The Charade That Is Our Judiciary

From the Farouk Lawal / Otedola saga to the Andrew Yakubu embezzlement, the narrative has followed the same pattern. A media hue and cry followed by a citizenry social media trial that pitters away as soon as the next headline comes along. It is common knowledge that corruption remains the bane of our society but what is startling is the magnitude and scale that surfaces each time. Ours is a society where the GMD of NNPC can be said to be the Lord of the Manor in a Feudal state with his influence, far reaching. While curbing the corruption culture in public service is one part of the dilemma, the biggest malady is plugging the loopholes in our system that allows for one man to gleefully and easily divert almost 10 million dollars in cash to his pocket.

In the past 10 years, there have been a litany of top profile corrupt and fraudulent cases. The Ibori example is an apt reminder that there is no hold bar for our politicians in the embezzlement quest. Ibori’s corruption escapades is well chronicled but each time the figures are rehashed it breaks the heart. This was a man that admitted to looting over 40 billion naira during his 8 years stay as governor of Delta state (1999 – 2007). However, the biggest losers of this case were the people. James Ibori had a Rockstar welcome in Oghara– a man returning from jail for stealing from his people! The drums were agog and the red carpet rolled out for their illustrious son. Afterall, their son was not the only one to travel that path. Call it dementia or collective amnesia, this is the story of ‘we the people.’

In all of these, one has to be sympathetic to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The criticism of a selective war has been levelled on the anti-graft agency; yet, no one can deny that they have done an excellent job of unearthing the country’s fortune illegally acquired by those that should serve us. What is done with these monies are not the business of the EFCC. Theirs is to recover and pass across to the right channel. While the EFCC cannot be entirely absolved of blame in some of their tactics in the war against corruption, the body should be encouraged by all and sundry. For God’s sake it takes some balls to go after some of the names the body have chased and hunted down.

The stories of the Andrew Yakubus, Sambo Dasukis, Diezani Allison Maduekes, Obanikoros, Murtala Nyakos and their many colleagues are prevailing tales of where our Judiciary has proven to be handicapped in role modelling its independence, serve justice as appropriate, and more importantly send a message to all. The shenanigans of our laws and how we have perfected the art of stalling judicial trials of high profile corruption cases is almost standing logic on its head and making a mockery of the corruption crusade. Whether the delays are playing to a script or are default encumbrances inflicted by our judicial process, it must be flushed away.

When all is said and done, what will success look like in the fight against corruption? It is building structures that makes corrupt acts difficult, instilling a culture of discipline and contentment, making scape goats of culprits and government role modelling prudency and cost discipline. It goes without saying that the fight against corruption has been the major pass mark in President Buhari’s scorecard, yet it is not a glowing distinction at the moment.


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