" />
Published On: Mon, May 8th, 2017

Ambassadorial nominees and Buhari’s misplaced sense of reward

By UCHE CHRIS

 

President Buhari’s appointment of Justices Oguntade and Nsofor raises questions of political patronage and our reward system.

Two of the names that stand out in the list of about 43 ambassadorial nominees sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari few weeks back for confirmation are Justices George Oguntade and Sylvester Nsofor. Both are eminent jurists, who retired from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal Court in 2011 and 2007 respectively after attaining the mandatory 70 years. It is not often or common that such people of high quality who are already advanced in age make the ambassadorial roll.

It is not that they are undeserving of the appointments. At over 70 and having attained the highest level and distinction at the bench, it is expected that they deserve some rest and respite from public life. A man who has worked till the age  70 needs a break from the official routine of waking up early every day to attend to duty. When will he have the privacy and enjoyment of a private life with his children and grand children. It is an unnecessary burden and encumbrance to what would have ordinarily been a good life.

It is not about money; justices earn their retirement salary as pension for the rest of their life. So why work for the money you don’t actually need? Neither is it about status and social class; a Supreme Court justice is not anyway lower or belittle before an ambassador which is purely a political assignment without any special requirement or qualification. For the political class it may not really matter because it is part of the patronage and reward system. But Justices of the highest courts in the nation deserve more dignity.

Beyond the apparent good intention of the president in their appointments there is something untoward and politically sensitive about the whole issue. Ordinarily, the appointment of an 84 year old man to represent this country abroad for the next four years should present a moral and circumstantial concern to the president and the senate. Age cannot be ignored and nature cannot be managed. Both appointments have to do with the personality of the president and his sense of reward for loyalty.

READ  Massive sell-off hits insurance sector

Recall that the president once defended his appointment of old friends and loyalists into strategic positions as the reward for their long standing loyalty.  It is the same logic and philosophy that occasioned and determined the appointments of these reputable men of law in their twilights as ambassadors. Both Justices have featured in the political career of the president and the appointments are appreciation for their service to him as an individual and not to the nation.

Justice Nsofor retired from the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal in 2007 a disappointed man. Brilliant, erudite and fearless, he could not make the Supreme Court because of quota system and his anti establishment tendencies. These qualities run in the family; he is the first cousin to late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa. Shortly before his disengagement from the bench he was part of the three man presidential election tribunal that decided the petition of candidate Buhari against the election of late President Yar’Adua.  It was a split decision in favour Yar’Adua and Justice Nsofor gave the minority judgment for Buhari.

The same scenario played out again in 2011 between Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan. In the past 20 years Justice Oguntade had represented a special class of judges in the country. A man of acute intellect, meticulously practical and a stickler for time and hard work, he is humorous without being trivial, firm and fair put together. While at the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal, he was always a delight to watch conducting the affairs of the court.

READ  APC Panel Report on Restructuring and 2019 polls

This writer remembers a confrontation between two legal heavy weights, Chief F.R.A Williams and Chief Sofola, SAN, with the later accusing the former of intimidation, and how he deftly maneuvered the testy situation leaving everybody laughing and satisfied. He was in the five man panel that decided the case for the election of Jonathan as president. Again it was a split decision of three to two and Oguntade gave it to Buhari.

This is not coincidental. We must understand that President Buhari is setting a bad and retrogressive precedents that actions taken by public to favour an individual could become a basis for reward by the state. What about our conscience and sense of fairness? Should public officers at any level perform their duties in anticipation of future rewards when they are employed and paid by the state? Were the Justices induced to take favourable positions in the two cases involving Buhari? Why should Buhari insist on appointing them personally instead of giving them the honour of nominating anybody of their choice? These are questions the appointments raise and Nigerians need to have answers.

For instance, Justice Nsofor comes from a fairly large family with scores of reputed professionals in any area of endeavour and could have easily seconded one of them. Why burden an aging, frail looking old man with another public responsibility he left 10 years ago when he should be resting his weak bones. It is a dangerous tradition that public service is for life.

Although the senate has approved the nomination of Oguntade, it will be a disservice to the nation to confirm Nsofor.  The president should grant him the privilege of nominating a replacement for himself so that he can go home and rest.

 

 

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Stop paying dividends, CBN orders banks with huge bad loans

    Banks and discount houses with non-performing loans above 10 per cent will no longer be allowed to pay dividends to their shareholders. The Central Bank of Nigeria gave the directive as part of measures to curb the increase in non-performing loans and to stop further erosion of the capital base of the banks. The directive […]

  • All recovered assets will be sold, says Buhari

    President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that all mismanaged and misappropriated national assets recovered will be sold off. In a statement issued on Monday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Mr Garba Shehu, he also vowed to ensure that the proceeds of the sales are paid to the treasury for the benefit […]

  • Ortom explodes! Says attacks by herdsmen, a continuation of Uthman Danfodio’s 1804 jihad

    Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has described the ongoing killings by Fulani herdsmen in the state as a continuation of 1804 jihad by Uthman Danfodio, alleging that the Fulani are angry because the initial jihad led by Danfodio was halted in Benue and prevented from proceeding to the sea. The governor who bared his […]

  • Drug abuse is on increase among youths

     Frustrated and humbled by increasing difficult economic conditions, pervasive social anomie, breakdown of age-old value system and discipline, most youths now find solace in drug abuse, writes Adebayo Obajemu  Fadairo [not real name] is 24, at that age, his physical appearance is that of a man in his thirties, slurred and incoherent speech, hanging jaw, […]

  • 2019: Can the Jagaban save Buhari?

    Challenges for Tinubu over the re-election bid By Obinna Ezugwu On Tuesday last week, pictures of President Muhammadu Buhari posing with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chief Bisi Akande, interim national chairman of the party filled the country’s media space. Both Tinubu and Akande had gone to […]

  • Kings of Broad Street: GT, ZENITH, UBA, ACCESS

    BY OKEY ONYENWEAKU As the banking industry gets tighter with narrowing operating margins and tougher competition for retail customers, the big four financial institutions are revising their strategies and setting up camp to fight an unconventional warfare. The new terms of engagement are moving from terrestrial combat to digital battlegrounds. ‘Banks will increasingly need to […]

  • Massive sell-off hits insurance sector

        FELIX OLOYEDE As the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) changes its rules about the maximum price that stocks could dip below their nominal book values of 50 kobo per share, Insurance sector stocks since last week have taken a free fall. David Adonrin, managing director, Highcap Securities Ltd has been holding Royal Exchange Insurance […]

  • War has been provoked between Yoruba and Fulani- OODUA Redemption Alliance declares

    War has been provoked between Yoruba and Fulani- OODUA Redemption Alliance declares OBINNA EZUGWU At the end of its security summit held in Ibadan on Thursday, the OODUA Redemption Alliance resolved to end what it called gradual incursion into Yoruba land by herdsmen who they accused of continuing the Jihad of Usman Danfodio. The group […]

  • It would be utterly irrational for Nigerians to vote for Buhari again- Junaid Mohammed

    Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Junaid Mohammed has noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has performed poorly in office and it would be irrational for Nigerians to vote for him in 2019. Dr Mohammed who made the assertion in an interview with Vanguard on Saturday, also criticized Buhari for being a poor reader who according to him, […]

  • Bayelsa tour: Obasanjo lays foundation for refinery

    Former President Olusegun Obasanjo continued his visit to Bayelsa State after inaugurating some projects of the state government on Friday. The former president continued his tour of the state on Saturday with the laying of the foundation for the establishment of Azikel Refinery. The refinery is owned by Dr Eruani Godbless, a prominent businessman and […]

  • Quite notice, hate speeches and President Buhari’s Northenisation/Islamisation agenda by Professor Ben Nwabueze

    Quite notice, hate speeches and President Buhari’s Northenisation/Islamisation agenda by Professor Ben Nwabueze NATURE OF HATE SPEECHES In the aftermath of the divisions in the country caused by President Buhari’s Northernisation/Islamisation Agenda, as manifested in his lopsided strategic appointments that unfairly favour the North as against the South, and the complete exclusion of the South-East […]

  • Chief Adeniyi to Tinubu: Withdraw your support for Buhari or risk losing influence in Yoruba land

    OBINNA EZUGWU Veteran columnist and elder statesman, Chief Adetola Adeniyi has warned former Lagos governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu against supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid, as according to him, such could mark the beginning of the end of his influence in Yoruba land. Chief Adeniyi who led the Global Intelligentsia for Buhari, a […]

  • Killings: Buhari condemns action, sends Defence Minister to Zamfara

    President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly condemned Thursday’s massacre of innocent persons in Birane village, Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State. The President stated this in a statement issued on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, following the death of at least 18 persons as a result of […]

  • Obasanjo visits Jonathan at Bayelsa residence

    Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday visited former President Goodluck Jonathan at his home in Bayelsa State. Dr Jonathan welcomed the elder statesman who was in his home for a private dinner, in company with his wife, Patience. Earlier before the visit, former President Obasanjo inaugurated a government specialist hospital in the state and unveiled […]

  • NNPC dispatches 29.058m litres of PMS to 13 states

    The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it supplied a total of 29.058 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol to thirteen Northern states in three days. In its report on daily dispatch to filling stations made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, it named […]

  • Lagos will bring about world class childhood disability intervention-Joyce Onofowokan

    An area in which different levels of governments in Nigeria have remained loudly silent and painfully indifferent is childhood disability. Children with disabilities and their parents have over the years ridden on waves of disillusion, despair, and decay. They constitute a tribe of the silent minority that the society has conveniently allowed to disappear into […]