21 December 2012

Nigeria: Tribal Sentiments Have Taken Over Merit in Nigeria - Ex-CJN

Lagos — Former Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Dahiru Musdapher yesterday expressed worry over state of Nigeria, saying corruption, favourism, nepotism and tribal sentiments have taken over merit.

"This is not the Nigeria we inherited from our predecessors, favourism, nepotism and tribal sentiments have made it impossible to run a merit driven system. Rather, we celebrate mediocrity soaked in the corruption we claim is our common enemy. I am scared and deeply worried", he said.

Delivering a paper in Lagos at the National Mirror Second Anniversary Lecture entitled "Media and the Judiciary: A Necessary Symbiosis", the former CJN lamented that if a person is accused of wrongdoing in Nigeria; his kinsmen are quick to relegate his clear transgressions to some kind of conspiracy against one of their own.

Corruption and nepotism, according to him, is supported and encouraged by its benefactors at the expense of all others, regretting that when a person occupies a position of authority he is expected to 'help his own'. The same people that complain about the impropriety of others become even more blatant when their so-called turn comes, he said.

"How can we become accountable to our misdeeds under such circumstances? How can we continue to run a political system that seems to tacitly accept, promote and encourage the very 'corruption' we all complain about?

"Today we have media houses and newspapers that blatantly promote sectional interests and ideas in line with the narrower interests of their preferred constituency against the Nigerian Nation. Nigeria is clearly a nation at war with itself. The path we are treading is a threat to the continued peace, unity and prosperity of this land we call our home.

"More than ever before in the history of Nigeria the scourge of terrorism poses great challenges to the Nigerian State. Our slide into anarchy has assumed dangerous dimensions perhaps beyond the capacity of our security agencies to deal with the menace effectively.

"Boko Haram insurgency, political violence, corruption, nepotism, tribalism, indiscipline, abduction and kidnappings, armed robbery, murder and extortion, bombings of places of worship and innocent

Nigerians are all indicators of a failing state. These social upheavals clearly threaten the survival of the Nigerian nation and we all have a duty to rise and stem the tide", he said.

Musdapher equally canvassed for the establishment of an independent institution to regulate conducts of judicial officers, saying the National Judicial Council (NJC) was presently overburdened to investigate allegations of impropriety against judicial officers.

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