By Taiwo Abiodun-Oni
A most lurid confession recently defiled the solemnity of our Senate, exposing an underbelly of corruption that taints the very robes of justice itself. This unabashed revelation implicates the pinnacle of our judicial body, none other than the Court of Appeal, in the greasy hands of corruption.
The husband of the past President of the Court of Appeal, himself an erstwhile Senator, brazenly admitted to wielding his marital connections like a sinister scepter, manipulating verdicts in favor of his legislative brethren.
Only the naïve or deliberately blind would refute that corruption has sunk its venomous fangs deep into the Nigerian judiciary. I, for one, have never shied away from pronouncing it as our nation’s most corrupt institution. Even in my youthful law school days, I would hear hushed tales of judges trading righteous verdicts for lascivious indulgences. Thus, my shock has long worn thin at the degenerate depths to which our judiciary will plunge in its festering love affair with corruption.
A biting irony, one that seemed to glide unnoticed amidst the scandalous Senate uproar, was the intervention of the outgoing Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. His quick tongue offered caution to the scandal-stirring Senator, a plea to cease his unwelcome truth-telling colloquially known as ‘off your mic’.
This twisted turn of events smacks of irony, for Lawan himself barely skirted past his Senate term, not having even participated in the Senatorial level primary election. However, through some judicial sleight of hand, he conveniently morphed into his party’s senatorial standard-bearer.
The adage goes that the gods first strike with madness those they wish to expose. The confession-spilling Senator seemed to be dancing to the eerie tune of unseen puppet masters, hell-bent on unveiling these ungodly, nocturnal machinations. One would assume that a marital bed, particularly one shared by such high-profile figures, should be a haven for respite rather than a marketplace for political bartering.
What truly grates against the grain of progress is that a woman of such stature, who likely waged countless battles to ascend to her lofty position, would willingly succumb to the manipulative whims of her antiquated spouse.
The direst aspect of this debacle is our nation’s legal blindness – the fact that our laws shield spouses from testifying against each other, and that the National Judicial Council (NJC), the solitary entity with the constitutional authority to reprimand errant judges, are themselves the embodiment of decay.
Yet, I would stake my reputation on the prediction that the NJC will demonstrate a spineless acquiescence in this matter. For the NJC, like many other institutions within our borders, is nothing more than a cabal of nefarious schemers, content to rot in their own corruption.