Late last month President Muhammadu Buhari, the man who, rode on the white horse of anti-corruption to push out Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as president, slapped the sensibility of Nigerians when he decorated former chief justice of Nigeria, CJN Tanko with the highest honourary award in the country.
Tanko was forced to resign from office 18 months before his due date pleading ill-health after 14 out of the 15 Supreme Court judges petitioned the Federal Government alleging massive fraudulent acts by him as CJN and a downward slide of the judiciary. Tanko was accused of denying the jurists due privileges while according same to himself and family; undermining development by not carrying out trainings budgeted for, and mismanagement of judiciary funds, among others.
That petition was historical being the first time the Supreme Court judges were raising issues on leadership beyond their walls. It was therefore, weighty.
Nigerians know Tanko as the CJN who turned the Nigerian judiciary into a joke; the man under whom the courts became an open market; the man who did nothing but the bidding of Buhari and his party. He presided over the ruling that confirmed Buhari victorious. Thanks to him, Imo State has known no peace for under him, the nation’s last point for justice awarded Hope Uzodinmma a governorship he did not win.
While groups were calling for the weighty allegations against him to be probed, for always doing his bidding, the president who claimed he is for all and nobody, chose to jettison the call of the people and honoured the man with question marks.
Tanko has already been doubly rewarded through the All Progressive Congress, APC for safeguarding their seats. Two of his sons will be flying the APC flag in the 2023 elections but Buhari felt he deserved more for disorganizing the judicial system.
If there was any doubt that the president is for a few in whom he sees no evil, Tanko’s decorated exit under a messy atmosphere confirms his partisanship as a leader. Buhari turns a blind eye when his cronies are involved in any wrong act but, wields the hammer where others are concerned,
This is not acceptable. Allegations against Tanko are too heavy and sensitive to be swept under the carpet. As he did with others, he should do with Tanko.
As a supposed anti-corruption advocate President Buhari should have been worried that it took a Tanko to drag out the Supreme Court judges for the first time in Nigeria’s history. That horror that motivated the protest must be dug out so it does not hurt again. President Buhari should understand that Nigeria is not a personal but state responsibility, which should be governed by set rules and regulations. Respecting those rules grow democracy; he owes Nigerians that obligation to sustain our democracy not destroy it.
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