by Ismaeel Ahmed
There are numerous situations to cite as examples of the aberration of the principle of Rule of Law in the last fourteen years of civilian rule; the Salami saga will go down in history as one the most disgraceful acts of aberrations, not only the superiority of the law, but even the sanctity of justice.
From time immemorial, man has always strived to create a balance and equality in what appears to be an increasingly unbalanced and unequal world; a community out of a society, an order out of a chaos, a structure out of a barren space, a governor from the ungoverned, freedom from tyranny and democracy from monarchy. In a democracy, somehow man thinks he has found a balance that will equalise all persons; the Rule of Law. The notion that all men who are equal before the same thing should be equal unto each other gave birth to the idea of a set of laws not men, to govern societies.
Democracy, at least on paper, guarantees some certain benefits that no other type of structural governance does; the right to determine how you are governed but most importantly, who governs you. The biggest selling point of Democracy by its most ardent proponents is the cardinal principle of the Rule of Law.
The Rule of Law basically means the superiority of laws over men. The subjectivity of every individual, group or institution within a defined parameters to a set of laws and rules that is blind to privileges and titles and that confers an equal status to all and sundry within its domain. It is this selling point that has won over many countries to the fold of democratic rule of which Nigeria was among them in the 1960’s. 53 years on however, in a democratic dispensation the true definition of democracy and it’s foundational principle of Rule of Law has been tested and stretched to limits that will make even the most despotic regimes envious.
There are numerous situations to cite as examples of the aberration of the principle of Rule of Law in the last fourteen years of civilian rule; the Salami saga will go down in history as one the most disgraceful acts of aberrations, not only the superiority of the law, but even the sanctity of justice. The Bola Ige murder, where the prime suspect who was under police custody won a senatorial election and was released to go and serve his full term in the senate. Then there is the Chris Ngige- Ifeanyi Ubah debacle in Anambra, where a sitting president admitted to a confused country that he called for a truce between a kidnapped incumbent Governor and the kidnapper, who was clearly more powerful than the Governor even in the eyes of the president.
The most recent of this ignominious acts is the attempt by the Nigerian police to stop some INCUMBENT governors who are tagged “rebels” to their party, not their country, from holding a meeting in a residence owned by a state government. I am a lawyer albeit a young one, but I do know there is no section or provision either in the constitution of the FRN or the Police Act, that empowers a police constable (DPO) to force himself into a private residence (a Governors lodge is privy only to a sitting Governor) to disrupt a meeting of a peaceful association of like minded individuals who are immunity-clad by the way, on a subject of which is still before the court and without a search warrant. Now, I know politics can be nasty and petty, but when law enforcement agents are involved then it becomes a matter of standard procedure and rule of law. Law enforcement agents are by default suppose to obey the letters of the law not the utterance of the ruler. Where the ruler, in a civilian dispensation feels that his words and ways are laws, the dangerous trend of a chaotic decay has been set that may result in to the crumbling of the democratic infrastructure and brutish state of a lawless society. For even in the jungle, the Lion became King by hunting out of need not out of greed. It is only when the rule is superior that the ruler is secured.
Barr. Ismaeel Ahmed holds a Law Degree (LL.B) from University of Abuja, a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America.
Ahmed also holds a Masters of Law (LLM) from the University of Chicago, USA. He is a lawyer and a politician. He is currently the chairman of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF), a Youth body under the newly registered APC.
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