By Abubakar D. Sani, Esq.
Wonders, it is said Shall never end Such is the rot Nay, dysfunction In virtually every sphere Of our national life That even the judiciary Is not spared As is clearly writ large By the on-going industrial action Supposedly by the Judicial Staff Union But, who - strangely - are non-judicial staff Over financial control – or lack thereof To use the popular phrasing: ‘Judicial autonomy’ Or unfettered access to funds An end to the present practice Where the courts are tied To the apron strings Of the Executive Notwithstanding the clear provisions Of the Constitution As severally interpreted In subsisting court judgements What does this say About our belief in the rule of law? Are the three arms of Government truly equal? Why is the control of judges pay - Not under their hand But, is, rather, subject to the whims and caprices Of the Executive Whilst the Legislature seemingly cannot be bothered? This ‘conspiracy of silence’ Has lent credence To the suspicion, in some quarters That the situation suits the other two arms Predictably, the strike has hit Counsel and litigants most hard Prompting the latter to march in solidarity Which was, unfortunately, undermined by a 'typo' in the banner Displayed by protesting members Of the Abuja (the so-called 'Unity') Bar A cruel twist on the strike's mantra Achieved simply by switching a letter! Promptly debunked - of course As the product of a mischievous photoshop But, seriously, when Will this cycle end? What does it have to take for the Executive To observe ‘international best practices’ In the funding of our judiciary? A new dimension? Some fresh thinking? An elite consensus? Another Constitution? What is wrong with this one? What is wrong with us? In other words, Perhaps the problem Is our mind-set: Our pervasive obsession – At all levels – personal and otherwise With money And everything to do with it For us, yes! To others, we deny It is a sad irony, indeed That those who wield The power of life and death Are – over their own – shockingly helpless So, when next we grumble About the so-called rot in the system All we need do Is a quick reality check: Tell ourselves some home truths Even if in the language of ‘the cool’: ‘Wake up and smell the coffee!’ Perhaps, we are our own worst enemies.
Abubakar D. Sani, Esq.
22nd April, 2021
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