Public Commentary

ON PRESIDENT BUHARI AND THE RULE OF LAW

Fiat Justitia Ruat caelum- Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

Let’s make this clear: Nnamdi kanu, Zakzaky, dasuki and others who may have threatened the Nigerian state through their actions and words ought to be prosecuted. Let me also state that i am in total support of president buhari’s war on corruption. Every goat(s/he) that ate the yams of the Nigerian people must(in the words of president buhari) face the consequence of their actions. I agree. I didn’t eat dasuki yam, and I can say the same for my immediate family so I don’t care a brass farthing the prisons they are sent to if found guilty.

But I care about something: I want the rule of law strictly adhered to. I state my reasons as follows;

We are a nation of laws. Nigeria is nigeria,not cuba or saudi arabia or north korea. President buhari also swore an oath to defend the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. Meaning he’s bound by the law in all his dealings. Like they say; without laws we are savages. If war on corruption is the end, disobedience of court orders cannot be the means. I know president buhari has good intentions, but the road to hell they say is filled with good intentions which is why Nietzsche cautioned that “beware when fighting a monster that you yourself do not become one”. It’s also illogical to break the law in our attempt to prosecute those we accuse of doing same. We cannot say the law be damned because we’re battling corruption. I suggest that the vice-president, himself a fine constitutional lawyer and a SAN should give his boss a crash course on how the law works. Prof itse sagay can join him while he’s at it.

The judiciary is not only the last hope of the common man, the judiciary is the last hope of any democracy. You see in any democracy; only the courts have the power of “release him and let him go” like Jesus Christ would say. When a judge gives an order, it must be obeyed no matter how illogical we laymen perceive it. Why? Because our society has decided to live by a constitution and that constitution has vested adjudicatory powers in the judiciary. The president justifying the disobedience of court orders by restating the enormity of the crimes the suspects may have committed is a no-brainer for me.

Now, I share the concern of folks who are worried dasuki and Nnamdi kanu might evade justice or jump bail. But the probability of this happening can be eliminated by instructing the attorney general to put our best prosecutors on the case, or better still lead the case himself. This is because judges are not swayed by emotions or sentiments, they are swayed by facts. And if government prosecutors fail to prove their case; judges as defenders of the temple of justice will have no choice but to grant bail. President buhari should not tow the path of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the united States. Jackson was the first and only president to disobey the order of the US supreme court. Jackson was reported to have said “The judge has delivered his judgment, let him come and enforce it.

It’s 2016, not 1984. When Canadian prime minister Justin trudeau was asked why he nominated equal number of men and women in his cabinet, his reply was simple; because it’s 2015. Any keen observer of president buhari will know he’s a reluctant democrat. Being a former military ruler lording it over nigerians in 1984/1985, he’s used to issuing peremptory orders and i suspect he finds democracy somehow stifling. If buhari had his way, he’d probably suspend the constitution and declare himself chief justice of Nigeria. But Nigeria is a democracy, and he’s president of a democratic nation. President buhari and other Nigerians who support his actions must know that the law exist not to frustrate governments, but to restrain them.

It’s 2016, not 1984.

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