Why Salami Should Not Be Believed.

2 Comments » February 23rd, 2011 posted by // Categories: General Articles

Why Salami should Not Be Believed.

by Atsar Terver

The call in certain quarters for the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, on account of allegations made against him by the President of the Court of Appeal Justice, Justice Ayo Salami, is not altogether surprising because it is coming from very familiar quarters.

A quick recall of the drama, falsehood and unnecessary controversy that has deliberately been created by these same people and exaggerated by the press, who did everything possible to thwart Justice Katsina-Alu’s ascension to the position of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) should inform all discerning minds that those who never wanted him to ascend to that high position ab initio and have obviously been seething with anger, can jump at anything, just anything, to bring him down.

The crisis of confidence between the CJN and the PCA, in which the latter has been running his mouth in the press with devilish frenzy, has thus provided the long awaited opportunity for Katsina-Alu’s foes to launch an un-salutary press war against him.

In the whirly atmosphere created by such crass and venomous downpour of those slimy allegations from Salami, not many have bothered to stop and ponder about the substance or moral bearing of the PCA in this saga. It is like when the Jews rose up against Jesus whom they had been seeking to kill all along; crucify him, crucify him, they shouted but when Pilate asked them a simple question ‘what has he done?, they could not answer but rather just went on shouting crucify him, crucify him. Their aim was not justice but to do away with their enemy. This is the unfortunate situation we have now found ourselves in, owing simply to one man’s gutter tactics, aimed at sitting tight, when he knows full well that without him at that position, the Court of Appeal was and would still be.

I beg to differ on this hawkish, prebendal and skewy condemnation of the CJN without first hearing from him, or so suffocating the public space with scathing remarks against him that to elicit a response from him would be nigh-impossible, because of his obviously gentle mien.

Let’s hold down Salami and ask him some simple questions about his refusal to be promoted to the Supreme Court and those infamous allegations against the CJN.

Why does Salami believe his exit from the Court of Appeal amounts to some form of punishment? Why must a simple matter like elevation from one court to another, which in any case has been the mode of progress of Salami from lower courts all the way to the Court of Appeal, now be given the colouration of a taboo?

To insist that only Salami has the integrity to head the Appeal Court is to reduce the institution of the Judiciary to a private fiefdom. We should be building institutions instead of cult figures shrouded in conceited cloaks of indispensability. To suggest that only one individual holds the monopoly of wisdom or the competence to manage electoral conflicts at the Court of Appeal is rather insulting to all the other Justices of the Court who have delivered revolutionary judgements in several electoral petitions across the country.

This is the same manner Ribadu sold a dummy to Nigerians to believe that without him at the helm of the EFCC, the Commission would die. A campaign of calumny was thus mounted against his successor with the creepy connivance of the press, but three years down the line, Mrs. Farida Waziri has recorded more tangible success than the hyped political propaganda that characterised Ribadu’s tenure.

And if Salami has so much integrity, why would he not want to bring this integrity to bear on the apex Court? How are we to believe that his emotional attachment to the Court of Appeal has

nothing to do with the pecks that allegedly do fall from the political contenders, like the alleged five billion Naira bribe the ACN was said to have given in order to have the Governorship elections in EKITI and OSUN reversed to their favour?

Salami alleged that the CJN attempted to twist his hands over the Sokoto election petition, but in view of the fact that he chose to sing only after the CJN had nominated him for promotion, makes it very difficult for Nigerians to believe that he is not sitting on more scandals. Put differently, how can we tell the limits of his capacity to hoard scandalous information?

Now to the issue of the proposed promotion of Salami to the Supreme Court, I stand to be corrected that the CJN acted fully within the purview of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution. As the NJC has fully explained now, it was not the CJN alone that proposed the elevation, but other Justices of the Supreme Court did it together with him. Also that Salami was not the only Justice who was recommended for elevation. So why single out his case and make so much fuss about it?

Can Salami declare his private interest in the position of the PCA? And is that interest greater than the Nation which he swore an oath to serve?  Was that oath tied to and restricted to the Court of Appeal?

It is amazing that the President of the Court of Appeal rushed to the courts to complain about a promotion that had not even happened. And the affidavit that he swore had no exhibits like the minutes of the meeting where he claimed the decision was taken to promote him; neither did he tender a letter of promotion nor even a proposal to that effect before the courts, rather he relied on rumours and heresies, thereby pursuing a case that could best be described as fictitious. Why should we condone a busybody PCA?

If Salami was a true patriot that he now wants the world to believe he is, he should have opened this box of worms long ago and not harboured it as a tool of blackmail in his time of trouble. In the alternative, he should have resigned when he realised he could not work under his boss with a clean conscience. Now I am compelled to ask why we should still trust the Court of Appeal in the hands of a judge who has an uncanny flair for blackmail. Let’s not pretend, a blackmailer is a criminal, and a criminal should not be at the head of the Appeal Court.

By his admission, Justice Salami had at least on two occasions declined elevation to the Supreme Court. Why was his refusal on those occasions kept low while this present one has been blown out of proportion? And for the records, Justice Salami’s two predecessors, Justice Mustapha Akanbi and Umaru Abdullahi had also turned down such elevations to the Bench of the apex Court. Is it a curse to go to the Supreme Court? Or is the seat of President of Court of Appeal too ‘juicy’ by Nigerian standards to be abandoned for a less ‘juicy’ position as Justice of the Supreme Court.

Another angle to look at is, why did Justices Akanbi and Abdullahi not make heavy weather of their proposed promotions to the Supreme Court while Justice Salami has unwittingly taken his rejection of the ‘offer’ (if any) to the court of public opinion and even the regular courts – showing as it were, his uncanny desperation to keep that seat at all costs, even if the sacred wall of our sanctimonious judiciary is brought down by this his infamous outing?

And let’s turn to Jusice Akanbi. His public utterances not only run contrary to what the NJC has pronounced publicly (even though he is a member of the NJC and he also took part in the meeting that rolled out the publicised resolutions), but look clearly supportive of the mouthy Salami. Let Justice Akanbi tell the world his interest in this matter. For this is a man who resigned from his seat as the President of the Court of Appeal two years to his retirement time. Why did he run from that position two years to his time, without laying claim to sickness or other destabilising factor, if he sees that position as being too indispensable? Justice Akanbi should either shut up or tell the whole world the truth on these posers.

It is equally regrettable that ASUU, which has failed to halt corruption, sexual harassment and extortion in the University system, has chosen to ride on this cheap propaganda, by calling on the CJN to resign.  Those calling on the CJN to resign have clearly been misled by the press propaganda. Why would they make such hasty calls when they have not even heard the CJN’s side of the story? Even God Almighty gave Adam and Cain fair hearing, even though He had divine power to know, and He did know, that the twosome had committed two separate heinous crimes.

The PCA has not proved any of his allegations against the CJN. Those allegations are clearly fabrications, motivated by greed and blackmail and do not constitute any substantial grounds upon which to base a call for the resignation of the CJN.

We need heroes in Nigeria, but we must be careful not to promote rogue behaviour to the status of virtue.

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2 Responses to “Why Salami Should Not Be Believed.”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom Johnson, Nigerian Muse. Nigerian Muse said: Why Salami Should Not Be Believed.: Why Salami should Not Be Believed. by Atsar Terver The call in certain quart… http://bit.ly/eeydj4 […]

  2. Barrywilly says:

    @Atsar Terver. Who is running mouth between you and Justice Salami? U are a pure ethnic empty barrel hallowing an ethnic myopic view of your Tiv brother, Hon Jus. Alu. I will give it to u that you are an illiterate when it comes to law otherwise u should hav known that the Supreme Court headed by your Tiv bro doesnot have jurisdiction over the Sokoto guber case. It was a gross abuse of office. However, since the NJC is already looking into the matter, why dont you shut your mouth and wait for the outcome of the investigation. Beware of what u wished for others. Gadaffi wished Nigeria should crumbled but see the result today

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