The conviction of the former Governor of Abia State and sitting Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Chief Orji Uzo Kalu births in my mind this question: Can we safely conclude that the end to impunity is within our grasp as a nation?
Why now, why not when Joshua Dariye, also a former governor and senator was similarly convicted? Because then that decision was rubbished on the altar of political expediency – that Dariye is a member of the opposition, People’s Democratic Party. Even the PDP made it an official party line! Not with this case.
When Mazi Kalu joined the All Progressives Congress, many said that will be the end of this case. That he was corralled to join the APC just for that purpose. But last time I checked he is still a card carrying, bona fide member of the ruling party. And how come no one has “worked out his case on that account”?
So, can we now at least begin to hope (against hope?) that impunity will be punished, regardless of who the offender is? That as easily as a poor man who steals in the market place will be punished, so will a rich man with connection in high places? AND THIS IS VERY CRUCIAL. Why?
Because we, as a matter of national emergency, need to begin to reorientate our minds from the belief that you can do anything and get away with it, if you know the ‘right persons’. Orji Kalu is as connected as they come in Nigeria. He eats and dines with powers that be. He himself is a power that be.
Yes, he has a right of Appeal to the Supreme Court, and this judgment may yet be set aside for a number of legal reasons; but the fact remains he has been found guilty as charged. He is spending tonight in prison, and many more nights until an appeal sets this judgment aside.
So, I wager a bet, that we may just be in a new season where our laws will count in Nigeria, and no one can do just as they please.
©️ Adewale Adeniji. 5th December 2019.