President Umar Musa Yar’Adua appointed Justice Isa Ayo Salami at the behest of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as he then was after the retirement of Justice Umaru Abdullahi who retired in 2009. The relationship between the duo developed as members of the same family of Shehu Musa Yar’Adua the chief of staff to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. In August 2011, the National Judicial Council suspended Justice Salami, sequel to his refusal to apologize to Justice A. I. Katsina-Alu, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria who headed the council’s panel that found him guilty of perjury against the council.
In addition to the indefinite suspension, the council recommended for Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the time to retire him from the bench. Though the National Judicial Council reversed its decision and recommended his immediate reinstatement in May 2012, the reversal was disregarded by the Federal Government of Nigeria for his infamous role in the sacking of mostly PDP Governors across the country.
His casualties included Emmanuel Uduaghan Delta State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola Osun State, Olusegun Agagu Ondo State, Segun Oni Ekiti State, and Prof Oserheimen Osunbor of Edo State. Governors Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari escaped his sledgehammer by the whiskers. The benefactors of his contemptible acts were Kayode Fayemi, Olusegun Mimiko, Rauf Aregbesola, and Adams Oshiomhole. Uduaghan’s election was nullified and a re-election was ordered in which he triumphed.
At the time the opposition viewed the removal of Justice Isa Ayo Salami as a judicial witch-hunt that was intended to silence a conscientious judge, however, subsequent and even recent developments have further tended to corroborate the allegations of meddlesome interloping and coaxing the appeal tribunal by the then leader of the opposition now President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The unfolding events bring to the fore the abiding argument that one can only give what one has. Former President Muhammadu Buhari was famous for his arrest and incarceration of politicians and currency swaps and he never disappointed in his second coming as President as the twin episodes dominated the policy thrust of his administration. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is reputed for his notoriety in taxation such that it constituted a focal point of his Presidential campaign. His penchant for being a meddlesome interloper in judicial appropriations to rob Peter to pay Paul has now crystallized. These two attributes are now the threshold and illustrate a clear perspective of the policy thrust of his administration.
It is therefore not a surprise that states slated for conquest by the President of the Court of Appeal Monica Dongban-Mensem are a continuation of the judicial heists orchestrated by Justice Isa Ayo Salami and are being clinically executed by Monica. Having conquered Kano, Zamfara, and Plateau, the focus is now on Delta, Nasarawa and Taraba. Then the job will be deemed to have been finalized as the opposition political parties and we the docile citizens are incapable of rising to the occasion to ameliorate the ugly situation.