of not seeing anything good in the President Buhari administration, jumped into the fray to condemn the assault on corruption in the judiciary, of which we are not surprised in view of what the organization represents.
The fallout of the assault on corruption in the judiciary as well as the groundswell of public opinion however, has led to a division between the bodies in the judiciary with the NBA doing a 360% turnaround from its earlier position of outright condemnation of the assault on corruption, to requesting that the alledged judges should step down from the bench until they are cleared, which has been re-echoed by the body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), but has been out rightly rejected by the NJC on the grounds that the judges have not been found guilty.
Surprisingly, the alledged judges as a result of the backlash of public opinion over the alledged huge sums of money recovered from their homes which qualifies them for bureau de change operations only if they had obtained the necessary papers, have further exposed themselves, the judiciary and the country at large to ridicule by the content of their leaked letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, that is characteristic of common criminals, who on being caught by the long arm of the law, are always quick to retort that, it is the work of the devil, the judges in a similar fashion, are now alledging that the reason for their corruption travails in October 2016 is as a result of their refusal to compromise their oath based on inducements by some persons including two federal ministers serving in the President Buhari administration, as far back in February 2016.
And only last week, Afenifere, after its meeting in Akure, the Ondo state capital, issued a communiqué calling on the minister’s alledged by the indicted judges to resign from President Buhari’s cabinet.
This call by Afenifere is ridiculous, hypocritical, irrational, illogical, mischievous and absurd. This group in carrying out its agenda of never seeing anything good or positive on issue or policy that has to do with the President Buhari’s administration, always makes statements or advance arguments that defies logic, rationality and end up embarrassing itself and the Yoruba nation which it pretends to represent but of which, we all know better.
For our information, let us remind Nigerians that while Senate President Bukola Saraki was undergoing trial for alledged corruption, this group never called for his resignation, also when the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and some principal officers of the house were alledged by a colleague and former chairman, house committee on appropriation, Hon Abdulmumuni JIbrin for padding the 2016 budget, this Afenifere never saw reason to call for resignation of the affected officers, but now that some members of President Buhari’s cabinet have been alleged for corruption, this group has taken the front seat in calling for resignation even when their hypocrisy on other cases in just too glaring and exposes the character of this group.
Also, note that since the President Buhari administration came into office and launched its anti corruption war, Afenifere has refused to come to terms with the reality that the 2015 general elections is over as they have continued to stoke up tension, embers of hate and division among the Nigerian people just to heat up the polity by their statements and actions.
Afenifere, for the education of all Nigerians, is the same group that was at the forefront of ex President Goodluck Jonathan 2015 campaigns. Members of this group, vigorously campaigned for Ex President Jonathan continued stay in office because they never had it so “good” and even promised to deliver the votes of the Yorubas, though we knew that they lack political value in any part of Yoruba land and the results of the 2015 Presidential election is a testimony.
It has even been alledged that members of this group like others, were heavily rewarded for their support and loyalty by ex President Jonathan administration, but we are still awaiting the anti graft agencies to beam their searchlight on these groups and expose them for what they really represent which is at variance with the wellbeing, peace, unity and progress of the Nigerian people. But be that as it may, a member of the group, Chief Olu Falae, the then chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), was indicted for collecting N100 million of the diverted security funds from the office of the ex National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.) on behalf of his party, to mobilize support for the PDP at the 2015 general elections. thus, Chief Olu Falae’s conduct is a mirror through which one can view this group.
To the matter at hand, Afenifere is calling for the resignation of some of the ministers in President Buhari’s cabinet just because they were alledged to have attempted to compromise the judges arrested for corruption.
In exposing Afenifere as pursuing a vendetta agenda which has failed severally and will continue to fail, it is important for us to even examine the contents of some of the judges letters to the CJN, in order to highlight it’s the ability or otherwise in law. According to Justice Okoro, he said he informed the CJN that the minister for transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and the APC gubernatorial aspirant for Akwa Ibom state Mr. Umana Umana attempted to bribe him to influence the Supreme Court judgement on Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia states gubernatorial elections petitions.
According to Justice Okoro in his letter, he claimed to have informed the CJN on the 1st of February, 2016. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court judgement for Rivers state gubernatorial election was delivered on the 27th of January, 2016 which means that he reported an attempted crime on a judgement, four (4) days after the verdict was delivered. Also, note that this report in a letter to the CJN is coming out in the open in October, 2016, well over 6 months after this alledged attempted bribe took place. Mr. Justice Okoro in his letter, failed to mention the particular date that this alledged incident took place and the actual amount that he was offered.
From the content of Justice Okoro’s letter and as a learned judge of the Supreme Court, he has indicted himself as a man of questionable character by failing to do the needful of making a formal report of an alledged attempt to compromise his office when it occurred to the appropriate organs of state like the NJC or the anti graft agencies. By alledgedly reporting an alledged crime, four (4) days the consequences would have been out, shows clearly that Justice Okoro is a man whose character is questionable and thus his testimony in a court of law would be inadmissible because he has shown unreliability and inconsistency in law.
On Justice Sylvester Ngwuta’s part, in his letter to the CJN in October 2016, he claimed to have informed the CJN of the alledged attempted bribe by Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Mr. Rotimi Amaechi for him to compromise the court judgements with regards to Ekiti, Rivers and Ebonyi states gubernatorial election petitions matters. Also note that like Justice Okoro, Justice Ngwuta’s is unable to state the exact date and actual amount offered, but from the tone of his claim that the CJN told him that he has heard that Mr. Rotimi Amaechi had alledgedly attempted to bribe some judges, one can infer that his own verbal narration to the CJN happened in same February of 2016 like that of Justice Okoro.
Any discerning observer can see a similarity in pattern in the narration of these two supposed learned judges who just made verbal report to the CJN without official report or deposition to an affidavit on the said incident as at when it occurred to the appropriate agencies of state and one is forced to ask, if these narrations by both judges were a mere coincidence or a conspiracy?
We must not lose sight of the fact of this matter by asking that, why did these judicial officers keep quiet over alledged attempts to compromise their office when it happened, but are now spilling the beans in October 2016 just because they have been arrested for corruption? Does it mean that if the DSS had not arrested them for corruption now, they wouldn’t have remembered what alledgedly happened in January or February of 2016? Again, you want to ask, what is the relationship between an alledged incident in which you failed in your responsibility to lodge official complaint and your arrest now for corruption?
These judges, from all intents and purpose, have indicted themselves as persons of questionable character whose statements cannot be admissible in court due to failure to disclose the facts as at when due and whatever they are saying now is called an afterthought in law.
To realize that, it is this afterthought of statements by the arrested judges that has formed the kernel of Afenifere Akure calls for the resignation of the alledged federal ministers of President Buhari’s cabinet is not only laughable and absurd, but is also an indication that the group seriously needs help from the paranoid of a Buhari Presidency which can only come from God because it is beyond human capabilities.