Aondoakaa and Chief Richard Akinjide’s Dirty Prism

1 Comment » June 18th, 2010 posted by // Categories: General Articles

Aondoakaa and Chief Richard Akinjide’s Dirty Prism

By Atsar Terver

Recognising his age, experience and his eminent position as an accomplished lawyer and elder statesman, one expected that the Former Attorney General would be more circumspect and balanced in making comments on or based on a court judgement, especially when an appeal of the judgement is already before the Court.

In one paragraph Akinjide claims to have read carefully the Judgment but then in the end of the same paragraph he claims that he had no access to the papers filed and the evidence led by both sides in the matter. This, he claims, gives him the liberty to ‘assume‘that the judgment correctly represents the facts and the evidence led in the matter. This is a very smart argument but it cannot conceal his determination to reach certain premeditated conclusions about Aondoakaa. It appears that everybody now believes he can make any statement against Aondoakaa and get away with it because the proverbial dog has been given a bad name by the press to hang him. The cheapest way to become a patriot today is to drag Aondoakaa’s name in the mud.

If indeed he read the judgement carefully as claimed, he should have discovered from the judge’s own pronouncements that Aondoakaa was not served with the court processes; consequently he never appeared in court, neither was he represented by a counsel. Even if laymen do not know this, an ex-AGF like Akinjide should have known that the process adopted by the Judge to arrive at his weird conclusions amounts to gross abuse of the court process. It violates the principle of fair hearing which is cardinal to the justice system.  That this did not matter to Akinjide exposes his bias.

As a SAN and former AGF, I believe if indeed Akinjide desired to have access to the papers filed and evidence led in that case, I am sure he knows how to get them. Having not told us that he made unsuccessful attempts go get the facts before running to the press, one may safely accuse him of nursing a vendetta against Aondoakaa. Honour demands that he look at all the facts of the case comprehensively before making far-reaching and potentially damaging remarks against an individual.

Why would a man of his stature resort to half-measures in assessing a judgement and then succumb to emotional outburst so easily? Hear him: ‘Reading that Judgment I am greatly sad. And I think every well meaning Nigerian who reads same would also be shocked. The reasons for my grief are two: (1) because I am a Nigerian and (2) because I served this Country in that exalted Office as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. How I wish that the story stated in that Judgment did not represent what actually happened. But any judicial pronouncement must be accepted as correct until it is proved otherwise in higher court.’ It is very clear from this statement that Akinjide sees something inherently wrong with the judgement but pretends to be ‘compelled’ to accept it only because it is yet to be vacated by a higher court. Now suppose the judgement is reversed by a higher court tomorrow, a possibility which he knows exists, would he have the courage to apologise for his weasel comments against Aondoakaa?

Has Akinjide never disagreed with a court judgement before?  But that is a question for another day.

Then obviously for want of substance from the judgement itself to warrant his diatribes against Aondoakaa, he delved into well-known rhetoric. Hear him: ‘That Judgment described the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as “hallowed”. It is more than that. It is also “sacred”. It is an institution of the highest integrity and honour. It is the highest Law Office of the Country and any individual who occupies it must be of the “highest distinction” both in character, learning and patriotism’. These are well known facts and no one needs a thesis from AKinjide to know that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation is a creation of the Constitution, or that the incumbent is the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and a Minister of the Government of the Federation or that The AGF also doubles as the Minister of Justice and is a member of the Federal Executive Council… but he went to this length simply with a sole motive of implying that Aondoakaa, was not qualified to be AGF in the first place. This is the point at which his emotions got the worst part of him.

Then he struggled to impute credibility to the judgement by reminding us of the very great pedigree of the judge. His choice of the word pedigree here is very significant. It could mean his family background or historical antecedence. I am sure Akinjide chose this word tactically to allude directly to the historical background of the Judge and indirectly to his family background, both of which he believes are beyond reproach. Which implies that he knows the man’s history very well? This being the case, he must also be aware of the EFCC’s petition against the judge to the NJC over his nocturnal court sitting where he granted bail to oil-bunkering thieves at 9pm in his chambers. This is the ‘other pedigree’ of the judge which Akinjide may not want the world to know about.

It is very obvious that the judge believes the general public would ‘hail’ him because the ‘guy’ in question has already been branded ‘bad’. Thus he could use him to shine. But in making those comical pronouncements he only exposed his desperation to shore up his battered image from the EFCC petition. If you must ban Aondoakaa, use the right process; let it be seen as justice and not mere persecution or vendetta.

Overall, Akinjide’s comments are quite unfortunate and the motives behind them very suspect. Where was Akinjide with his invectives when, the Appeal Court ordered reinstatement of illegally impeached Rasheed Ladoja as Governor of Oyo State but the then Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) ignored the court order, ordered a stay of execution thus constituting himself into a court until the Supreme Court intervened to restore Chief Ladoja to office? On the other hand under Aondoakaa, the Federal Government complied promptly with all court judgements even when they favoured the opposition.

Where was Akinjide when Bayo Ojo as AGF chaired an illegal Panel to indict Atiku over phoney charges on the PTDF probe? It took a Lagos high court to void that report. That Akinjide did not consider Bayo Ojo unfit to hold public office despite these brazen acts of impunity and compromise but now sees Aondoakaa, who only sought clarification when the Court of Appeal delivered two different judgments and he didn’t know which one to comply with, as a devil is indicative of the dirtiness of the prism through which he peeps at Aondoakaa.

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One Response to “Aondoakaa and Chief Richard Akinjide’s Dirty Prism”

  1. dave says:

    u’ve pretty much said it all.Aondoakaa is a great man.and 1 day this country will regret all its doing to him.Aondoakaa is a blessed child,by God’s grace he will rise over all this in no time.mark my words,”if dere’s still a God,he’s u.s visa will be reinstalled  in no time”.beautiful article terver

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