Ethnicising the Justice Salami affair

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A dangerous dimension has been introduced into commentaries, in the wake of the controversial suspension of Justice Isa Ayo Salami. A coalition of Odua groups last week railed against their faceless but eternal bête noir, the “Hausa-Fulani oligarchy”, as being behind Justice Salami’s travails.

As is their wont, they threatened all manners of consequences. OPC chieftain, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, similarly whipped up base emotions in the VANGUARD newspaper of August 27, 2011, on the basis of ignorance, describing Justice Salami’s suspension “as a ploy to continue the marginalisation of the Southern parts of the country”.

How the suspension of the respected Justice, from Kwara State, one of the 19 states of Northern Nigeria, “marginalises” the Southern part of Nigeria, he did not state. Alhaji Tanko Yakasai also alluded to ethnicity, in DAILY TRUST of Friday, August 26, when he said Justice Salami’s suspension “has now taken a tribal dimension” and THE SUN of the same day added that Yakasai accused “well respected Yoruba justices of commenting in favour of their tribesman on a tribal basis rather than the merit of the issues in dispute”. Yakasai said it was “to intimidate and harass President Goodluck Jonathan”.

I think the Odua groups, Dr. Fasehun and Alhaji Tanko Yakasai all miss the point and befuddle the issue: There is no “Hausa-Fulani Oligarchy” behind Salami’s suspension; neither is his suspension meant to “marginalise” the South and people like Justice Mustapha Akanbi who have spoken, have not done so on “tribal basis”. Most have argued points of law; I support Justice Salami, because I believe he is a forthright judge who is not corrupt. Let us fight on the side of justice, without bizarre appeals to the base emotions of ethnicity!


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