THE Chief Justice of Nigeria’s (CJN) keynote address presented at the 20 Annual Judges Conference in the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, to be specific, Wednesday December 12,2019, has not only stirred the hornet’s nest, but left a sour taste in the mouth, as Nigerians were shocked to their bone marrows, given the sensitive public office he occupies.
THE CJN called on the academics to fashion and champion the cause of redesigning the methods of teaching Shari’a law; discard English as language of instruction in Shari’a law, and call for the creation of separate faculty dedicated to Shari’a; he also called for the amendment to alter Nigeria’s current constitutional status to go beyond the provision of Islamic Personal law already in the constitution.
WHAT made the comment a rude shock to majority of Nigerians, is that it was coming from a man who knows beyond doubt, the direction of the Nigerian constitution as pertains to secularity. But for a personality of CJN to willfully advocate for a constitutional amendment to introduce Shari’a is simply unpatriotic, insensitive, careless and above all a disregard to the honourable office of the CJN and the feelings of Nigerians.
WE also believe that such a call is never innocent. It is mischief which gives an impression of collusion with the PMB leaderships. This kind of conceited provocation in this midst of a nation clamouring for restructuring from the unitary system in practice, under the guise of federalism, is itself symptomatic of discontent of Nigerians with the present arrangement.
ADVOCATING for his religiously inclined system, Shari’a law, suggests that the PMB government must either be willing to do the biddings of majority of Nigerians by going ahead to implement the 2014 national confab report, or to wait for another who may be sensitive to the people’s needs to cause it to be done. We have stagnated as a nation for too long to keep repeating the same thing over and over again having known that it is unworkable.
IMPLICATION of all these is simple, it is high time Nigeria practice the federalism that will bring it better dividend than the pretense called federalism today. Mere incremental adjustments will not suffice. No matter the cosmetic changes done, so long as it does not touch on the fundamentals of the present, will be nothing, but a waste of our collective time as a people.
NIGERIA is ripe for greatness. When its great potentials are released through fundamental reforms that touch on revenue sharing, devolution of power to the states, allowing for state police etc, states would have been freed from being beggarly to the Federal government, to look inwards to develop the resources at their footsteps. This, doubtlessly, will create an atmosphere of competition amongst the states to try to attain the highest and the greatest for Nigeria.
THEREFORE, Nigerians should not crucify the CJN, for baring his mind. It is a choice he has made in the clamour for restructuring debate. So even if he is fronting for particular interests, being a person in government, he should use his position to advance and impress on the leadership, of which he is one, to allow the change to come.