Premium Times (Abuja)

5 January 2014

Nigeria: Bode George's Guilt and the Logic of Deduction, By Adeolu Ademoyo

(Page 2 of 3)

The conviction of Mr. Ọlabọde George by honorable Justice Oyewọle follows legal pattern of a deductive reasoning for good laws are formulated in a way to prevent their abuse by accused, judges, lawyers and lay people. And to follow an inductive path in legal reasoning as the Supreme Court judges had wrongly done where the law under which the accused were tried is formulated (as a general law against abuse of office) to prevent such induction will be morally problematic and logically chaotic. I will show this presently.

But what the Supreme Court judges have just told Nigerians and the world through their inductive path is that there is nothing called abuse of office by rulers and politicians in Nigeria. With due respect to these judges, this is morally frightening and logically absurd.

The general statement of offense against Mr. Ọlabọde George under the law belongs to the (a) kind in our illustration. The particular belongs to the (b) kind in our illustration. To therefore depart from this as the Supreme Court has done in freeing Ọlabọde George and others of a general offense they are guilty of under the appropriate law is with due respect a war against law, basic reason and ethics. The Supreme Court followed an inductive path while giving the false impression that it is still faithful to the deductive path of the charge and conviction in the lower court. This is morally and logically unacceptable. The Bar and the Bench ought to take this up to save reason in the country if they wish.

In inductive reasoning you reason from the particular to the general. In order to make things simple and uncomplicated I will use exactly the same example I used with deductive reasoning. Just reverse what we did with deductive reasoning. For example a particular statement is (e) "Bọla is a mother. Bọla is kind". (f) Bukọla is a mother. Bukọla is kind. There are general statements that can be rightly or wrongly "induced" (inductive) from (e) and (f). We can say (g) Every mother is kind. or (h) Mothers are kind or (i) Not every mother is kind.

The question is: Can or do (g) and (h) follow from (e) and (f)? Can we say (g) "Every mother is kind" or (h) Mothers are kind because (e) Bọla is a mother and Bọla is kind and (f) Bukọla is a mother and Bukọla is kind? No, because you have to check all mothers in the world before making such induction. And this is not possible practically. This is why for any serious country that is fighting corruption, laws against abuse of office are general categorical laws. Public office holders (such as Ọlabọde George as former chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority) including President and Governors must not use their public offices to serve any interest other than the interest of the state- in this case Nigerian state and the public. When they do that the name is abuse of office.

Law against abuse of office where the office belongs to the Nigerian state belongs to the Categorical General Law as codified in specific and concrete codes in states. For example take my university as a country hypothetically. I am a teacher. If in a class of ten students, I trade my grade for money or body gratification to two students, such trade is a particular act, which is an abuse (general) of my office and role as a teacher. If my university or country has a Categorical Law against abuse of office, then I am guilty for I have "particularly" i.e. "specifically" sold my grade for money and body gratification. I have abused my office for a general university law or code exists against abuse of office.

Contract splitting is an instantiation or if you like a sub set of the general. Justice Olubunmi Oyewọle of the Lagos High Court tried Mr. Ọlabọde George and others for a general offense, which is known to a general law specified in a code. Contract splitting is a particular act like the hypothetical example of my grade trading , which does not serve the interest of the Nigerian state and public just as my trading my grade for money, or body gratification does not serve the interest of my university and the country where I teach.

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