By Kingsley Omose
What did the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Rotimi Akeredolu, who having earlier questioned the legality of the swearing in of Justice Katsina-Alu as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, expect by showing up dressed in ceremonial robes at the ceremony admitting 19 senior lawyers to the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
I believe that Justice Katsina-Alu should be commended for refusing to robe and not allowing the NBA President to commit illegality by making a speech at an event presided over by a supposed illegal Chief Justice of the Federation of Nigeria who was also supposedly illegally admitting the 19 lawyers to the rank of SAN.
With an Acting President who in some quarters is regarded as illegal, a Chief Justice whose legality is doubted by some in the NBA and now 19 SANs whose appointment under clouds of illegality have been further illegalized by a controversial ceremony who can tell what is going to happen next in Nigeria.
Whatever it is, the signs are omnious as the decision by Justice Katsina-Alu ably supported by other justices of the Supreme Court to publicly disgrace the Nigerian Bar Association, the Attonery-General of the Federation and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria in one fell swoop is unprecedented.
Equally unprecedented are the statements credited to Justice Dahiru Musdapher and Alhaji Musale, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court respectively, inferring that those who felt aggreived by the public disgrace could take a hike and that the occasion was not for speech making by every Dick and Harry.
By allowing the most senior lawyer among the ranks of the new 19 SANs to speak while denying that same right to the representative of the Body of SANs into which the 19 were being admitted, Justice Katsina-Alu was also publicly expressing his displeasure that the Body of SANs did not rise to his defence when the NBA was hounding him.
By refusing to allow the newly appointed Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke to make a speech at the same event, the Supreme Court of which Justice Katsina-Alu is head was passing a clear signal to the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan government that his government is illegal and not recognized.
This continuing swell of illegality flows from the failure of Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to transmit a simple letter to the National Assembly that he was proceeding on vacation or had become incapacitated thus paving the way for his deputy to become Acting President and the decision of the National Assembly to supposedly remedy the situation.
As things stand, a Katsina-Alu led Supreme Court will when given the opportunity have no equivocation about declaring the Jonathan Goodluck led government as illegal while not being entirely free itself of charges of being illegal because of the way and manner Justice Katsina-Alu was sworn into office by his predecessor.