POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN NIGERIA (Insight and Reflections)

BY

EMMANUEL N. NNANI

Culturally, Nigeria is a multi- tribal   system in which every tribe wants to excel or suppress the other, so they are not on the same level playgrounds. Every person in politics is regionalized and people are capitalizing on that. Once leadership is zoned in the country, one cannot expect to get the best, but Nigerians are trying to live with what they presently have.

Since independence in 19 60, Civil war, Coup d’état, and consequent military governments have created a Nigerian political environment that is not always seen as stable. This circumstances have constantly destabilized and jeopardized Nigeria’s democratic principles of the rule of the law and independence of the Judiciary as well as political states that border Nigeria Transparency international consistently rate the level of corruption in Nigeria among the highest in the world. Years of plutocratic repressive dictators and military rule, coupled with widespread   corruption, have resulted in large –scale neglect and deterioration of public service. The Giant of Africa was brought to its knees by 20 years of brutal and corrupt military rule, which left a legacy of executive dominance and a political corruption in the hands of Nigeria’s so- called godfathers. Powerful political bases sitting atop vast patronage networks who view the government primarily through the lens of their own personal environment.

The solution for addressing Nigeria’s problems and consolidating democratic governance in the Federal Republic lies in having a government or leadership that works on the principle of good governance and respect for the rule of law and smooth administration of Justice. Good governance in Nigeria is essential to its stability and growth and that of the economies of her West Africa neighbors.

The political leadership of any society is the bedrock of the entire process of the goings-on in that polity. The charisma and personality of individual in the executive arm of government of any democratic society to reasonable degree determine the effectiveness of other arms of government in such a society. The first important quality for in an incumbent executive or legislator is the quality of his character towards the rule of law and administration of justice. Campaigns should be directed to this factors vigorously in Nigeria where criminals are seen and heard, rather than seen and not heard. This is an evidence of a zoological environment and leadership.

An individual possessing powers of the executive arm of government in presidential and republican political system determines to a reasonable degree the effectiveness of the administration of justice in such a political system. It follows that law abiding leadership would guarantee to reasonable degree an effective administration of justice devoid of political corruption and unnecessary interference of the executive arm of government in the delivery of judgment in courts and the administration of justice in general. Accordingly, Plato once asserted justice is the bond that holds members of society weak and strong together and that proposition had made justice to be understood in the society differently today.

The issue is why have Nigerian’s failed to understand that choice of political leadership maximally contribute to the development of democratic institutions and its functions in any given human society.

A society endowed with good and law abiding political leadership awaits high expectation of the dividends of democracy, rule of law, and effective administration of justice. In turn, a society endowed with bad and non- law abiding political leadership awaits high levels of dividends of dictatorship, lawlessness and interference in the smooth administration of justice in such a society.

There are some levels of truth in the political theory of natural resources curse, that countries such as Nigeria which enjoys enormous oil resources often are characterized with political leadership that derive joy and think it right to hijack or buy justice with money or through violence means pervert justice to their interests. There is a strong nexus between resources wealth and the likelihood of weak democratic governments, corruption and civil war.

Ake once posit, in so far as there is economic inequality in a society that society cannot have political democracy because political power will tend to polarize around economic power. In the same token West submit that governments with large oil receipt need less consent from the governed to stay in power. They discourage free market and favor state enterprises. For example in Nigeria and Azerbaijan, the result is repressive and corrupt institutions and bloated bureaucracies sustained by oil money.

Both Plato and  Aristotle believed in Justice since after the demise of these Western philosophers, justice has continue to be a determining factor in the political civilization of any human society.

There are three essential ingredients that you must consider in any given society and   this is a means of physical survival of the society, the defense of the society and how the society can be governed, the realization of these functions in a society, appetite, spirit and reason are imperative. Further, three groups of men are needed to perform these functions and this; worker, Soldier, and the philosopher king. It is an injustice of the highest order or the worst of it all, for a man of appetite or spirit to be a ruler. Judging from Plato’s   analyses of justice the goings-on in Nigeria’s executive – judiciary relations dating back from the colonial era to present, it would be reasonable to posit that Plato’s   philosophy there is high level of injustice prevalent and inherent in the Nigeria polity today.

Today, general election is fast approaching in Nigeria , the right time is now, for Nigerians to wake up from their sleep and realize that choice of political leadership during  election optimally determine the development of democratic institutions, structures, and functions. In addition granting the judiciary   financial autonomy will help to guarantee smooth administration of justice devoid of unnecessary interference and abuse from the executive arm of government.

We must ensure not to vote for hungry, greedy, and selfish leadership who does not have the intellectual capacity and lacks the moral character to operate within the ambit of the rule of law as we have seen in time past how some political leadership both at national and state level failed to uphold court, judgments and take some decisions without following the due process of law in the country.

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