In Nigeria, Powerful Habits Die Hard: The Failure of the Colonial Legal System

by Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai

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The following information was submitted on 11-04-2013:

First Name: emmanuel
Last Name: esiemokhai
Country: nigeria
In Nigeria, powerful habits like the quest for money, unearned fame, love for tribal affiliations, condoning corrupt practices, inordinate ambition for political office, showing off stolen national wealth, peddling of cheap influence, die hard.

Translucent manifestations of lawlessness, debauchery, kidnappings, joblessness, hopelessness, incompetence, unlawful social acts that endanger the citizens and create fear and insecurity hardly create the quality of life evinced in a democratic society.

Some Nigerians do not value the rewards of excellence. When young, they do not receive the necessary guidance to life’s purpose and so, have no systematic approach to greater tomorrows’ challenges.

Since the youth did not set clear lifes’ objectives; they tend to drift into the devil’s calling. This manifests later, when they become, by virtue of the entrenched, socially unjust, quota system, ministers, and directors, who cannot perform until they are belatedly removed in ministerial reshuffles, only to be replaced by former non-performance adepts.

The burden of political arrangements in Nigeria lies in the tacit toleration of incompetent persons in high office.

Instead of treating them with contempt, some people genuflect before them for the sake of perceived favours and so, the rot continues unabated.

A system of how to govern Nigeria has not yet been put in place. If the National Dialogue fails to grapple with our disorganized socio-economic malaise, the circus of guess-work, Ad hocism and the opinions of dead woods will continue to simmer.
There appears, to grip the nation, an irresistible force that controls the state, put the polity in stitches, making it materially impossible for the state to perform its obligation to the people.

No government ministry has presented a detailed, theoretical/analytic blueprint on how to advance the Nigerian project, in the last ten years. The Ministry of National Planning was moribund.

A major opportunity was missed, when Dr Idika Kalus’ prescriptions were set aside for want of the composite intellectual grasp needed to implement his blueprint.
The hazards of mediocrity blink incessantly as rhetoric, misplaced logic trail the national political landscape.

Government statements that should inform, motivate, recommend, persuade, instruct, reinforce and impress, end up antagonizing reasoned suggestions and informed criticisms.

This usually result from puerility of mind, fear of losing power and uncultivated, unsophisticated minds that are narrow, that lack wisdom and revelation knowledge or sense knowledge or both.

Good governance has become elusive in Nigeria. Government must bear in mind that it is bound by the social contract with Nigerians to observe the principles of proper management of public affairs and public property, fairness, responsibility and equality before the law and the need to foster integrity and to cultivate a rejection of the prevailing and pervasive culture of corruption.
Hypocrisy adorns the reaction of the media to issues concerning corruption in Nigeria. The tone of condemnation is determined by the ethnic origin of the proven, or alleged perpetrator or perpetrators of the corrupt practice or practices, under review.

I have studied twenty cases of corruption in very high places, involving leading political leaders.
It is very revealing how tribalism conditions the tone of reactions to evil-doing in Nigeria.

The son-of-the soil “merely” brought to the clan, what he or she cut from the national cake and so, did no wrong !

Engraved inability by Nigerians to call a thief a thief, especially if he comes from your village or clan is hard to understand.
The National Conference or Sovereign National Conference must discuss openly whether the LUGARD CURSE must be exorcised for good.

The Nigerian legal system has proved inoperative as a societal, regulatory institution. The contempt that I have had for the British Colonial legacy in Nigeria has crystallized after reviewing some landmark political judgments by the Supreme Court and other judicial institutions.

There are poor presentation of cases in Nigerian courts, the illogicality of decisions, which often draw “authority” from hackney, ritualistic and inelegantly drafted “ratios” that have progressively gotten worse with the decline in legal academia.

There are five legal systems in the world; the Code Civil Francais, Das Bundesgetze Book, the Soviet Legal System, Common Law and the Roman-Dutch System.
These systems, except Common Law,are not taught under the Nigerian Legal System.
As a result, the content, the wealth of legal literature, logic and language in use in Nigerian courts are severely narrow and limited. Yet, we talk of learned people!

Tribal irredentism die-hard in Nigerian politics, where the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo benefiaries from age-long corrupt enrichment terrorize others with threatening strategies to continue to rule Nigeria, in their own interests, merely incorporating willing minority minions for equation balancing. What cleverness and sagacity!

The new so-called opposition parties are made up of the old political adventurers, who now seek new alliances to govern under new colourations.
Of course, we are not deceived, but what can the people do?
Political turn-coats are highly migratory opportunists.
Can any aspiring political Huegonauts declare how they have become billionaires, when they were neither buying nor selling? Were they paying taxes, as and when due?

A New Supreme Court and other judicial bodies will replace the present structures that represent the COLONIAL LEGAL HERITAGE of Her Majesty’s Colonial legal system, that we are inefficiently and ineffectively confusing our Republic with.

As a Senior Research Fellow in Law at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, (1991-2), I meticulously studied how the American Republicans jettisoned the British colonial legal heritage after the American Revolution in 1776 and evolved the present American jurisprudence.

We have a plan for all SANS and other Nigerian lawyers to disgorge all they labouriously learnt from British-tailored Nigerian legal system and embrace a new legal philosophy, grounded in formal logic, social Nigerian relevance, Nigerian ethos, reformed Nigerian traditions, culture and history.
Wearing of wigs made from synthetic fiber and the hairs of dead British paupers must be discarded.

The unholy liaison between unprofessional lawyers and judges with misplaced consciences, the abolition of ad-hoc legal bodies, like ICPC and EFCC, will be inaugurated.

After these herculean tasks, the Nigerian state will enthrone social justice and not legal justice, social correction, not legal correction, social change, not legal reforms, social regulation, not purely legal regulation, social consciousness, not pseudo-legal consciousness, social engineering, not police and military intelligence operations.

A society that is so governed with social order relations is called a social democracy and that is what a Sovereign National Conference should be called to do.
At BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, seminar participants are regularly amazed at the level of political discourses by would-be-presidents of future Nigeria.
Many are tainted with serious and very serious past crimes, which, in better organized societies, they would be serving long prison sentences in maximum security prisons and not disturb our miserable peace, regaling us with rhetorical torrents.

Although this article is not about military intelligence and diplomacy, my cherished intellectual concerns,
With regards to the dirty tricks activities of

spy agencies, I hereby posit that in international relations there are no permanent allies but permanent interests.

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