When the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, took over the hearing of election petition of the Peoples Democratic Party against the victory of the Action Congressʼ candidate at the tribunal, I was very apprehensive about his mission. I thought he was out to play the devilʼs advocacy. That is, breaking the frame to damn the consequence! But a friend told me that he had the premonition that the president of the Court of Appeal was out to launder his battered image.
Whatever his reason was, the most important aspect of it all is that justice has been done in Oshiomholeʼs case, courtesy of Justice Abdullahi. He deserved to be commended. Give to Caesar what is Caesarʼs. The import of Oshiomholeʼs success is that Nigeria is not left out of the wind of change blowing across the globe. Yes We Can. Obama did it and we are doing it here too. Secondly, the common man can still keep his faith in the judiciary as his last defender. When all hopes are lost, the judiciary will be there to restore the hope. All other election petition tribunals sitting across the country should emulate Justice Peter Umeadi who saw the truth and was not afraid to say it.
Justice Umeadi and his team made the jubilation of today possible. If they had sold their conscience to the devil, Oshiomhole wouldnʼt have gone this far and we might not have been celebrating today. Oshiomhole might have run of the wherewithal to pursue his case to a logical conclusion. Or better still, traditional rulers in his village would have prevailed on him to allow peace reign. If he refused, he would have earned the name ʽenemy of democracy.ʼ The judgment of Umeadi led tribunal is still regarded as one of the best when viewed from the legal point of view. It was so detailed and well done that it became difficult for any marauder to manipulate. To Justice Umeadi and his likes in the judiciary, who shun materials benefits to deliver flawless judgment, I say ʽmore grease to their elbows.ʼ
They are the calibre of justices that should rise to the Apex Court and not those that will do just anything to reach the pinnacle of the profession. Justice Umaru Abdullahi has succeeded in laundering his image with this singular case, even though he will still be judged by the outcome of other pending cases at tribunal and appeal levels. In the same vein, the whole country is looking up to Justice Idris Kutigi and his team to come out clean in the Buhari/Atiku case before him. I am not in any way saying that the Apex Court should decide the case in favour of the petitioners. Far from it.
But justice must prevail at the end of the day. We should not sacrifice justice on the flimsy excuse that national interest is at stake. If election riggers did not think about national interest when they committed their heinous crime, then they must not be allowed to enjoy the booties of the office on the excuse of what they did not consider worthwhile in the first place. As it is now, the Supreme Court is already at the centre of some controversies. They have been accused of having sold out. It is said that $30m was shared for them to give YarʼAdua an undeserved win.
One of them has been rewarded by way of free hajj seat from the federal government. These honourable men at the bench must prove all the allegations against them to be false. And the only way to do it is to ensure that justice prevails and must be seen to prevail at the end of the day. Just like his counterpart at the Court of Appeal, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi is leading the team hearing the case. So much is expected from him. If the Supreme Court under him fails, it is him name that will be remembered for the failure in years to come. Not one James Ogebe or Katsina-Alu. A word is enough for the learned.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters