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Senate Hearing On Chief Justice Nominee Is Another Proof Of Leadership Crisis In Nigeria

Unic Press UK: A former Federal Minister, Oby Ezekwesili says there’s a leadership crisis in Nigeria given the poorly articulated answers provided by the hitherto acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Judge Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, during a nomination hearing Friday at the Nigerian Senate – the upper chamber of the bicameral legislative body.

During the nomination hearing, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP – Abia South) express concern over the direction of a Supreme Court under Tank given recent rulings by the Court that are a deviation from its lettered position on legal technicalities. Abaribe’s question reads:

“My question is on the philosophy of the Supreme Court. My lord, in 2018, Akeredolu V Abraham. I can quote the Supreme Court if you permit me. The Supreme Court said, “technicality in the administration of justice shuts out justice“, and went further to say that “it is therefore better to have a case heard and determined on its merit than to leave the court with the shield of victory obtained on mere technicality.” This is the Supreme Court, so we are very happy with that. But My Lord, just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court also said, and I quote: “The correct order to make is to declare the judgment of the trial tribunal a nullity as a result of one of the panelists’ not sitting on a day proceedings were held.” Abaribe then asked Judge Tanko what Nigerians should expect from a Supreme Court under his [Tanko] leadership.

Responding to Abaribe’s question, Judge Tanko gave answers that had no connection whatsoever to the senator’s question on technicalities as it relates to law, thereby portraying the newly confirmed Chief Justice of Nigeria as someone bereft of the meaning of “legal technicalities.” Tanko’s response reads:

“The question by distinguished Senator Abaribe centers on technicalities. What is a technicality? Something, which is, technical. In my definition, it is something that is not usual; that may sometimes defy all the norms known to a normal thing. Now, we have technicalities in our laws and this is because these laws we’ve inherited, were inherited them from the British. The British people have for quite centuries ago introduced what is known as technicalities in their laws. Now, if something is technical, it is in a way giving a leeway for double interpretation. It may be interpreted this way by Mr A or it may be interpreted this way by Mr B. Now, if something is technical comes before the law or before the courts, what we normally do in trial courts is to ask people who are experts in that field to come and testify. We rely on their testimony. Ask me anything about an aeroplane, I don’t know; ask me to drive an aeroplane, I am sure if you are a passenger and they told you that the flight is going to be driven by Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko, I am sure you will get out of the plane because it is something that requires technicality and if I have any technicality, my technicality will only be limited to law. Therefore, it is something that has to do with the perception or the way you will be able to achieve the goals you want to achieve.

Irked by the poor performance of the Head of the Nigerian Judiciary, Judge Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, during the nomination hearing, Oby Ezekwesili wrote on Twitter: “Do we need to be told that there’s a Quality of Leadership Crisis in our country? It’s across board. Executive. Legislature. Judiciary. Federal. State. Local. That Senate Hearing with Justice Tanko merely reminded us of the depth of our Leadership Crises.”


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