Rats are rodents and the most notorious in Nigeria is the Rattus Rattus (black rats). These rats are capable of producing as many as 2000 litters in a year. Rats operate from holes, nooks, and crannies, scavenging, causing havoc and spreading diseases. An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole the size of a coin and inflict maximum damage with their tenacity, doggedness and strong teeth which can chew through anything. Rats are pestilent and humans have been trying to exterminate them for centuries and still have not succeeded. Rats, anyway, are a threat to man everywhere.
There are different types of rats that pose great threats to Nigeria’s socio-economic and political progress. There are the famous wharf rats that in sync with some bad eggs in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) cause the disappearance of vehicle fenders, headlamps, cars, other goods and whole containers without a trace. But recently, we discovered a very new virulent specie of rat – “budget rats” – buried deep in the structure of the Civil Service bureaucracy. We saw their destructive capacities firsthand, that is, how they almost brought President Buhari to his knees leaving him apologetic to Nigerians and exhibiting immense caution and vigilance in matters pertaining to the 2016 budget. This species of rat was gnawing at the impeccable credentials of President Buhari, the heart of the change agenda and the various programs that the President embedded in the budget to execute the change agenda for the maximum benefit of Nigerians.
We also have another new species of rat that wants us to believe the Presidency is the Marionettist, Danladi Umar, the marionette, and Nigerians are the paying spectators in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) theatre. I refuse to believe President Buhari has a hand in this parody, comedy or farce that we are currently witnessing at the tribunal….if he did, he would be more dexterous and would not involve a marionette like Mr Danladi Umar who is wont to crack under pressure and seems not to be subjective . As a retired soldier, President Buhari (something I can very much relate to) understands the essence of stoicism, impartiality and gravitas and we all know our president who is generally perceived as being Spartan and serious minded is neither a joker nor a fan of comedies. This new rat species will have us believe in body language, innuendos, sign language, vendetta, gossips etc. Mr President should treat this species of rats like he is treating their wharf and budget cousins before it gnaws too deep and costs him and his government in effluvium.
One cannot help but be astounded and bewildered at the ongoing soap opera in form of the trial of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, at the CCT. While not denying a relationship with the man, my observations are simply apolitical and objective. What democracy entails and what Nigerians yearn for is equality, fair treatment and justice before the law irrespective of social status. But what transpired at the CCT on Wednesday April 20, 2016 was most unfortunate. I came across a video clip of Mr. Umar in a needless confrontation in court with a very polite and civil defense lawyer. We all saw how ex-Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) boss. Professor Attahiru Jega handled a worse situation with calm, maturity, dignity and gravitas… all of which Mr. Umar has sadly not displayed at all. This and recent events prove beyond reasonable doubt that rats are at work again orchestrating events in Saraki’s case at the CCT.
Undeniably, Senator Saraki is standing trial based on accusations against him, however, like any other citizen, he has rights or he is entitled to equal protection of the law without any discrimination, full equality to a fair and public trial by an
independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charges against him, the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence and also to seek and implement legal advice that would enhance his case.
So, why should an officer of the judiciary with a bribery case dangling over his head preside over any case? Accepting inducements to subvert justice is the most heinous crime any official in the judiciary can commit…the very earth screams and recoils from such a base act. I posit to the National Judicial Council (NJC) that any judge or judicial official involved in a bribery case with evidence to the fact should be barred from handling cases until convicted or exonerated. Or is it that the rats have also reached the NJC?
Despite a recent affirmation of clearance by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Umar’s statement to the EFCC, Zenith Bank cheque to his Personal Assistant (PA), investigation report, summary of investigation, letter by other CCT members, letter by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on his case, draft charges against him in a Federal High Court, etc, are being circulated on the print and electronic media. Does this not raise questions about the propriety of his continued superintendence over this case? Aren’t judges meant to be neutral and objective and obligated to excuse themselves from cases where their integrity and competency is in doubt?
I am not saying Saraki should be freed. Senator Saraki is fighting the political battle of his life against a legion of traducers both just and unjust, his career and future is on the line. He has a right to seek and to get an impartial judge which is only fair, given what is at stake. Are there no other members on the CCT bench that can try this case? Why is it so personal to Mr. Umar? Why is Mr. Umar so emotional about this case? I heard the CCT is under the jurisdiction of the Presidency. Is this appropriate? Have these rats not tunnelled in to the CCT supervising office in the Presidency? The whole scenario smacks and smells of the activities of this dangerous strain of rats that are gnawing at Nigeria’s soul. But No matter how big or deadly a rat is, it is always the eagle’s prey and it would be a great travesty if the EFCC’s eagle is being intimidated by rats. We should be aware that the law is the law “actore non probante reusabsolvitur”. This is why it is imperative that the CCT and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) should be transferred to the judiciary where it should be to guaranteed its independence and the safe administration of justice for all Nigerian irrespective of socio-political status and affiliation.
Mr. President, folklore tells us about a a certain species of rat that nibbles on feet of a sleeping human at the same time blowing soothing air on the feet causing the human to blissfully sleep on….Your Excellency, you are surrounded by rats who don’t mean well for you. They don’t share your love for the common man, your passion for equity in the distribution of our natural resources, your vision for a better corrupt free Nigeria, these faceless vicious rats seek to undermine you every step of the way…they will gnaw away at your feet while blowing soothing air. Sir beware!!! They surround you!! Be vigilant and spare nothing in the extermination of this new species of vicious, cunning, virulent rats!! You are our hero and the hopes and aspirations of 180 million Nigerians rest on your shoulders. An unfair and uneasy burden but we shall continue to pray that the Almighty God give you the strength, discernment and wisdom to build a solid foundation for our potentially great nation. Amen.
By Tunde Ajibulu
An All Progressives Congress card carrying member resident in Lagos, writes from Perryhall Maryland where he is recuperating from surgery due to a squash related injury.
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