I start with my strongly held view that the rule of law and the rule of force seem hard to reconcile. Democracy can only thrive under the rule of law.
Contemporary legal problems of significance revolve, in the main, around issues concerning human rights, democracy and the people’s rights. The United Nations Organisation has played a major role in forging human rights consciousness around the globe in the last sixty years.
Nigerians witnessed satanic forays into the sphere of their civil and cultural lives between 2000 and 2007, when the human agents of the Luciferian hierarchy turned the people into sacrificial lambs during the 2007 elections in a do-or-die struggle for transient political power. At the end of it all, thousands of innocent Sons and Daughters of God had been sacrificed to the demons the politicians swore to serve.
The political culture of “whatever it takes” is against the rule of law. Yar2Adua’s government’s denunciation of the sub-culture of the do-or die Satanism, helped it to rise above the politics of “whatever it takes” to insist on the rule of law.
So, the government adopted the principle of the rule of law as a guiding imperative of statecraft. This is an undertaking that societal affairs will not be guided by misplaced conscience, ruthless use of power(ODI),behaving as if one were God, just because one bears the title of President, but by humane actions like we witness in the belated Niger Delta attempts at conflict resolution.
To ensure that the rule of law regime thrives, conscientious, highly learned judges, have the bounden duty to use the law wisely. They enjoy discretionary powers to enable them come to the rescue of the oppressed so that they do not suffer jeopardy from strong, demonic recidivists, who are found living in estates, towns and villages.
Their ethos is grounded in wickedness, in absolutist pursuit of discord, rancour and use of force to extort money, gangster-style. Their feet run quickly to evil-mongering. The power of the asp is under their lips. They possess lying tongues and their brains design wickedness. They stalk and kidnap fellow human beings demanding ransom.
In a state where such miscreants live and operate, the judges must raise the banner of protection of human rights, in order to ensure that these human agents of Satan are firmly resisted through the judicial processes. The judge, who acts judicially, judiciously and not maliciously, will forever look anyone in the eyes, speak loudly and clearly, without carrying the burden of guilt, when he per chance confronts those litigants to whom, he sold justice for thirty pieces of silver.
Under the rule of law, the rights of citizens should never be violated through assault, battery, illegal detention, illegal restriction, extortion, harassments, or other forms of criminal conduct and abuse. The sanctity of the human person, which the Nigerian social environment does not seem to hold in high esteem, is sacrosanct, immutable and inviolable.
Wanton acts of irresponsibility, uncouth behaviour, brute force, crudeness of heart, roughness, are the ripened fruits of military-rule induced psychic aberrations, which manifest in shamelessness, bold-faced and bare-faced- I-don’t-care attitude, do-or die manifestations in our people.
One can see and feel the hold of this debauchery by the way some people drive, the way superiors talk to their subordinates, the relationship between the rich and the poor, the North and South.
Some Nigerians are seemingly immersed in rebellious conduct, in oppressing others. Insensitivity in social humans induces psycho-galvanic reflexes, which are insatiable and ill-defined.
In such a state, anarchy and lawlessness will gain the upper-hand, in spite of preaching, exhortation and hortatory statements advocating decorum and civilized conduct.
You cannot successfully re-brand a polity, in which filthy rich people are in power. My late mother-in-law, Mrs Alice Nwosu, a witty ace, used to call such people,” MONEY MISS ROAD.”
Today, they walk the streets, the high-ways and bye-ways, in the corridors of power, with a swagger that can be interpreted to mean that dishonesty is the best policy.
The police must know that justice exempts no one and that their reputation is assaulted by criminals, who commit crimes, in the assured knowledge that they can get around the criminal justice system with ease brandishing the instrument of justice destruction.
It is not our Republic that will go down, but evildoers, in estates, towns, villages across Nigeria. We must act now before the iron laws of “those who sleep upon their rights” throw our souls into the manifold.
WE must use the judicial system to stem the tide of criminal conduct. The judge’s stare must always be penetrating and authoritative.
Complaints about criminal conduct to the police should be taken seriously and must not, as the erring recidivist, want it to be, an instrument for enrichment.
I call upon the Federal Government to re-furbish police stations, barracks and improve their living standards. As the son of a policeman, who grew up in the colonial, well-furnished police habitat, I am appalled to find that the same structures, mostly dilapidated, still stand.
Working under their present miserable conditions, pushes the most patriotic police men to see little virtue in upholding the rule of law.ASUU is luckier in that no FORCE ORDER deters them.
An angelic disposition will crumble if the revered images of ZIK, AWO, and SARDAUNA, keep looking at a hungry policeman, with five children, a pregnant wife, a sick mother and a father, bent double with age. I quite appreciate that “necessity knows no law.”
This may be a police officer, who is investigating a politician, who has confessed to stealing billions! How naïve can one be!
All sociological limitations and impediments to the flowering of the rule of law must be eliminated. The masquerade that dances on empty stomach cannot reach for the spectacular.
There are lawyers and there are legal liars, who give the profession a bad name. They engage in MAINTENACE and CHAMPERTY by encouraging litigations and profiting there from. This has become rampant resulting in “JANKARA PRACTICE.”
The NBA, under the able leadership of one of my good law students at Ife University law school is willing and able to discourage the unwholesome practice and even cause offenders to go through thorough remedial law tutorials in legal culture, in order to learn decorum, so that they do not pollute the TEMPLE OF JUSTICE.
They also need tutorials in English language, so that they do not continue to mutilate the Language, with offensive dialects and impure intelligence.
At the Obafemi Awolowo University (1979-2006), I founded the Radical, Critical Legal School( See, The Colonial Legal Heritage in Nigeria, Caxton Press, 1986). We propagated the theories of radical scholarship. This can be discerned in the progressive legal advocacy of Barrister Femi Falana(1983) ,Deji Sasegbon(1979) Jimoh Ibrahim (1991) Professor Mike Ihariale(1980),Mike Ozekome(1980) Bamidele Aturu, Izi –SAN, AKE, now NBA President, Mrs Elizabeth Esiemokhai(1992),Dr Elizabeth Iyamabo, who rejected her grade and proceeded to beat all records at the London University!
I am proud of all my illustrious students. To see mediocrity walking the corridors of the Halls of Justice is pain wrapped in an enigma.
The rule of law and the rule of force seem hard to reconcile. This article is dedicated to the memory of our colleague, scholar and teacher, Professor Omafume Onoge.