OPINION: Running Away From Justice: The Case Of Justice Oloyede

house-of-assemblyContradictions have become the hallmark of our national engagements almost at every level especially in our public life since the advent of democracy in 1999. They have come in diverse shapes and sizes and in various dimensions ranging from the ridiculous to the absurd and from the completely bizarre to the seriously paradoxical.

That a Senior Judge Osun  State judiciary Justice Folahanmi Oloyede who had made weighty allegations of financial impropriety against Governor Rauf Aregbesola and demanded that he be impeached is now running away from the responsibilities attached to her demands shows that she not only never had any grounds to have made that call in the first place, but may have also been instigated by other political jobbers who are intent on opposing the transformational efforts of the Governor. However, she has been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to substantiate her claim but she also refused to appear.

It should be noted that the Governor never for one day sought to protest that allegation from the judge but chose to make himself available before the members of the State House of Assembly who summoned him and are the true representatives and conscience of the people of the state. He did not grandstand neither did he muster his political influences which is not insignificant in any way to dissuade the House from acceding to the request of the jurist. He made himself available for questions with candour.

Paradoxically, the one who has asked for the empanelling of the process to investigate the Governor has refused to come and make her case when summoned to do so by the House of Assembly. If this is not contradictory, I do not know any other thing that is. My thoughts are that it is both morally compelling and statutorily obligatory for the Judge to appear before the House to defend her allegations. That is the way democracies are run since she has been provided the right opportunity to nail the Governor in fulfilment of her crusade.

What she has done negates the fine principles of law that “he that alleges must prove”. It is unfortunate that she has chosen to abdicate this onerous responsibility especially when the whole nation awaited her testimony.

Judges have moral obligation to obey the law and for a sitting judge to refuse to conform to this dictate, not only makes herself incapable of continuing in that hallowed office but also throws scorn at the entire Judiciary. She has made her position very tenuous thus capable of contaminating the entire Judiciary. Having made her position in the judiciary inchoate thus of no repute bringing shame to the judicial processes what other moral basis would this judge and the Judiciary have to demand that other members and segments of the society obey their judgments?

It is therefore on this note that we say that this judge has grossly perjured herself and to inform her that the only path to self -redemption is an unreserved apology not only to the Governor but also the people of Osun whom she had denigrated by her false and malicious allegations then, immediate resignation from office if she still has any modicum of respect for her office and the judiciary. She has unfortunately made herself a cancerous tumour that has to be surgically excised before it becomes dangerously malignant and pollutes the Judiciary. That is why the NJC has an urgent duty to perform here by neutralising this poison in their chalice and setting in motion their in-house disciplinary machinery if she refuses to toe the path of honour.

However, the Osun State House of Assembly should step to the plate and invoke their constitutional powers to remove her from office if the Judge fails to resign or the NJC abandons its duty. Her removal will be a great service to all stakeholders in the Nigerian project especially the people of Osun.

In conclusion, it is apposite to commend the Governor for his deft and democratic handling of this duplicity by the judge. By refusing to arm twist the House and by making himself available to the House for proper investigation, he has shown himself once again a truly democratic leader worthy of emulation by other Governors and public office holders in Nigeria. His leadership qualities cannot be ignored if Nigeria is to make the desired change. He has once again demonstrated tremendous goodwill thus raising the bar of democratic standards in Nigeria.

  • Jimoh, is the Deputy Majority Leader in the Lagos state House of Assembly representing Apapa II Constituency.