Chief Justice Ariwoola: Why You Should Also Engage in Head-Shaking Regarding The Lawan v. Machina Case

Feature Article Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola
FEB 7, 2023 LISTEN
Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola

This Misguided Court Decisions During Election Times Does Not Help The Nation Move Forward, Sadly

Dear Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, in my road to becoming a criminal justice specialist, forensic and clinical psychologist, I still remember in my criminal law class a requirement for graduate criminal justice students, my professor here in America said this to us: "Da mihi factum, dabo tibi ius“(give me the facts, I will give you the right).

Like most places in the world this phrase is at work with magistrates and judges, I want to believe, though the Nigerian judicial system is sometimes known to be dominated by corrupt practices, that there are still judicial officers like you that have heard and practiced "give me the facts, I will give you the right"

My Lord that special bag you carry, apparently referred to as the ‘bag of Qu’ran.’ Which could contain other personal and official items reminds me of what I can say is a bag of truth and goodness and even treats.

Lord Ariwoola as the chief manager of the courts’ internal affairs, unlike never before preserving a sense of fairness is so needed now. As such is good for your personal health, the health of the courts and our young democracy.

I was once told by one of my forensic psychology professors that a vast majority of judicial processes started because two people (or more) when there is a dispute and one of them goes to the Courts in pursuit of justice.

Lord Ariwoola, you are definitely aware of a Yobe north senatorial district case where senatorial candidate Bashir Sheriff Machina and the recently defeated presidential aspirant Senate President Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are involved.

It is on legal and public record that in September 2022, one of your courts, the Federal High Court in Damaturu, under the presiding judge, Justice Fadima Murtala Aminu delivered judgement on the rightful candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District for the 2023 National Assembly elections, which is Machina.

In November 2022, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, by a three-person panel that was led by President of the Court, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen, again affirmed Machina as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 Yobe North Senatorial District election.

Lord Ariwoola, Justice Centus Chima Nweze delivered the majority judgment of the Supreme Court by doing something funny, overturning two merit-based judgments during an edgy political period like now. Just less than 20 days to go into a mammoth national election. A 10-year-old social studies student described it to me as ridiculous, when he heard me talking about this odd matter. What must have influenced the trio, money, or fear or both?

Lord Ariwoola, on the basics of technicality, Justice Nweze delivered a majority ruling, in favor of Lawan, who did not participate in the primary for National Assembly elections. As he was at the time a presidential contestant for the ticket of the ruling party, which was held on June 8, 2022. A Nigerian attorney, Danba Pius, noted Justice Nweze, delivery was based on "...the mode or way or manner of commencing a court action ought not to defeat a case full of merit. In other words, if it is true that Mr. A won the election, does it matter that he files his case by petition or writ of summons? How does use of forms alter the facts of the case?"

Lord Ariwoola, this type of conclusion based on the reason that wrong forms were used despite the naked signs of merit all over this matter is at best risky judicial interference in purely political party matters.

While we recognize your Lord for a very long time as a veteran in the Nigerian judiciary, you should be concerned with some degree of shame and worry about this apparently suspicious and absurd manner of Justice Nweze and two other Justices. As it generates a sense of impunity and possible danger in times like this.

Lord Ariwoola, the unusual involvement of the court in a very sensitive time like this with conclusions that look prejudicial and biased in its face because of procedural approaches.

Sidelining the mountain of merits of the case shows lack of fairness and impartiality, and lack of fear of Allah/God as well as posterity.

Lord Ariwoola, is it every case your court should take fully or be engaged in? As Chief Justice could you begin to boldly start taking position to reassert some degree of control on unnecessary interferences?

Lord Ariwoola, are you not perturbed by the continued stunning indictment of the judicial unethical system as it relates to political activism by judges?

Lord Ariwoola, it is only realistic that you put a stop to these nonsensical that look legally, morally, spiritually, and behaviorally absurd.

Lord Ariwoola, I do not know the level of your faith and the likes of the Justice Nweze and his two judges in this case, I couldn't care less whether you believe God/Allah but are they not worried that they can be punished with sickness, accident or sudden problem, as they are under oath?

Lord Ariwoola, as you know, and as INEC stated to the people, Lawan never participated in the APC primary held on May 28, 2022, as he withdrew voluntarily to participate in the presidential primary held in June 2022. After he failed in the presidential primaries, he said he participated in another primary on June 9, where he emerged as a winner. But you know that was illegal and in breach of Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act and Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution, as the APC never cancelled the one held on May 28 before arranging another.

Lord Ariwoola, as one who has made a vow to your Allah/God, some of your fellow jurists see injustice occurring without anything being done. So, you should urgently internally take a position to turn these sad affairs in a right direction. This bizarre announcement by Nweze and two others need to be set aside by the Supreme Court, with another version of this same matter possibly in view.

Lord Ariwoola as a man of Islamic religious faith as well as a son of a major ethnic nationality, Yoruba, you are aware of their fascination with justice as a guiding principle, as they relate to issues of fairness. I only wish I understood the Yoruba deep expression for equity, fairness, and justice, as I belong to another Nigerian tribe. Please my Lord ask yourself if it is fair, logical, and sensible that a person who did not participate actively, directly and openly in a race would be rewarded with the star at the expense of those who actively participated in the said competition?

In an increasingly tense society, why risk anything or everything morally and spiritually for those who just want power by any means necessary?

Lord Ariwoola starts changing the kind of mentality that you and your fellow judges practice in order to keep you all safe before the Almighty and humanity.

Chief Justice Ariwoola, I leave you with this: "God commands justice and fair dealing…" [Quran, 16:90]

"O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves… Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both." [Quran, 4:135]

"Learn to do right [and] pursue justice “is a common exhortation in the Old Testament for the people of God (Isaiah 1:17).

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow’s cause.

Lord Olukayode Ariwoola remembers that equal justice requires fairness and impartiality in the delivery of justice and a commitment to non-discrimination, power, or position.