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A Complicit Judiciary And Yahaya Bello By Chidi Anselm Odinkalu

Apr 29, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

Political Turmoil and Judicial Peril in Kogi State

The tragic tale of judicial turbulence in Kogi State, Nigeria, unveils a harrowing narrative of political interference and judicial vulnerability. Nasir Ajanah, a Chief Judge who dared to uphold dignity and independence, paid the ultimate price with his life, becoming the second victim of political persecution within a decade.

Josiah Majebi now holds the precarious mantle of the fifth Chief Judge in four tumultuous years, with a troubling legacy of subservience to the state governor. His predecessors, Richard Olorunfemi, Henry Olusiyi, and Sunday Otuh, each occupied the role fleetingly, succumbing to the pressures of political manipulation.

Ajanah’s ordeal exemplifies the peril faced by those who defy political coercion. Despite striving for integrity, he was exiled from the state and ultimately met an unacknowledged demise. The judiciary, portrayed as the bastion of justice, became a battleground for political vendettas.

The saga continued with Governor Yahaya Bello’s brazen attempts to undermine judicial autonomy. A clash ensued when Bello demanded control over judicial affairs, prompting a legal standoff with Ajanah. Despite judicial rulings in favour of Ajanah’s integrity, Bello’s relentless pursuit of power remained unchecked.

Alaba Ajileye, a courageous judicial figure, faced retaliation for his impartial rulings. His safety was jeopardized, and political reprisals marred his judicial career. Meanwhile, Ajanah endured banishment and persecution, culminating in his tragic demise amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He was met with apathy from the very institutions he served.

The judiciary’s descent into complicity reached its nadir with Majebi’s dubious nominations, including Bello’s spouse, highlighting the erosion of judicial independence. Concerned legal luminaries challenged these appointments, prompting a legal battle against entrenched corruption.

James Omotoso’s dubious ruling further entrenched the judiciary’s subservience to political interests, perpetuating a cycle of impunity. Meanwhile, Bello’s machinations continued, epitomizing the erosion of democratic norms.

As the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeks to hold Bello accountable, the compromised judiciary faces a critical test. The nomination of Bello’s unqualified spouse and challenges to his cousin’s governance underscore the judiciary’s pivotal role in upholding justice.

In the crucible of political turmoil, Nigeria’s judiciary stands at a crossroads, torn between integrity and compromise. The legacy of Ajanah serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made in the pursuit of justice, urging the judiciary to reclaim its autonomy and safeguard the rule of law.

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