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Let justice prevail

For  my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are my ways your ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55 v 8.

IT is understood by this admonition that the ways and thoughts of man are different from those of the Lord.

How come that some people in their own thoughts and ways instead of reasoning like men, equate themselves with God who has power over man’s destiny?

The ugly scenario in Federal College of Education, Ehamufu, Enugu State where a candidate for the position of Provost of the institution was interviewed, placed first of three candidates recommended by the Governing Council of the institution for appointment only for the list to be set aside and an over-aged candidate who emerged 11th in the interview was eventually recommended for appointment by the Minister of Education for appointment calls to high heavens for redress.

One would have thought that since this unfortunate incident became public knowledge in the newspapers three weeks ago, either the institution’s Governing Council or the Minister of Education would have made a pronouncement and given Nigerians reasons why the first should now become the last.

In defending his master’s action, the Special Assistant to Dr. Sam Egwu the former Minister of Education who was alleged to have made this strange recommendation to the then acting President, Mr. Kelechi Igwe said the recommendation was based on “security report” on the candidate that should have been offered the appointment.

Security report indeed. One easily remembers that in the dark days of military rule in our country, security report was a ready instrument used to disqualify candidates the military rulers did not like their faces from contesting elections. Was security report not one of the reasons adduced for nullifying the 1993 presidential election which the late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola won overwhelmingly?

Even in our Third Republic, former President Olusegun Obasanjo used EFCC report to disqualify his opponents from contesting the 2007 National Assembly and presidential elections. Until the Supreme Court ruled that it is only a competent court of law that can, after due process of trial and conviction, disqualify a candidate from contesting for public office.

Thereafter Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who had earlier been ruled out of contest by EFCC became qualified to contest the presidential election. This was in 2007. Today, more than three years after, a candidate who was interviewed by a panel in which the Federal Character Commission, the State Security Service and the National Commission for Colleges of Education were represented and recommended for appointment cannot be so appointed based on “security report”.

Some questions arise from this injustice. What crime did the candidate commit that threatened national security, which prevented him from assuming a position he was eminently qualified for; was he made aware of the crime he committed? Was he charged to any court, tried and found guilty? It is only after going through these processes that any Nigerian can be prevented from being appointed to a position he was interviewed and recommended for appointment.

Since this due process was not followed, the attention of our dear President who has a listening ear to the complaints of the oppressed is humbly called to redress this injustice.

Rumour even has it that the so-called secret report on which this act of irregularity was committed is fake, forged, etc. It will be advisable for the Minister of Education, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Presidency to invite the Director General of the State Secretary Service whose agency was represented on the interview panel and screened the three candidates recommended for appointment to submit its report on the interview to them.

Grapevine information also has it that the so-called security report was not presented to a full meeting of the Governing Council of the College for information of all the members, but was an agenda of a key member of the Council working in collaboration with some other highly placed public officers.

It appears there was a grand conspiracy by evil men to turn the tenets of equity and justice upside down. The action of substituting the name of the candidate recommended with that of an over-aged candidate over and above 10 others who performed better was definitely irregular, biased, ill-motivated, disrespectful to the gospel of Rebrand Nigeria project of the present administration and tendentious. It should not stand.

By Obiora Arubaleze,  a social critic, writes from Enugu.


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