Osinbajo Ridiculed United Looters Of Nigeria At Harvard
Farouk Martins Aresa
The Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo was invited to Harvard University Divinity School to give a lecture on Boko Haram by Professor Olupono. He gave informed overview in limited time last Thursday. It was the follow-up questions that caught the writerís attention. What provoked his comment about United Looters of Nigeria was whether the money allocated to the military was well spent. A week earlier, former President Jonathan had defended it with arm purchased.
When someone asked about differential treatment and marginalization, the Vice President as a skillful lawyer and Senior Advocate noted that when Nigerians loot, they do it as united clique of people. You would find different ethnic and religious groups united. But as soon as they cry marginalization, it usually comes at the expense of one ethnic group inciting other members that would hardly share their loot. The whole audience roar in approval and laughter!
On his way out after the lecture, this guy kept on asking him why the Executive was attacking the Judiciary without due process or the rule of law in a democracy. Before the V.P walked closer, this writer had given the same guy a piece of his mind. He was asked if the countries that applied the rule of law and due process in a democracy granted bail to their worst offenders. If he knew that Western Democracy would kidnap, worldwide, their worst terrorist suspects!
Corruption in Nigeria is worse than terrorism many countries face. The last time we checked, Western Democracy kidnapped suspected terrorists in Europe and American without due process or the rule of law. Indeed, some of them are still in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. This kept the guy quiet for a while until the Vice President got closer. Since he was given all the attention he wanted during and after the lecture, there was no point arguing with him again.
The real question for the Vice President should have been why the Country waited this long, until Buhari, to deal with corrupt judges on the bench. Some of them have frustrated efforts by dedicated prosecutors to bring rogues to justice. It became easier to convict looters outside the Country than inside because some of these judges were bribed by many parties before them.
The Nigerian Bar Association know these corrupt judges that soil the reputations of people of high caliber that make up their profession. No government wants to be seen as tampering with the judiciary because of the separation of power. However, it is not a license to take kickbacks and hide under the rule of law, due process and democracy. There is no immunity for judges to commit a criminal act while in office and wrap themselves in democracy.
It can be very frustrating for a counsel to go before a judge knowing that no matter how good the case or how sharp your skill, your case would be decided by how deep the pocket of your clients are. Even more frustrating for the clients that know they are right in their pursuit of justice. This is what leaves a country poorer in morality, ethics and fairness. A country without law and order becomes a jungle without sins. Our judges must uphold the law, not subvert the law.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo came up through the legal system and as a former practitioner of law in government and private practice know a thing or two about the corrupt judges defiling their profession. We have all been in a position where we could not raise our voices in front of an oppressor, even when we know who the culprits were. By the time you become the Vice-President, your President would tap your knowledge about corruption in your profession.
Whenever a body is afflicted with metastatic cancer, nothing can save it but a radical surgery or the body dies! Nobody gives that type of cancer due process or the rule of law in a democracy. This is why the Western Democracy we inherit these rules from fight terror with everything theyíve got. If they do not, there will be no country to protect. These corrupt people have no more stake in Nigeria. Their children and close families are living and schooling abroad.
So if Nigeria breaks today, corrupt judges like their political cronies have nothing to lose. They actually have more to gain since they would have exported their foreign currencies outside. Crying bloody murder and rape of democracy would not fool those well aware of their games. It is the innocent, naÔve and uninitiated that would fall for their hypocrisy.
One of the judges claimed he made his money from selling rice! Haba, even mama Fatai whose rice is enhanced with fried plantain and beans, the whole neighborhood got addicted to, never had a fraction of their money in foreign currency at home. All crooked businessmen claim they made their money from trade but never paid commensurable tax to governments reflecting their income. The Country itself is getting poorer as they bleed it dry, not richer. A kid stole from her mother. When queried, she said she wanted to go to Congress. Thatís what they do!
While Osinbajo trumpeted the success of President Buhari on Boko Haram and Corruption, some of his demeanor came through watching him closely. Unlike other politicians that gave similar lecture, he was prepared, unassuming, reassuring and confident in his delivery and answers. Some undiscerning people may undermine his stature; his skill in the courtroom and among peers showed a man that was able to overcome physique with hard work and intellect.
Of course most politicians are brilliant, for someone that made his way through the system, this man still has a clean record that he can be proud of. Meeting him for the first time, without claiming to be a prophet or a palm reader, Osinbajo may have just started a long career as a Vice-President. If he keeps it up and not tempted by all the feferities and accolades that come with the staff of office, he may have the highest role to play in the future of Nigeria governance.
He happens to be another Nigerian where clean and permanent leaders still evade presentation from the Western part presently, to the rest of the Country. Osinbajo, like other conscientious Nigerians may be that leader. He is still considerably young and talented. The writer is aware of who appointed him for Buhari, but sometimes God works in a mysterious ways amazing us.
As long as he remains steadfast with Buhari in their fight against corruption, no matter whose ball is squeezed, Osinbajo has a long way to go.