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Justice Abang: An embarrassment to judiciary – by Don Ubani

Okon Abang has so debased himself that he is now stripped of any iota of respect; he constituted himself as a ridiculous embarrassment to the Judiciary.

Impartial and timely dispensation of justice is what makes the human society a civilized community. 

The difference between the wild animal kingdom and the polished human polity lies only in justice.

This is why it is believed that democracy is the best form of government. 

As it is generally said, a democratic government, no matter how bad it could be perceived, remains, by far, better than any form of government that one could imagine.

The above is because democracy thrives almost seamlessly in the rule of law.

If there was no democracy, the human society would have been a horrible jungle where only the strong would survive.

Beneficiaries of the rule of law must remain eternally grateful to the English Lawyers and Jurists, Henry de Bracton and Edward Coke both of who had originated the principle of the rule of law about 1260 AD and expounded in the 16th century, respectively.

The French legal system which had emphasized the rule of law from a principle it had tagged ‘La Principe de Legalite, insisting that the law is King above kings, should also not be forgotten by us, the beneficiaries.

Before a lawyer is appointed a judge, that is transiting from The Bar to The Bench, it is expected that such a person must have been properly schooled and learned in the rudiments of the rule of law.

Simply put, the rule of law is a fundamental legal operational device or mechanism that guarantees harmony between conflicting parties in a society. 

It assures justice through just and effective regulation and restraint.

Taking cognizance of the fact that man is naturally fallible, the rule of law makes provision for different levels of administration of justice.

In this wise, a citizen who believes he has not been fairly treated in a magistrate court could appeal against an unfavourable judgment at the High Court of Justice.

Depending on his discretion and capability, he could get to the Supreme Court via the Court of Appeal.

Justice is the commonest desire of man and the rule of law has provided enough windows for justice to be seen to be done in human society.

For justice to be appreciated as the soul of the society, judicial officers, especially judges who literally have the ‘power of life and death’ in their hands, must be detached from the frailties of greed, insatiability, quest for materialism, ineptitude and resort to partiality and vindictiveness.

A Judge that is materialistic can easily set the society on fire simply because of the amount of money he has collected from either a plaintiff or respondent, not minding the balance of justice.

On the 27th of June, 2016 one Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja gave a very unjust, faulty and infamous judgment, in which he ruled to have sacked the duly elected Governor of Abia State, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D. due to what he termed false information on his tax documents.

The most ridiculous aspect of his judgment was not the sack order but the unjudicial fiat he issued that the Independent National Electoral Commission should immediately issue the beneficiary of his heavily peculiarly induced judgment, Uche Ogah, with a certificate of return.

Why should this type of draconian order be issued, with the adverb ‘immediately’ when Okon Abang knows that the administration of justice provides the Governor with two other windows of appeal above his court?

Again, in a case as sensitive as a suit praying for the removal of a governor, a Governor whose people had not tasted governorship since the history of Nigeria despite being the majority in their State and not withstanding that the Governor was a public servant before resigning to contest the election, the pertinent question is, should a judge, other than due to financial inducement, base his judgment on the strength of an originating summons which does not allow the respondent or accused to have witnesses?

Removing a governor in the above circumstance could be easier said than done. 

In the first instance, a judge that knows his onions should have directed that the plaintiff/applicant should come by way of writ of summons, in which the respondent/defendant would be given the opportunity to defend the spurious allegation of false information against him.

In that case, the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue which issued the tax document should have been subpoenaed to either own or disown the authorship of the documents.

Because of the huge amount of money Abang had collected from Uche Ogah he desperately turned justice upside down.

Even when it was clear that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had filed his appeal against Okon Abang’s notorious judgment, the judge selfishly refused to realize that he had disgracefully lost jurisdiction to continue with the case. 

What a shame! Judges, by their discipline and conduct are a rare gem that naturally attract respect. 

In the case of Okon Abang, he has so debased himself that he is now stripped of any iota of respect.

In fact, Okon Abang has constituted himself as a ridiculous embarrassment to the Nigerian Judiciary.

Kudos must, however, be given to the Justices of the Appeal Court, headed by Hon Justice Morenike Ogunwumiju, for restoring the image of the Nigerian Judiciary which Okon Abang has been working most irresponsibly to destroy by upholding the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

I must say that by allowing justice to prevail in Governor Okezie Ikpeazu vs Uche Ogah, the Appeal Court had gone thousands of kilometres saving Abia State from the most terrible state of anarchy, lawlessness and mass killing and destruction that would automatically have befallen Abia State, especially in Aba.

Don Ubani; KSC, JP, Okwubunka of Asa, Executive Director Centre For Equity & Eradication of Rural Poverty.

 

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