The Spirit of the Law: The Spirit of the Law published in 1748 Chapter 2 Baron De Montesquieu said: There is no true liberty if the judicial power is not separate from the legislative power and exercise power. If the judicial power were joined with the legislative power, then control over life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, because the judge would be a law maker. If it were joined to the executive power, the judge would be enabled to have the strength of an oppressor. Therefore the powers of the judge should be measured and reasonably deployed.
The character of a good judicial system:
A good judicial system must be characterised by impartiality, consistency , openness, predictability and stability. Is the Nigerian judicial system in abeyance of this basic expectation ? The judiciary is the third arm of government. It is made up of the laws , the judges and the court system that interpret the laws. It is the last hope for the citizens, the oppressed and the marginalised in society.
The judiciary must show a spirit of equity, independence, efficiency, firmness and confidence to be respected. Developments in our judicial system in recent times do not give us much hope.
Go to court’ and meet Team Bulkachuwa :
Christopher Akor writing in Business Day of Thursday of 15 June 2923 said It is an open secret that we no longer have a judiciary. They’ve been emasculated, corrupted by the ruling party and the entire institution hollowed out.
I disagree with him because the third estate of the realm is well and alive though challenged just like the other arms of the state. I wonder how it’s possible to have a truly clean judiciary in the midst of the dirt that have become of the state and some its key institutions in recent years. For instance all Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairmen after Nuhu Ribadu all the way to Abdul Rasheed Bawa have either been sacked or suspended for getting their hands dirty or failing in their mandate in office.
In 2019, at the Presidential Elections Petition Tribunal, the president of the court of appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwu, despite her obvious conflict of interest, wanted to remain chair of the panel and practically had to be dragged to recuse herself . But Nigerians didn’t take notice and continued to think we have a judiciary. Well, Justice Bulkachuwa’s husband, the APC Senator representing Bauchi North until June 12, has finally dispelled all doubts: said he
“Particularly my wife, whose freedom and independence I encroached upon while she was in office. She has been very tolerant and accepted my encroachment and extended help to my colleagues ….” What type of help is the distinguished senator talking about ? Why did honourable judge tolerate encroachment from the husband and why did we deliberately turn our heads away when we know the opposite of good is taking place?
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan had to quickly cut him short to contain the damage, exclaiming: “Ah! Distinguished, please. I don’t think it’s a good idea going this direction. It’s not a good idea. It’s not a good idea please.” Mr Akor wrote.
This happened with cameras rolling and some senators shouting him down while others wanted his microphone turned off to prevent further damage from happening. The Senate President (Ahmed Lawan) wasn’t happy with this type embarrassing disclosure during the valedictory session of the Senate. There is little he could do as the Senate washed it’s under wears in public.
Message to the citizens:
First ,might is right it doesn’t matter if you are wrong as long as you are on our side then you can get away with anything.
Second, the international community would also look down on us and our institutions as they are not sure of what to believe anymore.
Finally the citizens would argue that if the court of appeal can be pressed and influenced as claimed , then same can be done to the Supreme Court justices and innocent may be pronounced guilty and vice versa.
I am convinced that this is the case with very few judges but unfortunately one dirty case in this type of situation taints all the other judges. The people request a very thorough investigation to put things right and know who the Bulkachuwas have been helping over time. “I rest my case me Lord”
Michael Umogun is a Chartered Marketer with interest in public policy.