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Next week: Due process as maturation process for CJN

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Justice Onnoghen

Excerpts: Due process can be likened to the maturation process every sowing goes through to get to the ripening of fruits for harvesting.

You do not sow today and the seed will not be taken through necessary processes with contribution from radiations of the soil, of the air, for germination, of the wind, the rain and rays of the sun, the rays of the moon, for growth, strengthening and development and harvesting.

The servants of Nature will take the sowing through all processes of maturation.

The wisdom, taking a cue from Nature, is to exhaust the processes and get every arm of government to make an input transparently into the discipline or appointment of certain categories of public functionaries.

It is to prevent arbitrariness. It is to prevent a President or a governor waking up from a bad dream and ordering that a citizen be beheaded.

The technicalities lawyers get us into can be exasperating and irritating. No doubt about that. They are all part of the search for the truth and justice in the alternative to the paralysis of the intuitive faculty in man designed to help him promptly arrive at the right judgment.

However, what is galling is reveling in taking technicalities up to Supreme Court only for the case, after about four years there, to be remitted back to the high court for trial de novo! Then another technical point is raised and the whole circus lasting sometimes eight to 10 years! That negates the cause of justice, for it is said, “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”

This is apart from unending costs to the litigant. That aspect certainly requires reform. But this should not vitiate the imperative of due process.

The charges of corruption against NJC Onnoghen will be argued during his trial, and if proven and he is found guilty at the end of the day, it will be so transparently seen and he will have to go.

It cannot be right that all manner of stones is hauled to assail his character. VeePee Yemi Osinbajo is jumping the gun like his principal.

A person must be convinced of his guilt before he can decide to go honourably from a feeling of shame, more so given the nature of our society where nothing is held sacred anymore and character assassins armed to the teeth with their petitions are lurking in the shadows. Our appetite for scandals is insatiable.

CJN Onnoghen does not feel guilty of anything deep within him as of now.

So, we have the obligation to listen to him. We can ill afford to scratch the matter on the surface and ask him to go. That will not be fair.


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