WITHDRAWAL OF CORRUPTION CHARGES AGAINST DANJUMA GOJE: THE HONEST AND VIABLE BEST OPTION NOW OPEN TO US.

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Danjuma Goje

It is reported that after 8 humongous years of trial, with the prosecution closing its case, the argued application for no case submission overruled and the defense set to open, the FG has now withdrawn corruption charges against Senator Danjuma Goje. Now, read this:

“Honestly this is very sad and a major setback for the Anti-corruption war of this administration. I’m awfully disappointed and pissed off. For 8 years, I risked my life travelling to and from Lagos to Gombe and Jos prosecuting the case for the Federal Government. I called about 25 witnesses and tendered well over 150 exhibits admitted in the proceedings. The court ruled the defendants have a case to answer on 2 of the counts and the stage was set for their defense. Suddenly the AG took over the case from the prosecution/EFCC. I dutifully handed over the files with detailed handover notes to assist the AGF. And now this, the state withdrew the charges. 8 years of trial time wasted. Sad. Very sad.”

My reader, do you want to know the person who said the above? It is no less a person than Wahab Shittu, Esq., estwhile EFCC lead Counsel in the case – a man that should know better than any of the rest of us, perhaps, presumably.

Where are those whose beliefs had been that the FG’s crusade/fight against corruption under this administration is not one-sided? Can someone out there bring this development to their attention and thereafter they should honestly tell the rest of us who had believed and still believe otherwise if they feel the same way? I’m talking of honest and not dishonest claim.

In particular, where are those who are playing advisory roles like the Chairman and members of PACAC? How do they feel with this development? Do they still believe the crusade is on course and accordingly feel they should continue in their beats? In particular, how do they feel with this deadly blows dealt on it? Do they still want us to believe them that in their Presidential advisory roles, they are discharging their duties in the honest belief that the fight is non-discriminatory? In normal climes, this without more is enough for each of them to resign from his position but unfortunately, ours is not a normal clime and so they will not only stay gummed to office but they will still continue to tell us, insultingly, that they are part of crusade against corruption which, in their opinion, is non-discriminatory.

Let me admit and frankly too that more often than it is human weakness which informs and propels a sad development such as this. Let me also admit and equally frankly so, that weakness is a human trait which does not have but rather cut across boundaries and therefore no one can genuinely claim to be free from it. No one.

If no one is free from it, it cannot then be right for anyone, including this messenger, to claim unusualness of what has now happened. Since it is not unusual then I must advise those who are inclined to take this government to the hangman on account of what has now happened to have a rethink and shield their collective sword. This is so even as bad as the situation may appear. What is more, anyone who thinks that what has now happened, though a dent on this administration’s fight against corruption (a major one amongst its cardinal points), it should accordingly be seen as having eclipsed whatever achievements government has recorded in some other areas, such a one can neither be said to be objective nor fair. That is to say, regardless of the disappointing nature of what has happened, it does not constitute a good reason for wholesale condemnation of this government as one that has totally failed. No, it has not totally failed even as I am of the view we are far from where we ought to be.

MY CANDID ADVICE:

Now, be it noted that it takes some courage to take a step like the one in focus, awful as it is. So, it is a demonstrable courage (if you like a negative one) on the part of the FG to have done it. Since it found and mustered the courage to withdraw the corruption charges against one of its own, Senator Danjuma Goje, I advise and indeed implore it to re-charge its search-light, switch same on, beam it and with it search for and find similar courage to withdraw all corruption charges currently pending against whoever. That is, for those who believe in the grant of such amnesty to them. I shall return to this point shortly. I accordingly urge this on government, in the spirit of and need for a father treating his children equally and in similar circumstances. After all, not only Senator Goje is the FG/President Buhari’s own. We all, without exception, are their children and therefore are their own.

Let all such charges therefore be withdrawn, at least for those who want to embrace the step, with obvious consequence of beginning afresh as a nation. Who knows, this may just offer a new beginning that would turn out advantageous to us all. Let us make a trial at embracing this suggestion and experimentally take a shot at it and put it to use. I do so sincerely pray our dear President.

Before I close, I should as I must return to a point I had promised I would return to consider. I had stated above that the general amnesty herein advocated, peradventure government is willing to grant same, may be open to those who are willing to embrace it. Such caveat is informed by my understanding that not everyone may embrace it. For instance, I do not expect that those who are sure of the hollowness of the allegations made against them and who are each in pursuit of a mission to clear their names, are most likely to that option through a process of undergoing trials to their fullest length. Such choice may be informed by the need to avoid future fingers pointing which any inchoate proceedings arising from abrupt termination of corruption allegations made against them may engender. I do not imagine that Senator Danjuma Goje who has now embraced the amnesty instead of standing to fight a legal battle which would see him clear his name once and for all times can reasonably avoid such fingers pointing. This is separate and apart from the fact that peradventure he falls into the misfortune of being faced with a hostile administration in future, resurrection of the charges now withdrawn may, on the time-honored legal principle that in criminal proceedings time does not run against the State, be quite a possibility. Then he would have discovered to his discomfiture and discomfort that it is not yet uhuru for him.

As I close, may I appeal to those who may believe in and therefore take the hard stand, after reading this, that the best place for my type for daring to nurse the idea let alone voice same out that all pending corruption charges be withdrawn, is a psychiatrist home or even the hangman’s gallows, to have a rethink on such hard stance. If they spare time to do so, they may and indeed they are most likely to find how wrong they are on such posturing for the following reasons, namely that:

a. I’m entitled to my opinion which, in this instance like in any other instance, I have expressed in line with and in pursuit of my constitutional rights and

b. The point advocated here if acted upon possesses the potentials to operate for this government as a face saving device having seemingly shot itself on the foot by this ill-advised step that was brazenly taken whilst government couldn’t be bothered that same amounts to registering a blinding slap on collective face of Nigerians.

May the good Lord, however, continue to look and treat us with favors, our unacceptable actions and inactions notwithstanding. More importantly, I pray He should depart from pointing to our leaders to way to go and the path to follow to arrive there. In particular, may He rid our leaders, in the conduct of public affairs, of the stubborn and arrogant spirit of “I will do it only the way it suits and oils my ego and not the way of prescriptive/normative rules”. – JUSTICE R. AMAIZE (Rtd)

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