Nigeria … on the Precipice: A Call to Save the Judiciary

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I worked with Justice Nnamdi Dimgba for a period when he was in active practice. I knew him to be erudite, collegiate and goal driven.


However, I woke up this morning to see his name mentioned as an NDDC contractor. This was quite worrying. So, I called him. A man I hadn’t spoken to in many years. I called him and in the most distraught voice he confirmed what I knew. He is not a contractor. He did not win a contract. He did not nominate any contractor. He did not receive any financial reward or gain from any contract.


Justice Nnamdi Dimgba is a bright light. His road to the Bench was extraordinary to say the least as indeed, his work so far on the Bench. He is young and full of potential. For great things. He should be encouraged. Not hunted or calumniated.


It is very sad that politics appears to have no limits or respect for institutions in Nigeria. Justice Nnamdi Dimgba is one person but he is representative of the Judiciary; the institution burdened with the responsibility of balancing our precarious and precipitous Nigeria.


Nations endure on the strength and integrity of their institutions. Nigeria is no exception. This is proved with each new dawn. The country requires its institutions to be strong, transparent, bold and committed to the principles of nationhood; the more so, for the Judiciary, the last bastion of hope of the common man.


The Judiciary, symbolized by balancing scales, a sword and a blindfold, can however only serve its purpose, if it is not persistently dragged, with or without resistance, through the mud by politicians. At best, this is distracting and diversionary from the lofty purpose of justice. The worst can only be imagined. May we not see it.


While it is in the common interest for our Judiciary to be strong and independent, there are a few whom the contrary serve. Though few, they possess deep and fibrous roots and a nationwide lattice strengthened by the interplay of greed and lack. This few have a disdain for strong institutions and will utilize any means available (money, politics, religion, etc) to sensationalize and undermine any and all attempts at building up capacity.


This is what the inclusion of the name of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba in the list of NDDC contractors was intended to do. And sadly, this is what it has done.


Nigeria is in a free fall. It is hurtling to its death and we are standing by, all onlookers with a front row seat, as if captivated by a circus act. It is said that when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.The Judiciary, which cannot talk for itself, which cannot participate in the war of words or any public defence, for fear of attrition of its hallowed calling, is almost always the unfortunate grass.


But, like Eneke, the bird who said that since men have learned to shoot without missing, it has learned to fly without perching, the Judiciary and all who hold it dear, must rise up against this unending battery and commitment to its demise. Only this will save Nigeria from falling off this precipice where we find ourselves.


By Emonye Adekwu LLB, LLM, MCIArb



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