Nigeria: Fine Jurist, Gentleman and a Good Man

29 May 2020
opinion

Ben Obi, a Senator states clearly why Justice Garba Musa Nabaruma, who passed on recently deserves a place of honour in the annals of the Nigerian judiciary

I was very sad on hearing about the demise of Honourable Justice Musa Garba Nabaruma. I received the news of his unfortunate death with rude shock. He was a complete, perfect jurist with a touch of gentility both in mien and character.

The Nigerian legal system cannot be complete without mentioning his immense contributions towards enriching its jurisprudence, especially his audacious pronouncements on electoral cases that later became a veritable legal precedence in the Nigerian legal system .

I recall with nostalgia, how my long legal battle to reclaim my stolen mandate as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria received judiciary pronouncement when Justice Nabaruma, as head of the election petition tribunal alongside other eminent jurists, gave an unassailable judgement declaring me the rightful winner of the 2003 senatorial election to represent Anambra central. This judgment alongside that of Senator Joy Emordi were the first of its kind across the nation in our current democratic dispensation.

That landmark judgement followed suit with his audacious ruling on the 2003 Anambra governorship election petition, were he once again, set another remarkable precedence by restoring the mandate of the rightful winner in the governorship election, and in the process removed a seating governor, after painstakingly going through the petition that took years to conclude. It takes a man of boldness, courage and character to do such, at a time it was considered a 'no go area' in our nascent democracy.

Those judgements, aside proving that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man, they became a moral boaster for the judiciary in the dispense of their judicial functions.

The current independent and power of the judiciary to annul, restore back stolen mandates, without fear or favour was first exercised by Justice Nabaruma, giving other judges the latitude to follow in that stead in our current democratic dispensation.

Interestingly, Justice Nabaruma served as chairman of many election petition tribunals, and all his judgements were never reversed in any of the appeals, an evident of his thoroughness in carrying out his cases. He was indeed an impeccable jurist.

The judiciary, all lovers of democracy should be grateful to Honourable Justice Garba Musa Nabaruma for being a pace setter in the Nigerian legal system.

Sadly, his death is coming at a time when people of his caliber are required to stand out and fight in uplifting and entrenching the much needed reforms in the Nigerian judiciary system.

It is my earnest prayer that God almighty comfort his family, friends and indeed all of us whose path crossed together with his during his sojourn on earth.

My condolence also go to the government and people of Yobe State, may God comfort those affected by his demise, especially his immediate family who are now left to mourn him.

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