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Since Nigeria gained independence on October 1st 1960, till this very moment, thousands of cases have been heard in the courts of law. Some cases have been won on merit, some won on legal technicalities, some won on bias and political prejudice. In fact, several Nigerian politicians and public servants have been tried in the Court of Law and several of them still have their heads up, shoulders high, flaunting their post-prison political powers, being welcomed with much fanfare, gaining more political points and getting more feathers to their caps even after being convicted or still facing long trials in the court.
Court, in a non-technical way can simply be said to be a gathering where judgments are made. For the purpose of this piece, I shall categorise court to exist in the following forms: Material and Idea. The material court is the court that exists in the physical and perceptible to sensory. It can be called the court of law. The court of Law can be said to be any perceptible individual or government institution with the exclusive right and authority to judge or adjudicate, legal disputes between conflicting parties. This could be in the form of adjudicating just desserts in criminal, civil and any other matter (Case) as it may arise in accordance with the law. While, the idea-court exist only in our thoughts and aids decisions; in other words, it can be said to exist in the mind as conscience. It can be called the court of conscience.
In the court of conscience, there are no physical lawyers. The court is situated in the mind and it is a production of thoughts. The court of conscience includes the advocate of the plaintiff, the advocate of the defendant and the judge being the mind (brain action of thoughts) in use all existing as actions of the brain: the mind. The masses must as a matter of urgency arise to the clarion call of trying public servants and politicians in the court of conscience.
However, before any public servant or politician can be tried there is need to firstly, in the words of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo: “need for restructuring of the mind”. This will be done by first examining ones’ past actions, future intentions, its consequences and how it affects others in our community. Secondly, we should be unbiased umpires in examining the alleged politicians and public servants irrespective of our religious, social or ethnic inclinations. Thirdly, try the public servants/politicians in the court of conscience.
The trial of public servants in our respective court of conscience should be based on the yard stick of ethical utilitarian moral theory. Ethical Utilitarian moral theory states that whatever is good, should be any action which gives the greatest number of joy to the higher number of people i.e. the masses in this context. So, the yard-stick of assessment in the mind is premised on: whatever action that gives/does-not-give joy and long term pragmatic pleasure to the masses. Or whichever public servant’s policies and administration brings/does not bring pragmatic joy through execution of beneficial projects, implementation of advantageous policies, formulation of positive laws/law making and fair adjudication should be declared wanted and pronounced convicted in the court of conscience.
Any convicted sleazy politician found guilty in the court of conscience should be jailed in the conscience and be denied opportunity to hold any other public post.
The conviction of erring and suspected public servants in the country by the masses in their various consciences will go a long way to ensure wanted public servants and politicians are denied access to public, political & non-political posts. It will also stop vote buying, election malpractice, election violence and blind-voting (voting based on political sentiments).
On this note, we will flush out and give the old-cargo-politicians (the old-farts) and all the erring politicians, both young and old, compulsory retirement. Hence, making them politically irrelevant even paving the way for “Not-Too-Young-Run”, in order for the young knowledgeable ones to rule.
Finally, I strongly believe that this is a major way we can eradicate corruption in our society. It is also a right step of showing patriotism.
Emmanuel K. Adebiyi
Emmanuel K. Adebiyi is an anti-corruption writer and he is presently a serving NYSC member of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy