Nigeria: Garba Nabaruma - Fine Jurist, Gentle and Good Man


I was very sad when I heard about the death of Hon. Justice Musa Garba Nabaruma. I received the news with a rude shock.

He was a perfect jurist; with a touch of gentility.

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 veritable legal tools of reference.

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 petitions tribunal, gave an unassailable judgement declaring me the rightful winner of the 2003 senatorial election to represent Anambra Central. This judgment, alongside that of Sen. Joy Emordi's, was the first of its kind across the nation in our current democratic dispensation.

That landmark judgement was followed with his audacious ruling on the 2003 Anambra governorship election, were he once again, set another remarkable precedence by restoring the mandate of the rightful winner, and in the process removed a sitting 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.

Interestingly, Justice Nabaruma served as chairman of many election petitions tribunals, and all his judgements were never reversed in any of the appeals, evidence of his thoroughness in carrying out his cases.

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

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

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