Muhammadu Buhari and Walter Onnoghen
Selective Amnesia: A Pointer to the Leadership Failure in Nigeria – IDEDE Oseyande
Nigerians across board have been caught in two distinct divides in the last one week over the petition against the serving Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen. A common trend across the globe when citizens defend their position on national issues is that all sides believe they are patriotically defending the sanity of the institutions of the state. Those calling for the head of the CJN believe they are doing so in defence of democratic structure and the need to maintain the sanctity and chastity of the judicial system. I believe they are of the opinion that the man at the helms of the affair, ensuring that justice is served to others must be above board.
On the other hand, those who want him to remain untouchable, whether the petitions against him are true or not, are of the opinion that they are defending the CJN’s continuous stay in office, as a way of protecting the nation’s nascent democracy. They share the opinion that there is a grand conspiracy from the Muhammadu Buhari- led Federal executive to crumble the judiciary ahead of his reelection bid. To those on this divide (CJN-must remain), corruption case is just an alibi the Presidency uses each time it wants to take on its perceived enemies. This is why those rooting for the CJN to remain in office feel they don’t want to fall for that presidential corruption blackmail anymore.
Could both divide be right? Of course, they could be right, depending on your bias. However, both can’t be right in pursuit of an altruistic intention void of political undertones. The CJN in all fairness to justice does not have any justification to remain in office if he is culpable. On the flip side, what if he is being politically haunted as proposed by those on the other divide?
Before we come back to the question of who is right or wrong, let’s look at how we got here in the first place.
Prior to the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the President in 2015, he literally presented himself as the ambassador of the war against corruption and corrupt practices. His genuine supporters and voters (aside from those that supported him to protect their political interest), went all out for him. Those that did not go for him and were not beneficiaries of the previous government were mostly held back by Stockholm syndrome. They just couldn’t fathom the possibility that an ‘almighty ruling party’ that had held sway for the past sixteen years would chicken out when they have the state’s machinery in their possession. Howbeit, when Muhammadu Buhari was declared the winner, Nigerians across boards were hopeful that corruption and corrupt practices had finally come to an end. Sadly, times have proved them wrong! Over three years down the line, alleged corrupt persons are still walking freely, while a good number of them are cleansed by the efficacious power of the ‘broom’.
The insincerity of the fight against corruption and the sectional approach in which he has led the country in the last three and half years, is mind-boggling, to say the least. This has generated agitation from different quarters, particular from the outspoken Sen. Shehu Sani, who once said, “the President uses pesticides to fight those alleged to be corrupt in his perceived enemy’s camp, while he uses deodorants to fight those that are alleged to be corrupt within his circle”.
This double standard and hypocrisy in the fight against corruption is the reason they that once stood behind the President in the fight against corruption, are now standing in defence of those that are not only alleged to be corrupt but with barefaced proofs of their corrupt acts.
The failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to genuinely fight corruption is the reason the likes of Justice Walter Onnoghen is getting support and solidarity from Nigerians.
This calls for concern on the future of public leadership in Nigeria.
The failure in leadership at all strata is not only worrisome but calls for urgency on the need to start looking for a better leadership yardstick for those coming behind these lots. As it stands, the current men at the helm of affairs leave much to be desired in the kind of leadership people can genuinely emulate and trust!
It is however, heart wrenching to accept the sad reality, that the future leaders of tomorrow, have their mentors among these lots!
What then is the hope of leadership in the nearest future for Nigerians living in Nigeria?
IDEDE Oseyande writes from Edo State