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Dele Momodu: A hopeless ‘owambe’ clown begins his dance of shame in the open



By Festus Keyamo

After reading through Mr. Dele Momodu’s rather emotional outburst in response to otherwise salient points raised in the statement we issued asking him to point out SPECIFIC AREAS of plagiarism in Asiwaju’s ACTION PLAN, my feeling oscillated between delirious laughter and outright pity for the pathetic wreck his life has actually become. Here is a miserable fellow who having previously overrated himself, crashed down like a wingless bird from a futile presidential ambition (for which he got zero votes in the PDP Presidential primaries), and ended up as an hyperactive hireling and attack-dog of perhaps the worst serial loser in Nigeria’s electoral history.

Funnily enough, the only curriculum vitae he truly possesses to even make an attempt at the Presidency is no more than mere photo ops with celebrities and the high-and-mighty in society. This is the sad story of a HOPELESS CLOWN in his sixties who is desperately looking to pick whatever pieces is left of his life by shamelessly worming his way into the pockets of Atiku Abubabar and making himself available to execute dirty jobs against his long-standing benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Mr. Momodu’s epistle of lamentations is again a re-affirmation of his manifest lack of rigour. In his latest rambling piece, he failed again to redeem himself on the gross theoretical deficiency identified in his earlier writing. One would have thought he would seize this “second chance” to copiously point out portions or areas plagiarized by the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Council from MKO’s 1993 campaign manifesto named “Hope 1993”.

But instead, Mr. Momodu embarked on a “pity party” by whipping up sentiments like a frustrated man to cover up for his obvious inadequacies.

Typically, what the readers were then subjected to was another orgy of almost interminable name-dropping of socialites and the likes in Nigeria. But he seems oblivious of the fact that not many serious-minded Nigerians are easily swayed by such tabloid show-boating.

For instance, this time around, Mr. Momodu was quick to don the toga of “freedom fighter” on behalf of Akinwunmi Ambode for not getting second term ticket in APC in 2018 ahead of the Lagos governorship polls in March 2019. Well, let us pretend that we do not know the open secret that he was a well-serviced “PR consultant” to the same Ambode. That being the case, how come the same Momodu came out to praise-sing Asiwaju Tinubu on October 26, 2019 in his column entitled “Bola Tinubu and his Date with Destiny in 2023”? Was that not a betrayal of Ambode who, by then, had vacated office and left in limbo? To me, even more amusing was Momodu’s recourse to divulging what he himself termed “secrets”. Such tomfoolery! What he actually tried to do in that column was to again worm his way back to Asiwaju after “cleaning out” Ambode. Such is the character of Mr. Momodu that he actually operates from the lowest rung of moral debauchery; a man who follows who provides his next meal ticket. Atiku is the latest victim of this conman. Mark my words: IF, BY GOD’S GRACE, ASIWAJU WINS THE PRESIDENCY NEXT YEAR, EXPECT MR. MOMODU TO DO ANOTHER SOMERSAULT BY SHAMELESSLY COMPOSING ANOTHER “ORIKI” (YORUBA FOR PRAISE SONG) FOR ASIWAJU, CRAWLING HIS WAY BACK ON HIS WHOLE BODY FRAME LIKE AN ORANGUTAN.

Well, as a mark of personal honour, I will never succumb to the temptation to divulge what Mr. Momodu himself had told me in confidence in the past as to why he fell out with some key figures in the Buhari administration. Contrary to his usual public posturing, it was never a matter of principle. As Mitchelle Obama once put it: “When they go low, we go high.”

As a very busy man with various portfolios and an eye on my huge private practice still going strong and to which I will return anytime, let me end my response here. There are far more important things to do than be distracted by the tantrums of someone who seems to be getting increasingly frustrated that those who hired him to salvage the publicity aspect of PDP’s presidential campaign are so far unimpressed with his mediocre performance.

My last comment on this chapter, please.

  • Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) is Director of Public Affairs and Chief Spokesperson, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council


Nigerian judiciary: When an integrity-challenged institution sheds crocodile tears



“It is only here that judicial officers work harder than slaves and yet, they are not appreciated. But, the consolation is that the judges in Nigeria are attached to the devil they are contending with. Whether we like it or not, we have to be proud of our judges and justices. They are brilliant and bold and some of them are appointed as justices in other countries.

“A mistake by one judge should not be generalised to warrant general condemnation from any quarter. They surpass judges from other countries. They deserve commendation for resisting the evils. The majority of judicial officers are standing in the face of challenges and unless we are careful with the way we attack judges, we will lose our minds and conscience.”

These were the exact words of Kanu Agabi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF-MoJ) a few days ago. He was invited to speak on behalf of the senior members of the SANs, otherwise known as the Inner Bar, Nigeria’s equivalent of the UK Queen’s Counsel, now King’s Counsel, on Monday, September 25, 2023, at a special court session marking the commencement of the 2023/2024 Legal Year in Abuja.

As usual, and as it is wont with his ilk, the learned silk, once again attempted to shift the blame, this time for the rot in the society, particularly the heist that underscored the 2023 general elections which has hurt Nigerian democracy so badly. His was that instead of Nigerians directing their condemnation where they believe it is supposed to be firmly resting – the Nigerian judiciary, the camera of shame should be panned elswhere.

But what that would entail is to confirm as the judicial camp, perhaps believes, is that Nigerians are equipped with the brain matters of animals or at best morons. Otherwise, there is no other way the Nigerian judiciary would not take a large chunk of the blame if not all the blame in its entirety. In fact, nowhere else could it be more fitting.

Before him, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem President of the Court of Appeal (CoA), while opening the event, was no less unhappy herself about the brickbats the judiciary has been getting from Nigerians, while attempting to shift the blame away from the judiciary to Nigerian politicians, whom she blamed for not accepting their fate by walking away.

By the combined efforts of the two and indeed many other lawyers and commentators, some of them employed as undertakers, not only to beautify the ugly corpses that judicial pronouncements have become, but deodorise their putridity, the judges remain irreproachable, simply because they are merely interpreting the law the way it is rather than the way it ought to be.

For the rest of Nigerians who believe that judges should go beyond this straightjacket concept and deliver the justice of the matter before them in all ramifications, they are accused of committing a mortal crime of daring to bemoan the fate they have been handed. Their insistence that saving the society and the people from the insults, indignities and consequences arising from practically being fed their own excreta – a cocktail of faeces and urine, the usual mantra is that they are dwelling on sentiments. “Law is not sentiments, they would readily say.”

But put this statement on a proper societal balancing scale, it simply lacks the basic elements of logic. In the first place, judges are not inanimate objects. They are not machines either that could be placed at a spot and remain there permanently, never acting until their owners move them. They are also not trees that would be threated with being hewed down and still remain standing. No! Judges are not only human beings, but live in the same society they deny justice.

So, if democracy is raped so furiously and brutally as Nigeria has witnessed over the decades, most particularly in the 2023 elections, which has been acknowledged in informed quarters as the worst in the history of the country, judges, who by their pronouncements, help to sustain the outcome, cannot escape the blame, by snoring in the save and comfortable duvet of merely interpreting the law as it is or enjoy the alluring lullaby of praise singers, who tell them that their refusal to unilaterally take up the gauntlets to defend the society, reflects professionalism and courage as Agabi implied.

Rather they deserve to be called out and the guilt of the collapsed house that could result from such a convenient, irresponsible and most times devious shirking of their supposed ennobling duty, hung on their necks like yokes on the bull of burden. They must be dragged through the septic gutters of the infamy they deserve to travel on. That is what Nigerians are doing at the moment and there is no way they can escape the anger of the people no matter their obvious attempt at a pushback.

Yes! Agabi described Nigerian judges as “brilliant and bold” reasoning that “some of them are appointed as justices in other countries.” Of course it could be true and he may be right. But brilliant and bold in what sense? While the brilliance part of it is left to the jury, it is clear that only a bold judge could look at what happened in the 2023 elections, allow it to endure and keep a straight face. But that is in the negative sense.

Only a bold and courageous judge would look at Nigerians in the face and tell them that it is okay for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not to upload results of the 2023 elections real time, in line with their guidelines and what they mouthed everywhere in the market places across the country and even as far as the world stage, including the Chatham House in the UK, because they are not legally bound to do so. It is only a negatively-tutored and inspired judiciary that could hug such an obtuse, even if convenient excuse.

Perhaps, the former AGF was talking about the Nigerian judges of old and not the type Adamu Bulkachuwa, a Nigerian Senator once told his colleagues in his contribution at the closing session of the ninth Senate, held at the hallowed chambers of the Senate before the beaming cameras and millions of eyes within and without Nigeria, that he he effectively influenced and manipulated from his bedroom.

They are certainly not the type Chidi Odinkalu, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), told the world recently that Nigerian politicians put behind their pockets as they go about committing various forms of crimes and whose skewed appointments are the products of bedroom and other filial considerations. Certainly not!

If indeed they were, those who whose vice grip on the throat of the 2023 election asphyxiated life out of it, would not have been that daring to be singing the go to court mantra. It is because they were aware of the insipid and pliable nature of the current Nigerian judiciary that they sang that song with such ecstasy. That way Dongban-Mensem, would not not have to cry out about how election cases have overshadowed the entire judiciary system by the sheer number. In other words, the only way of stopping the deluge is to do justice. That way, electoral brigands will have no reason to continue in their bad behaviour. If they continue enabling the criminals, not only the judiciary but the entire polity would continue to suffer.

The judges Nigerians would remember with nostalgia and continue to celebrate are probably turning in their graves right now with revulsion at the notoriety of the bench they left behind. Such judges were the ones who took their decisions based on interpreting the law in totality. They were the ones who in their pronouncements, showcased that law indeed is made up of the letters and spirit, thus accentuating its organic nature and relevance to the society. Law is not for sake of law. Law is for the sake of man and society. That must be emphasised.

It is such raw, indisputable boldness and courage that delivered that heavy blow to the impunity demonstrated in the Rotimi Amaechi case in 2007. Ordinarily the former Rivers State Governor, would have been told to go home and lick his wounds, if he had presented his case today. But the judges demonstrated that they were part of Nigeria and decided to go for the spirit of the law in righting the wrong embedded in the impunity of one man authority, who posed a danger to democracy.

It was still within the same period that Peter Obi, against the moving train that was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got justice in the Tenure Determination Case, and was restored to power, even as a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), one of the least influential political entities in Nigeria at that time.

That obviously ought to be the judiciary Agabi should be cloaking in the toga of brilliance and boldness and not the obviously timid, lethargic and probably compromised judiciary of today that would permit the type of judicial murder that saw Dave Umahi and Godswill Akpabio return to the Senate after contesting presidential elections in one circle. How could such a judiciary earn the type of respect the former AGF envisages?

Imaging the cacophony of contradictions that are coming out from the election petition tribunals in the states – judges giving with one hand and taking with the other at the same time – in shameful display of outlandish pronouncements. Are they reflective of the type of judiciary that Nigerians would ignore and celebrate?

Certainly no! In the unlikely case that the present Nigerian judiciary has forgotten the colour of justice, only a scratch back to history would reveal it in the eternal description of the late Chukwudifu Oputa, one of the unforgettable minds that had ever sat on the noble and exalted position of the Nigerian bench.

Indeed, the only argument Agabi seemed to have got right is when he reminded his audience that whatever decisions they made or failed to make in the journey towards delivering justice, they must account for them, if not on earth, before their creator when they die, as many of them are doing right now.

But beyond that the eternal words of Oputa, Justice of the Supreme Court (JSC), as he then was, remains enduring – Justice to the accused, justice to the accuser and justice to the society. That is what Nigerians want and demand, without which, everything is but a white-painted sepulcher, beautiful outside but habours rotten remains in its bowels.

Nobody needs be told that the Nigerian society have continued to hold the short end of the stick in this context. But so long as it is denied its own share of justice, the judiciary would continue to suffer and endure the bespattering image from the paintbrush of shame! No more no less!


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Justice For Sale? – By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa



Increasingly but alarmingly, it is gaining ground that Nigerians now believe that justice is for sale. This position seems to be gaining ground increasingly. Is it possible to buy justice? Is it true that some politicians have all manners of mobile injunctions already typed and prepared, stocked in their portfolios and they just bring them out to suit any occasion? Can it be true that there are some judges who have been earmarked for such jobs as issuing out any order, injunction or judgment? Can it ever be said that parties before a court of law can know their fate even before the case starts?

I am worried and worried. Not long ago, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, warned about the dangerous dimensions of the influence of politics on justice administration generally. ‘So, one disadvantage in Nigeria today, which we have to look into, is how to curb the excesses of these politicians. They have ruined the judiciary. I feel sorry for them’, says Chief Clarke. I have also heard speculatively, that hardly is there any judgment from any election tribunal that is not a product of ‘transactions’.

My personal view is that most judges are incorrigible, above board and they decide cases according to law and their conscience, but the things that I hear are very troubling. They are spoken in hushed tones amongst the senior lawyers, they are posted with style on restricted WhatsApp platforms and they are ripe with the clients themselves. The question then is this: what is Transactional Justice? It is one in which the decision of the court on a case pending before it is procured or influenced by extraneous considerations other than the merit of the case. Such influence can be financial, tribal, religious or even social. At times it can be relational, such as when family members of a judge are recruited to put pressure on him to bend the scale of justice. The sphere is almost endless.

In Transactional Justice, there are lawyers involved as couriers of monetary offers to judicial officers and it is prevalent mostly in election petition cases. The politicians have become so desperate that they will do just anything to cling on to power, by all means necessary. The ugly side of this is that once it is possible to influence a judge in a particular judicial transaction, then the door is open permanently for other subsequent influences, as for instance once you are able to sway a judge to tilt the even scale of justice in an election petition, then that judge becomes a permanent customer even in other regular cases, whenever the need arises. This is how it goes. The litigant hires the very best lawyers in the field of his case, pays them well to handle all legal issues in the open court and then turn around to hire other lawyers or individuals in the background, purely for networking. These latter set of people have no business in the preparation of the case on the merit, they are not involved in the settlement of pleadings or briefs of arguments and they care less about the knowledge and erudition of counsel on record, but to work to secure victory for the paying litigant at all cost. They know the text of the judgment well ahead of time.

There are other aspects of Transactional Justice, I’m told. Some lawyers have perfected the style of always getting their cases assigned to a particular judge and God save you if you have to appear against them in any case, because you are doomed to always lose any point of law, no matter how brilliant you are and even if that point of law has been settled up to the Supreme Court. I don’t know how this works but it is said to be very common, especially amongst a few senior lawyers. It will surely take the connivance of court officials and the judge himself for this to happen, because once a judge has noticed the trend that a particular counsel is always appearing before him, almost on a daily basis, then that should raise the flag, if there is no collusion.

Then there are the professional litigants, who have no personal court cases of their own but have been recruited to help monitor the progress of some cases and to help secure victory ultimately. You see them in the courtroom, sitting prominently, for the judge’s attention and recognition. The court registrars know them, to always reserve vintage positions for them in the courtroom. In some very bizarre cases, they exude such irritating arrogance as to even sit by the entrance of the judge’s chambers, on each day that the cases come up, so that even the opponent would feel the pressure of the unofficial lobby. These ones are in the categories of family members, classmates, religious associates, social partners, either in the club or in the cult. The other side of this is that it gets so bad that even the registrars of the judges at times do complain openly.

How does it sound that judgment is no longer based on law or precedents? That law has become totally unpredictable, even for the same set of facts? We are unable to properly advise clients who approach us for legal counsel, as we now have different decisions, even of the Supreme Court, in the same set of facts and circumstances. Whereas this can be due to human error precipitated by the workload of judicial officers based on the volume of cases that they handle daily, it is also said that it can be the result of Transactional Justice. Good enough I have not had cause to be involved in any form of Transactional Justice, even for my own personal cases, all of which I believe I have won or lost purely due the facts of the cases and the application of law thereto. But I have no doubt that there is a high possibility that Transactional Justice is real.

Part of the Judicial Oath goes thus: ‘… I will discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly, to the best of my ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions.’ Transactional Justice is allowing personal, family, social or financial benefit to influence judicial decisions. But we all call it the ‘High Court of Justice’, as it is described in the Constitution. According to the learned authors of the very persuasive Black’s Dictionary of Law, the notion of justice is ‘the fair and proper administration of laws’, meaning that it must be balanced, be equitable, be fair and just and it must substantially conform with known principles and standards of law. In human affairs, the judge is next to God, which is why they have earned the title ‘My Lord’. In the same way that the words of God become established to man without question, so also are we all enjoined to obey all decisions of courts in order to guarantee peace and orderliness in the society. But then, how do you go about obeying Transactional Judgments, procured through fraud and other extraneous influences?

This has raised a great challenge for the judiciary and the Nigerian Bar Association, to tackle as a matter of national emergency, or else we should all just close down our chambers and leave legal practice for Transactional Lawyers. Why on earth should I bother myself to prepare for a court case that I know I will win or lose, as the case may be, and one in which the outcome is already predetermined? Now the trouble in all of these is that the rich and affluent, the ones so very well connected and powerful, will always get the upper hand in situations of Transactional Justice, which will be a game for the highest bidder. The poor man and his lawyer, the weak litigant and the lowly members of society stand to lose in all cases where Transactional Justice is at play, as they simply cannot match the stakes.

The negative consequence of Transactional Justice is that impunity, lawlessness and wickedness will continue to plague society, if the wicked and lawless oppressor cannot even be called to order by the court. When they breach your rights, they then turn around and taunt you to go to court, if you feel sufficiently aggrieved. ‘We will meet in court’, is what you get when you dare challenge impunity. It has gotten to the point that there are now individuals and even corporate entities that their names evoke fear, such that once you mention their names, people just throw up their hands in the air in total submission, meaning that you waste your time challenging any of their actions in court. But this should not be at all. We must not drive people to the point of frustration that will lead them to take law into their hands. If the courts cease to be the last hope of the common man, then the consequences can be very dire indeed. The rule of might, the power of money and the influence of man, should not determine the ends of justice.

I believe in my heart as most lawyers do that judges are human and they can err at times, but all cases of Transactional Justice should be met with open resistance and humiliation by all lovers of justice, less we all become helpless victims of injustice, because when judgment is procured by any means whatsoever and howsoever, it ceases to wear the noble garment of justice.

Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), wrote from Lagos

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Home and abroad, Tinubu’s Nigeria is taking its rightful place



By Mohammed Idris

Having hit the ground running at home, with a series of very bold and unprecedented reform decisions, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has gone ahead to seize the opportunity offered by the month of September 2023, to make a grand entry onto the global stage.

In what has been his busiest month on the global stage since he assumed office, President Tinubu traveled to India for the G20 Summit on the special invitation of Prime Minister Modi, made a stopover on his way back home for a crucial meeting with the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on lingering issues of concern between UAE and Nigeria, and then traveled to New York to make his debut at the most important annual gathering of Heads of State, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

At the UN—in a delivery reminiscent of the powerful and iconic ‘Africa Has Come Of Age’ speech by the late Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed, almost five decades ago—President Tinubu caught the attention of a listening world with his emphasis on an equal and mutually beneficial relationship between Africa and the world, instead of one defined by condescension, pity and greed.

The President spoke boldly for the entire African continent, tracing the history of the post-World War 2 global system, starting with a Marshall Plan that helped redeem Europe. Asking for a 21st century equivalent for that Plan, President Tinubu added, “We realize that underlying conditions and causes of the economic challenges facing today’s Africa are significantly different from those of post war Europe. We are not asking for identical programs and actions. What we seek is an equally firm commitment to partnership. We seek enhanced international cooperation with African nations to achieve the 2030 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.”

At every engagement, he has taken the time to remind the world of just how significant his first four months in office have been, in terms of laying the foundation for unlocking levels of economic growth and prosperity that we have always been capable of, but have sadly remained a pipe dream.

He ended a costly and wasteful fuel subsidy regime that has, over the decades, deprived the country of tens of billions of dollars in potential infrastructure and human capital investments. He also commenced an overhaul of the Central Bank of Nigeria, shaking up the leadership of the bank and supporting it to abolish an inefficient system of multiple exchange rates, which, like the petrol subsidy, has seen a lot of abuse, and stifled domestic and international confidence in the economy.

President Tinubu has also assembled a cabinet with an impressive representation of young people and women, while also creating new Ministries and ministerial portfolios to reflect the pressing realities of the 21st century, as well as the priorities of our administration.

For example, we now have a Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, recognizing the unlimited potential of that sector to produce national prosperity. We also now have a dedicated Ministry for the Creative Economy. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture has been expanded to include Food Security, underpinning the President’s declaration of a national emergency on Food Security early on in his administration.

On the regional level, President Tinubu has, in his role as recently-elected Chairman of ECOWAS, shown great commitment to stemming the condemnable wave of military takeovers that have rocked the sub-region, and I expect his diplomatic efforts to yield enduring fruit in the months ahead.

The President is being supported in his many onerous assignments by a very energetic and committed Cabinet. In the last few days, I joined some of my colleagues for events at the UN General Assembly, and can testify to the remarkable levels of determination within the cabinet, to solve Nigeria’s problems with the support and cooperation of the global community.

I can boldly assert that we stand on the threshold of a Nigeria that is a true global giant, a country that is able to fully exploit its immense potential energy of demographics, culture, and entrepreneurial dynamism. I have no doubt that my colleagues and I, under the leadership of the President, will step boldly forward, not backwards, from this historic threshold.

We have a very busy last quarter of the year ahead of us. The administration will finalize and unveil its inaugural budget, which will set the tone for investors and other potential partners, about our priorities. Nigeria will take part in the annual global gathering for Climate Change, COP28, in Dubai. We will push forward with work on the various reforms that the President has kickstarted, from tax policy reform to a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) transition for petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles, to the full implementation of a comprehensive relief package to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy.

As the President has repeatedly said, most recently last week in New York, “I am mindful of the transient hardship that reform can cause. However, it is necessary to go through this phase in order to establish a foundation for durable growth and investment to build the economy our people deserve.”

He understands how important it is to engage with the world to achieve this. During this month of diplomatic shuttling, he has met with Presidents and Head of States from the United States, India, Germany, South Korea, South Africa, Angola, Jordan, among others.

From the global business executives he has held meetings with this month—Exxon Mobil, Bharti Enterprises, Oracle, Hinduja Group, Indorama, Skipper Seil, and others—he has received pledges amounting to several billions of dollars in new investments. This cannot be overemphasized: at the end of the day, one of our administration’s overriding goals is to attract new investment that will create jobs and wealth for the people of Nigeria.

We will continue to finetune and amplify our narrative in this regard—a message that the President reiterated at every opportunity in New Delhi and New York—that Nigeria is open and ready for business, with partners who are equally open and ready for business with us, and who are not looking to exploit us or treat us like junior partners. And we will follow up the talk with action.

My Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation will be very critical to the success of our national messaging, and we will give it everything required for our narratives to succeed. We have a vision that includes redesigning how the Federal Government of Nigeria engages with the Nigerian people at home and abroad, and with the world.

As part of this, we will scale up our engagements with stakeholders, modernise our tools and platforms of information and communication, and work to craft credible and believable narratives that Nigerians will be proud of and delighted to share with the world.

In a few days, our dear country will celebrate its 63rd Independence Anniversary. It will offer an opportunity to further reflect on our nationhood journey, and the expectations of our citizens, and for us as leaders to rededicate ourselves to delivering on the bold and dynamic leadership that will enable Nigeria to fully assume its rightful place on the global stage. I have absolute confidence that success in this regard will be a defining legacy of this momentous era of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, wrote in from Abuja


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