Supreme Court Capitulates, Preserves & Perseveres In Error, Some Implications
By Justice Omenuko
The Supreme Court of Nigeria Tuesday, March 3, 2020 delivered judgement on the application for it to set aside its judgement filed by His Excellency Rt. Ogbuagu Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON KSC FNIFST, upholding its erroneous judgement of January 14, 2020, which removed him and questionably made Senator Hope Uzodimma, the governor of Imo State.
By that decision of the Supreme Court, it has preserved and persevered in error, contrary to the guiding rules of the court which holds that the Supreme Court can accept and correct its errors and mistakes instead of preserving and persevering in its errors and mistakes.
The entire excuses by the Supreme Court for the decision to undermine and overlook all the errors in its erroneous judgement of January 14, won’t and will never exonerate it from culpable complicity in instituting and institutionalizing of a bad precedent for the practice of law and justice in Nigeria.
For generations to come it will be quoted that in Uzodimma v Ihedioha (2019, 2020), the Supreme Court led by the then Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Mohammed, upheld that the Supreme Court can give judgement in favour of a litigant, irrespective of the incontrovertible evidences against the litigant. Offenders can win over the offended!
The implications of the judgement of injustice by the Supreme Court on March 3, 2020 are very wide and varied. It goes beyond quoting the CJN et al as standing up in support of proven fraudulent claims by litigants. It goes up to recording in the annals of the Nigerian judiciary that judgement of injustice can be delivered in favour of a litigant, irrespective of the evidences of improprieties by the favoured litigant.
Of course, it implies that citizens will be wary of bringing their conflicts to the courts of the land for adjudication. Citizens will no doubt have been tacitly encouraged by the Supreme Court to rely on self-help to settle their differrences, which should have been brought before the Nigerian judiciary.
That’s because of the impression that has been created by the Supreme Court of Nigeria that even with core, incontrovertible evidence, a citizen will still lose his rightful claims at the Nigerian courts and judicial system. That’s no doubt recycling the Nigerian people back to the Hobesian state of nature, where life is brutish and short.
Specifically, a citizen may lose his land and landed property, with all his certificate of occupancy and other documentations just because the Supreme Court has so ruled that he must lose it.
A citizen may even lose his life by hanging because the Supreme Court has ruled that he so dies, even when the reason(s) for his sentence of death has been countered by a discovered error of judgement by the Supreme Court.
For instance, a man the Supreme Court sentenced to death by hanging, for an allegation of killing his wife and burying her, but denying it, must be hanged even after his wife was found alive, hale and hearty in another part of town with another man, just because the Supreme Court had so ruled that the husband must die for killing his wife!
Consequently, there are a million judgements of injustice that can be delivered by the Supreme Court to the detriment of citizens with legitimate claims and backing evidence, just because the Supreme Court chose to deliver erroneous judgement on the given genuine claims. And Supreme Court judgement is final!
But it must suffice to say that whatever the Supreme Court may have gained by its misjudgement on Uzodimma v Ihedioha (2019, 2020), the losses are most monumental and will outlive the justices that were used to deliver the very unjust and unfair judgement.
The image of the judiciary has eventually been absolutely dyed irrecoverably black, especially as it concerns the highest court in the land. Since 2015, the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court justices have been under the heat of investigation and probe, with some prosecuted for fraudulent conducts and misconducts!
The Uzodimma v Ihedioha case has completely exposed the Supreme Court as truly being guilty of gross corruption as hinted by President Muhammadu Buhari at his assumption in office in 2015. The Nigerian judiciary nay the Supreme Court is truly drowned in corruption.
Nigerians, by this judgement of injustice by the Supreme Court, will henceforth be too discouraged about going to court, low, high or Supreme, for anything whatsoever, since it’s been confirmed that even with the highest right evidence of claims, a citizen can still suffer collosal loss, defeat and failure at the Supreme Court.
Am not a lawyer. I don’t have any regrets about that. But it doesn’t require my being a lawyer to know that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has institutionalized a very dangerous judicial system and practice in Nigeria that may endager lives and property of citizens that will inevitably make recourse to extra-judicial means of settling their differrences a very necessary option, since there is no guarantee of justice in the courts even with the most relevant evidences.
The government had had to contend with the menace of jungle justice for decades now. And findings indicate that citizens opt for extra-judicial means because of their lack of faith, trust and confidence in the highly compromised law and justice system of the country.
Then, now this! No doubt, the Supreme Court judgement of injustice has furthered the impetus of the Nigerians to take laws into their own hands. That misjudgement depicted the lawlessness and impunity that reigns supreme in Nigeria.
However, the difference between the misjudgement of the Supreme Court and other instances of lawlessness and impunity among Nigerians is that while other forms of lawlessness and impunity are localized between or among two or few citizens, the negative impact of the bad judgement of March 3, 2020 showcased a form of lawlessness and impunity that will affect the entire citizenry at one time or another, probably for many generations to come!
The coming days, weeks, months and years will reenact and display the ugly manifestations of the consequences of the misjudgement by the Supreme Court.
There may no longer be any normal, fraud-free, violence-free elections in Nigeria going forward. It’ll be a matter of mini-civil war with state-of-the-art hardware armaments of real war being deployed to ensure victory in elections by desperate politicians and political parties!
And to safeguard against election petitions, the Nigerian judiciary will suffer more of image damage and decay, as the ever increasing number of carnivorous politicians will further stamped the justices to fall deeper into the crime of bribery and corruption.
That’ll be because the citizens and politicians must have concluded with proofs and evidences from the Supreme Court, that with the right type and size of gratification, injustice can be got, whether justifiably or not!
It also implies that a political party can field multiple candidates and get the courts to disqualify some and qualify some. That was the case in APC fielding Uche Nwosu and Hope Uzodinma as its candidates in the 2019 election. Ultimately, after the same Supreme Court disqualified Uche Nwosu as APC candidate in that election, the same Supreme Court upheld Hope Uzodimma as APC candidate after the election, in which both of them flew two tickets for the same APC in the same 2019 election. Really absurd!
Then, there’s the challenge that posted the major problem in Uzodimma v Ihedioha (2019, 2020); forgery and fraudulence.
The Supreme Court relied on evidently forged result s from a forged 388 polling units, which were presented to the judiciary by Uzodimma as reflecting his excluded votes. But in spite of all in incontrovertible evidences to the forgery and fraud, the Supreme Court went ahead to grant the prayers of the fraudster that made the false claims!
In the next election and going forward any candidate can forge anything and present to the courts. And they will be quoting Hon. Justice Tanko Mohammed, Hon. Justice Kekere Ekun and others as having instituted the practice of any candidate smuggling in forged documents conveying false claims.
All of the above portend very horrible and even terrible future for Nigeria’s shaky democracy and judiciary traumatized by issues of alleged corruption and corrupt practices.
One would only hope the inherent repercussions of the incidences of misjudgements by the Nigeria, particularly the Supreme Court lately doesn’t throw the country into very dire, regrettable consequences! So help Nigeria, God!