DEAR JULIET, I AM SORRY I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE…
I have pretended for so long that I am happy with what we have, what we share. I put up beautiful pictures of you, of us, online and people shower us with praises; some want what we have but what they don’t know, what you might not know is that all these years with you, I have been unsatisfied… my heart has always yearn for more, for something bigger, for something better.
I have buried my head in that pretense for long, wishing that someone will hand me the happiness, the fulfilment and the “more” that I need. Somewhere in the quite crevices of my mind I have always thought I deserve this “more” but the courage and resources to reach out for it has always eluded me… until I met Jiyoung Sok on the plane on my way from Hong Kong to South Korea recently.
It was love at first sight. She is beautiful in a way that defies elocution. Born of an Ethiopian mother and Korean father, she has a white skin that is embellished with voracious melanin. She looks like a resurrection of Cleopatra. Our eyes locked. I was petrified. She waved me a smile and like a robot, I reached out for her… Jiyoung flew into my arms and stayed there for a mighty long time.
Somewhere in the eternity of that hug, she pulled back and brushed her lips on my cheek. I melted into a solid awakening. That was my moment of epiphany. That was the moment I realized, dear Juliet that I don’t want what we share anymore. That is the moment I got the courage to reach out for the more I have always wanted. Jiyoung Sok’s hug has set me free.
I know you must have sensed that I wanted more, I must have hinted it somewhere in our discussions, and you must have sensed I am tired. Well, if you ever did, you are right… Juliet I am tired. I’m tired of the long calls. I’m tired of the Facebook romance. I’m tired of the smiles and goodnights. I love all of these but I want something more. Please let’s break this… let’s go for “more”… you deserve more too. Don’t you think?
Let’s break this and build from the fine blocks. Some of our friends and relatives might be disappointed, but hey dear Juliet, it’s our happiness we are talking about here. Let’s stop this please. Let’s go to that dark murky future and search for that more. I am not afraid anymore. No matter who I hurt, I want to do this. I deserve this. You deserve this too. Or don’t you?
And I want to do this once and for all. I don’t want to be going back and forth. No. I want to put a final close to where and what we are and have. I don’t want today to interfere with the tomorrow I’m reaching out for. Please don’t blame the Korean beauty, it’s not her fault, this is what I have always yearned for.
So please let’s do this properly once and for all. I will be back to Nigeria soon; so please can I come with my friends and family members to pay your bride price on the 15th of December, 2016? On that same day we will ask your father to bless us and usher us into that “more” that I yearn for.
And on the 17th of December 2016, I will be waiting for you in the church… will you come with your friends and family let’s take a vow breaking what we have and build “more” from the fine blocks?
I love everything you have given me, I enjoy everything we share and have… but I want more… I want a cute little 3-year old like Jiyoung Sok, hugging me every day and brushing her lips on my cheek. I want someone I can annoy for the rest of life, who will not have another house to rush to.
I want us to belong together to the sitting room, the kitchen and the other room… Oh the other room… and we will also conquer the world and impact lives… together.
Dear Juliet, will you come?
Your Boyfriend, who is begging to be your husband,
First Baba Isa.
12:15am, Thursday, 3-November-2016,
Seoul, South Korea.
A lot of people have approached this issue like we always approach everything: it’s either Arsenal or Chelsea, APC or PDP, Black or White, Yes or No, Right or Left… but as Aristotle will say, “Virtue resides in the centre, all others at the extremes are vices.” We need to stop and realize that most times progress and national interest is not in the right or left but in the middle; most times truth is not white or black but a shade of grey.My stance is a little bit of there and here…
Assuming and even partially conceding they are corrupt… Yes, the DSS has tons of evidence against them… Is this the proper way to arrest a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge? Even when a man is sentenced to death, there is a proper way to kill him. If a man has been sentenced to die by hanging, you can’t just take him out and gather your family members to stone him to death.
Someone might argue that dying is dying and killing is killing. But such a submission will be bereft of legality and logic. So, sir, stop waiting for whether they will come out squeaky clean. Even if they don’t come out clean, the procedure adopted by the SSS is faulty prima facie; please note that I didn’t say illegal, we will come to that.
There are salient and noble reasons why procedures for investigating and punishing erring judicial officers are put in place. And one of the reasons is so that the bench should not be shamed and demystified, for want of a better word. A judge should first be removed as a judge before he should be arrested and made to stand criminal trial.
Once a judge, like every other person, is arrested for a crime, the Constitutional presumption of innocence kicks in, meaning such a judge will most likely be released on bail and he continues to be a judge, presiding over cases, while attending his trial. And most of those cases the judge who was arrested by the DSS, the judge standing trial and prosecuted by the DSS, will be brought and prosecuted by the same prosecutors, the DSS. In other words, his prosecutors will be appearing before him as a judge to prosecute other cases. Can you imagine that?
That is why a procedure is put in place to first remove these erring judges through the instrumentality of the National Judicial Council before they are arrested and prosecuted. It is not because they are better than the rest of us, it is for the sanity of the system.
Procedural law is the fuel that drives substantive law to birth justice. You cannot copulate procedural law in the mouth and expect substantive law to birth justice… That might be a waste of national and administrative sperm!
But what if this faulty procedure leads to an unraveling of heavy corruption… As might already be unfolding? Should will throw away the truth because the procedure was faulty?Is the sting operation even illegal? This is where the truth begin to take the colour of grey. Not white. Not black.
I have already stated in clear language that there is procedure of disciplining erring judges. The National Judicial Council is saddled with this responsibility. This is an admirable procedure for the reasons I gave above. But here I am, perusing the Third Schedule, Part 1, Paragraph 20-22, that establishes and outlines the function and powers of the National Judicial Council and I can’t see anywhere here, where it is expressly stated or remotely implied that because of the existence of the NJC, our law enforcement agents cannot arrest a judge for an alleged crime. If you have seen it, please show me.
The NJC as a body is not even empowered to remove a judge, they only recommend a certain punishment to the executive arm of Government to be meted out to the erring judges. So nothing prevents the executive arm of Government from enforcing the law against judges suspected of committing crimes.“The National Judicial Commission (NJC) is responsible for the appointment, discipline/punishment of judicial officers only in respect of breach of judicial ethics, and not crime. Even where a judicial officer has been sanctioned by the NJC for any misconduct, the state still reserves the right to prosecute the erring officer if his misconduct amounts to a crime.”
A corrupt judge cannot be allowed to hide under the procedural cloud of the NJC to evade arrest. We cannot sacrifice justice and the fight against corruption in the judiciary on the altar of decorum.
Breaking down doors and arresting judges in the middle of the night is not the decorous thing to do, infact it is shocking and disgusting but that it is shocking and disgusting doesn’t make it illegal; thus inputting illegality to the DSS operation is nothing but grand mischief designed to tell an already story or play out a script.
The DSS executed their search/arrest warrant as empowered under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA). Section 144 provides for the issuance of search warrant and this warrant may also empower the officer to arrest. Section 148 of the ACJA states clearly “A search warrant may be issued and executed at any time on any day, including a Sunday or Public Holiday.” So those saying it is illegal to arrest them by 1:00 am in the morning are talking out of their imagination and not within the purview of our extant law.
I never thought a day will come when I will see the door of a Supreme Court Justice broken down to effect his arrest. But that day came. But as sad as I am, I will not allow my emotions prevent me from showing us what the law says in this regard. Section 149 (1) of the ACJA states that: “Where any building liable to be search is closed, a person residing in or being in charge of the building, thing or place, shall on demand of the police officer or other person executing the search warrant, allow him free and unhindered access to it and afford all reasonable facilities for its search.” And when unhindered access is denied, what happens?
Go and do a community reading of Sections 9, 10, 12, 13 and 149 (2) of the ACJA and you will see that a law enforcement agent executing a search warrant and/or arrest warrant is empowered to “break open any outer or inner door or window of any house or place” where unhindered access is denied. So if the suspects (judges) denied the agents unhindered access, sad as it is, the hacking down of the door is lawful.
Now to the point of whether the DSS has the statutory responsibility to carry out the raid. A very senior lawyer even claimed that he has read the Act establishing the DSS and nothing therein empowers them to arrest the Judges. Really? Let’s see for ourselves.
Have you forgotten the SSS Instrument 1, promulgated by General Abdulsalam Abubakar? This instrument was promulgated pursuant to the powers conferred on the Head of State by Section 6 of the National Security Agencies Act (the Act that created the DSS). Section 3(1) SSS Instrument 1 states that:“For the purpose of facilitating the discharge of its function under this instrument, personnel of the State Security Service are hereby conferred with the power of Superior Police Officer in respect of searches and arrests”
And before you accuse me of quoting a law made by the military, this instrument has been anointed by section 315 (5)(C) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria; and what the Constitution has blessed no man can curse.
Section 12 of Police Act defines a Police Officer to include, “any officer of an equivalent rank in other security agencies”Section 7 of the same Act states unequivocally that, “police officers, custom officers, any member of the Armed forces and Security Agencies can arrest without warrant, any person committingan offence prescribed by law”. So I don’t know where some persons conjured the submission that a DSS operative cannot arrest.
We all feel bad about the arrest but the arrest is lawful. I don’t want to belong to a profession where judges are hounded, intimidated and arrested like common suspects by security agents; but I don’t also want to belong to a profession where judges sell justice like yams in a bazaar to the highest bidder.
I want the law enforcement agents to hold off until a judge has been disciplined by the NJC before they can make arrest and prosecute but if the NJC is glossing over petitions, being tardy and letting off corrupt judges with a slap on the wrist then by all means let the law enforcement agents swoop on the judges.
Break down the door if you must but by all means stop corruption on the bench. I am a young lawyer and the law is my life. I burn the midnight candle to be the best for my clients and to get to the apex of this profession but my hard work won’t stand a chance before a corrupt judge who sells justice like oranges.
But don’t just break the doors of judges, break the doors of some ministers, break the doors of some legislators, break the doors of some politicians, break the doors of some military officers, break the doors of some law enforcement agents, break the doors of some activists… go on, break doors; maybe we will have enough wood from the broken doors to build the broken fabric of our nation.
First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and the President of Lawyers For Peace Initiative; he writes from Abuja
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Fellow Nigerians, the biggest story everywhere at this moment is that Nigeria is broke, as poor as a church rat. The frustration of our citizens is boldly written on many faces. Even the rich are crying. Depending on who you talk to, Nigeria is broke because of the profligacy of the PDP-led government in 16 years of the current democratic dispensation. According to these persons, the worst victim and our ubiquitous scapegoat is Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who reigned fully as President for five years out of the 16 fabulous years of PDP misrule. For my part, I sometimes wonder if the politicians under Jonathan stole more money than under his predecessors. And then, what of the PDP politicians who absconded over to APC in the gale of unprecedented desertions that rocked and ravaged that inglorious political party? What happened to all the traced loot and recovered cash at home and abroad, not just under President Buhari but also under Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan? Others profess that Nigeria is broke simply because, since independence, we have not put together a coherent economic and social policy capable of harnessing the abundant human and material resources that God has deemed fit to endow us with. We have embarked on disastrous development plan after disastrous development plan and never been able to put together a creditable and veritable team of individuals that could make some sense of those plans and salvage them. In short we have lacked competent hands at the helm of our affairs. The problem is not therefore with Jonathan and his ilk of seeming merry bandits but with all those that have led us to date although some have clearly been more culpable than others.
Whichever view you subscribe to, the question now on every lip is: could Nigeria be broke? It is difficult to imagine that a country that was declared the biggest economy in Nigeria barely three years ago has suddenly transfigured into a miserable apparition and a laughing stock in the comity of nations. But I personally refuse to believe Nigeria is as broke as our leaders now make out. I have listened to series of arguments on why the Nigerian economy has plummeted from the pinnacle of the temple to the deepest depth of the abyss. The most constant and plausible prognosis is that Nigeria was a disaster waiting to happen and that Jonathan as the undertaker had only succeeded in embalming the dead body in order to keep it looking fresh while the soul was already gone.
As a Minister assured me, it was only a matter of time; Nigeria would have collapsed on Jonathan and led to our hasty interment as a nation if he had stayed longer. My response was that why did President Muhammadu Buhari offer to be the lamb of God by allowing a danger that could not be averted to collapse on his own head? Or why could he not stabilise the nation at the state and stage he met it without the country running dangerously amuck the way it is doing right now? There is a Yoruba saying that: orisa boo le gbemi, se mi boo se ba mi (if the gods can’t make our lives better, they should simply leave us the way they met us! That is the cry of those who feel Buhari has failed on his promise to save Nigeria from the perfidious reign of PDP. What is most galling to most observers is the endless accusations and counter allegations from the past and the present governments. I had advised the APC government to stop the blame game long ago so as to save itself the barrage of attacks from those who are only interested in results and not excuses. Such people do not care if Buhari decides to hang Jonathan and all past operatives of PDP combined as long as our economy stops this kamikaze plunge.
I’m certain the situation won’t improve until the government wakes up to its responsibilities. The government cannot retain the old style of governance and expect a drastic and monumental change in our lives. The cost of governance is still atrociously high. Our style is still ostensibly ceremonial and definitely ostentatious. We can’t continue to practise capitalism without capital.
For starters, and to demonstrate his seriousness and resolve to tackle our almost comatose state, President Buhari needs to butcher the presidential fleet and the lavish protocol and fanfare that seems to attend every departure from Abuja and subsequent return. That is the beginning of our salvation. Jesus Christ demonstrated he could float on water before asking his disciples to join him. That is the way to go.
Our State houses are over-funded and one cannot justify the level of expenditure required to maintain them. Political aides are too many. Their roles duplicated and sometimes triplicated. They have become major drainpipes for a bleeding economy. The end result is that they confuse and obfuscate rather than bring clarity and discernment to a system that is already in the throes of death.
Our parastatals are too many, too large and too unwieldy. Our airports, both international and domestic, which serve as the first advertisement of our country to that much sought after potential investor that the government that the government craves are an eyesore and remain most useless despite the many agencies directing and controlling affairs there and the vast sums of money supposedly spent in trying to transform them. I do not know of any nation with such a propensity for self-destruction. This cannot continue.
My humble suggestion as always is that the Federal Government should stop behaving as if it has all the time in the world to fix our problems. It should endeavour to fight corruption and poverty simultaneously. We must replace what there was with what there is. Not all cases of corruption are high profile or derive from greed. The most endemic form of corruption is the one that has percolated across all of us out of necessity or desperation. Corruption would always be attractive when and where the needs of man cannot be met. This is usually corrected in most advanced nations through credit systems, social welfare, scholarships and loans, etc.
We cannot continue to preach to empty stomachs. The attitude of saying we are suffering because corruption has been blocked is no longer tenable. If this is true, what would happen is that only the poor man would bear the brunt. Those who have stolen in arrears and in advance would always get by. The poor have nowhere to go except to device their own means through petty bribes, armed robbery, beggarly existence, blackmail, kidnapping, brigandage, terrorism and so on. The fact that this can only be counter-productive to economic and social development cannot be refuted.
The Federal Government should make its priorities known to the people. It should not operate like a secret cult. There is no better government than an open and transparent government. The world today is just one wholesome unit because nothing is secret anymore. Social media has put paid to the arcane art of secret government that our previous leaders practised. Much traction would be obtained by a government that keeps its people informed of what it is doing in all areas of its operation and the challenges it faces rather than one that is selective in what it tells the people. I know that the average Nigerian is understanding, patient and forgiving if provided with information that it can properly digest.
Government should regularly make public its plans. The President himself should talk to the nation on a regular basis. It shows not only that he has a human face but the people can resonate with him, after all it is him they elected and not his coterie of advisers. It is an archaic way of governance and a relic of the military way of governance for spokesperson to issue press releases on behalf of the President. That is why there is often great confusion from the multitude of messengers deployed by the Government to disseminate information on its behalf.
The President’s blueprint to resuscitate and restore the economy of this country should be well thought out and articulated. It cannot be done by mere slogans, mantra and platitudes. The President’s word must have the force of conviction and should be practised as much as it is preached. The blueprint must be easy to execute. The President cannot do everything at once and his adoring public knows this. However, we believe that the President can do many things and that is why fought for him and we elected him. Once the generality of Nigerians can see that the President is proactive that would change the perception that this government is doing nothing, whereas I am sure it is doing a lot.
Once government can reduce the cost of governance and concurrently reduce corruption, it should invest heavily and urgently in infrastructure, especially our roads, airports and railways. All the talk about diversifying the economy is futuristic. Nigerians need to begin to feel the impact of this “change” government. Projects that will immediately impact on the people and alleviate their present suffering should be implemented. Palliatives to soothe the deep wounds and hurt of the people should be put in place even if it entails greater sacrifice on the part of government and some form of quantitative easing. For instance, I am sure that the NNPC under its new dynamic leadership can put together a package that will help the generality of Nigerians. Within one year, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State is already considered a success because he is investing in visible things rather than nebulous ventures. There is a feelgood factor in the air in Lagos State. If Lagos can do it the Federal Government has no reason to fail. It is gratifying that Lagos continues to be in the vanguard of unprecedented development and improvement for its people.
Education is another key area to invest in. Until we bring our schools to international standards, travelling abroad would continue unabated and our scarce resources would be donated to even much smaller countries in Africa. The Federal Government should treat the issue of education as of utmost emergency. I would rather we educate our kids and sponsor the brightest of them to the best schools in the world than give dollars at cheaper rate to pilgrims. So many families would be affected and touched by this gesture. We should borrow from the examples of China, India and others. They sent their kids to the best schools wherever they could find one and by the time they returned home, they started changing the economic and socio-political landscapes of their beloved countries. Nigerians are as brilliant as they come and if given the opportunity they will fly to the moon. We cannot compete in today’s world without quality education.
The Federal Government needs to jazz up its style. I will continue to say it, there are many distinguished Nigerians out there who can help reposition our country in the right direction. We should stop making governance look like rocket science. Even within APC, there are known and tested geniuses who have the knack for discovering talents and nurturing them. One such person is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Lagos is what it is today because since 1999, Lagos has been blessed with young and vibrant leaders. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was once Vice President and since leaving power he has displayed uncommon business acumen. He has also invested in one of the best schools in Nigeria today. There is no reason these men cannot be given special roles when it is obvious that this government needs to inject more verve into its contentious capabilities. A man who asks for the way would never get lost on the road, according to a Yoruba proverb. I’m not sure APC has made sufficient use of the amazing talents available in Nigeria. President Buhari should go beyond politics and politicians and do the needful. Nigeria is too great and naturally endowed to be sentenced to archaism and antiquity.