Wednesday, 31st May 2023

The resignation of CJN, Tanko Muhammad

By Guardian Nigeria
01 July 2022   |   2:03 am
While still on the Supreme Court, events that trigger curiosity and raise eyebrows are happening in our courts, the Supreme Court not excluded.

Tanko Muhammad

While still on the Supreme Court, events that trigger curiosity and raise eyebrows are happening in our courts, the Supreme Court not excluded. The sudden resignation of the Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad, has sent tongues wagging. The official version of the reason for his unforeseen exit is connected with his health. Was he known to be that unwell that he could not continue to shoulder the heavy burden of the Supreme Court? The unexpected bowing out certainly has beaten the nosiest, the most enterprising investigative of journalists in the land. There are speculations that he may have been eased out. The verity of the happening will be unearthed sooner or later.

From what is widely known of the requirement of decency and propriety in high and hallowed places, I did not see the Muhammad surviving the crisis that engulfed the Supreme Court under his watch. I saw the letter of complaints from his brother Justices as a vote of no confidence in his leadership. A situation in which 14 Justices out of 15, he being the 15th wrote calling his competence and integrity to question, and complaining about deplorable working conditions, it must necessarily attract attention and action. The step seems to me emblematic of what may be called Obj-ism. When a person in an exalted office is deemed to have fallen short, Obasanjo would appear in the fellow’s house almost incognito in the dead of the night. He the guest would be made welcome. And trust him, he would ask for local comestibles say pounded yam, and bush meat on vegetable.

After casting jokes and exchanging banters, making his host to feel completely relaxed and unsuspecting, he would bring out a letter that only requires the host’s signature. What is this about, after signing? The chummy host would be told it is his letter of resignation. I need not say more, but amiable, ever-so-warm hearted Audu Ogbe will undoubtedly be my witness. What Obasanjo would do additionally is to immediately appoint the fellow an ambassador, roving or on duty tour as accustomed of ambassadors, their Excellencies. That step is to protect the hallowed institution from controversy or opprobrium. I hope this is not the drama in this case. I stand to be corrected.

The Senate has decided to investigate the crisis in the highest Court in the land. We will await the outcome of the investigation.

We are not done yet. Following a ruling of the Supreme Court, two lawyers, one a human rights advocate, have appeared in strange attires which they say is consistent with dresses for their mode of worship which they argue they are free to wear in public institutions. “You cannot appear like this as a professional. I will adjourn your matter and you come and address the court if the rules allow you to appear in court like this,” Malcolm Omirhobo Esq. was told by the judge of a Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Tijani Ringim. The matter was adjourned until October 10, 2022.

The first appearance of Omirhobo was before the Supreme Court to dramatise, I believe, the implications of its decision on Hijab for Muslim girls in Lagos schools. The point I see the two lawyers making is that a school uniform is a dress code. As it is for pupils in Lagos secondary schools, so also are wig and gown for lawyers before they can appear in court. Everyone can see the absurdity in permitting violation of dress codes in public places they obtain. Nigeria is a multi-religious state. This is why it is a secular nation. No religion should clandestinely be promoted by the authorities whether government or schools at the expense of others. A spiritual value anyone may profess is made a private affair by the nation’s secularity. It makes for professional identity where the codes are in place. Lawyers are happy and proud in their attire and students in their uniform including school caps. I hope I am reading the body language by the two lawyers correctly. The other lawyer is Dennis Ezigha. A great many will no doubt watch the unfolding with keen interest.

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