The Technicality of Justice Tanko Mohammed as CJN

by Barrister Aniedobe

If you thought that a jurist who could not competently discuss the tension between substantial justice and procedural justice is unqualified to be CJN, your ignorance of the fraudulent 1999 Constitution is to blame.

I will be brief.

The 1999 Constitution is an anomaly not before known in human history. It created two separate but coequal bodies of law and merged them into one Constitution.

One is sharia law and the other is secular law.

It impliedly, therefore, created both an Islamic State and a secular State and declared them as coequals – having one life in being.

It incorporated the entire Quran by reference into the 1999 Constitution but never, for once, mentioned Christianity.

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Cases under the two parallel but coequal laws can be heard by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Jurist under the two parallel but coequal laws can sit in the Supreme Court.

Justice Tanko Mohammed, a specialist in Sharia Law, is, therefore, technically qualified to be CJN.

Nigeria is a country like no other. It has two co-supreme bodies of law. It is a jurisprudential anomaly to have co-supreme laws administered by one supreme body of jurists.

We have been shouting ourselves hoarse that the 1999 Constitution is a fraud. First, it was not made by “We the people…”. Secondly, it created a schizophrenic country that lacks a clearly defined and understood legal character.

Nigerians should just face the reality that two countries in one just does not make sense. Let the Islamists have their own country and be governed by their own laws. Let the secularists have and exercise the same privilege.

There is no point in asking to scrap one and leave the other. Both sides are deeply entrenched in their preferred ways of life, making civic life in Nigeria a perennial clash of civilizations. With a demographic 50-50 split that exists today, the tension will not simply melt away by one side smothering the other.

Fellow Nigerians, let Nigeria lie in peaceful repose. It has not worked and does not look like it ever will. The 1999 Constitution created two separate but coequal countries. Let’s practice what we wish – a separate Islamic Republic and a separate secular Republic.

No attempt is made here to derogate or discuss the merits of any legal system. What justifies a legal system is the voluntary consent of those who wish to live by it. Secularist Nigerians do not want to live by Qur’anic laws and vice versa. Why not end the tensions embedded in our great country and give each group the freedom to practice what they like?