The conviction of Chief Olabode George, former Chairman Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), and four other board members, today at the court of Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole, in Ikeja Lagos, marks another great reference point in the investigation, prosecution, and trial of corruption cases in Nigeria. This is in keeping with the foundation philosophy upon which the EFCC was built at origin.
I salute the courage and intellect of the learned judge who has demonstrated over time that he offers an exemplary model in the fight against corruption and for a true definition of rule of law in the country. This occasion therefore affords us the opportunity to salute other judges in the country that have done well in advancing our jurisprudence on corruption and justice.
As is very well known, the successful resolution of cases in favor of justice and equity commence from a thorough investigation and diligent prosecution. In this regard, we must also salute the long and strained investigation leading to the indictment of Bode George in 2005. At moments like this, investigators and prosecutors, stretched out in exhilarating adrenalin, are rightly thrilled that their hard work is rewarded by the society and its best institutions.
It is however a measure of our present national dilemma that Chief George could later sue some newspapers for libel on account of the damning indictment report I prepared against him. Nevertheless, his subsequent conviction is evidence that ultimately the law catches up with the bad guys, however long it might take.
I believe that cynics in our midst will therefore find therapy in the courageous stature of Justice Oyewole and other judges whose silent but determined courage is helping to reshape the architecture of our rule of law and sense of justice as a people. It is a healthy hope to hold, therefore, that their inspiring examples will guide other courts where cases of grand corruption are still pending.
Nigeria will be great again!
St. Anthony’s College
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
26 October, 2009