It still baffles me how the Supreme Court adjudicated the case concerning the candidacy of the erstwhile governor of the central bank, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo. No, it is not about the outcome of that case which was in his favour rather the speed with which it was decided. It is unprecedented in the history of the judiciary, within the space of two days, the supreme court judges were able to deliberate and arrive at a decision on that case. I personally congratulate them for such a feat. One then begins to wonder why Buhari vs INEC and OBJ lasted for close to three years, why Buhari vs Yaradua over a year and a host of them including Ararume vs PDP, Amechi vs PDP and Omehia.
Given such background then, only a cretin will fail to ask the question "what was the need for such haste?" "Why the speed?" After all, the Supreme Court, as we know, has the capacity to make consequential orders or even nullify an election after such election has been concluded. My personal answer to that question is that for once the Supreme Court remained faithful to the essence of justice--time. It is this essence that is couched in that ancient dictum "justice delayed is justice denied." The Supreme Court has shown that they understand that when such essence is breached justice degenerates into charity - whereby the presiding judge or judges will decide when to adjudicate on a given case or not depending on his/their disposition or perhaps interest!
However, it also defiles understanding when the judiciary knowing such danger breach the zone of time and couch its judgement in the language of the poet - "expeditiously." A case in point is the Supreme Court's judgement in Agbaso vs Ohakim and INEC where the Supreme Court ordered the appellate court to hear the case presented before it and decide on it "expeditiously." We all know how long it took the appeal court to arrive at an expeditious decision in which the judges in turn ordered the federal high court to re-try the case and decide on it "expeditiously." Since the judiciary has decided to play Pius Okigbo or Wole Soyinka who like their poems to be repeated to their hearing we may be obliged to say to the judiciary: expediously....expeditiously.... expeditiously... whatever that means.
It is pertinent to remind the Nigerian bench that they are not politicians, diplomats or poets who hide behind such language of forms: "our government will urgently look at your proposal", " our government will drastically reduce green house emission" etc etc. That justice is an arduous task does not warrant our judges to become politicians or diplomats, not to talk of poets. We already know that after the expeditious retrial of Ohakim vs Agbaso, perhaps another expeditious appeal and finally an expeditious one at the Supreme Court - given the fact that it is a pre-electoral case, Ohakim's rogue tenure will be reaching its cap of four years. We have already seen that in Peter Obi vs Ngige and INEC. After a three-year rigmarole, obi was declared the authentic governor and recently the judiciary had the effrontery to declare that Ngige can rightly be referred to as ex-governor and that his tenure can be recognized as such, namely the government of Anambra state.
Yes! I name you: sanctifier of the usurper
Will postfacta exonerate you? No. It lays you bare
I know you, o skulker of the night, devourer
Destroyer of first fruits, darkness will not shield you
What does such judgements vis-a-via the duration that precedes the "expeditious" judgements of the courts say of our judiciary? Simply, our courts are now charity institutions and Judges now dish out decisions when they feel like, right or wrong. Our democracy now depends on such whims. The judiciary should know that it is called the last hope of the common man and the common man is not the mendicant rather the man that has been waylaid. He can be likened to the biblical traveller from Jerusalem to Jericho who was waylaid by brigands and stripped of all he had. The priest and Levite who passed him may actually have the intention of helping but requires much time to go home and send one of their servants or eat before coming to help, in such a case it is still charity whereby the duration of the act depends on the whim and the convenience of the performer. After all, beggars cannot be choosers. However, the exaltation of the Samaritan is not just that he helped but helped "just- in- time" hence, he was first and foremost a just man before being a charitable man.
In essence, justice must by its nature implicate time. "Expeditiously" is an adverb of time, but what time that counts as expeditious must be spelt out in each context. Three months, four months, a week, two days as in the case of prof. Soludo. Pronouncements that contain "expeditiously" should, as of necessity, insert a time-limiting clause. "Expeditiously and not exceeding two weeks... etc, etc." The judiciary must renounce all politics and poetics in the enterprise of justice. Justice is neither politics nor poetry and judges do not run NGO's.