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When courts become degree-awarding institutions… (II)

When courts become degree-awarding institutions… (II)

By: Isaac “O’Zik” Omole

“Las las, school na scam. Las las, school na scam…” Those were the words on the lips of these young men, or should I call them boys, in the bar.

I was sitting at this bar on this fateful Saturday evening, getting some fresh air and sipping some bottles of Star Radler. These boys were making all the noise inside. Their table had more bottles and they dressed better than everyone else. They had gold chains on, and apparently, they all came with their cars. I don’t know the kind of job(s) they are engaged in but they looked like those boys who help white men cash out their money in Nigeria (I didn’t say yahoo boys o. Let’s be guided.)

What led to to the words uttered, I don’t know. But I remember that it coincided with the time the news of the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was broken.

When the newscaster on the TV broke the news, laughter enveloped the bar. Some were like, “I don sabi sey na so hin go be.” Some said, “Naija, Naija; everything for Naija dey everly dey predictable.” Another also said tongue-in-cheek in fluent pidgin English, “How you wan make dem deliver judgment against the President, that one fit amount to disloyalty and treasonable felony o.”

At the same time, some were praising the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal for the ruling. They said it was that kind of ruling that would really benefit the common man. And that the judiciary has continued to make the country better and better with wonderful judgments like that, especially the one that has to do with the validity of the affidavit stating that the President has a WASSCE result.

Before I left the bar, I made friends with one of those young boys, and we had a very interesting conversation — one that’s actually shaped my view of the educational sector and the judiciary.

Whilst we were at the bar, I went outside to receive a call and met him. He just finished receiving a call. He was looking at me like he knew me. Next thing, he approached me and asked if I knew ‘Soji Omole, with whom he was classmates at Lagos State Polytechnic. I told him ‘Soji is my brother. He said he thought so too; the resemblance was too much. He asked about Soji’s whereabouts, I told him he was fine. I asked him what he was up to, and he replied, “Man gats to do what man gats to do. I dropped out of Laspotech so I could face my hustle. And now, I don dey cash out big time. School that year na distraction for me.”

He continued: “Na me get that car wey dey for that side. Na the money from the hustle I use get am. And I no think sey I even need go school get degree again. With wetin I see for news today, if I need degree, I go just go swear affidavit sey I get degree for this and that school, and that’s all. For now sef, I no need degree, I still wan make money. But if need for degree show, I sabi how to get am legally. My bro, na everyday Naija dey make sense, abi wetin you think?”

I could not agree less with him that Nigeria is indeed making more sense daily. Then I pondered on his words, “… I sabi how to get am legally.” Wow! He actually did hit the nail on the head. Based on the recent Presidential Election PetitionTribunal ruling, an affidavit stating that you possess this and that degree is legal and admissible anywhere.

From the conversation I had with that young man, I realised how beneficial the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal judgment is to the common man, the society, and Nigeria as a country. It has even showed how much the judiciary can affect the society positively.

That decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal will surely reduce perjury, forgery, corruption, false results being tendered. It will increase the number of degree holders in Nigeria. It will increase the number of “graduates ”. It will increase Nigeria’s “literacy” level. It will make getting degrees very easy. It will ease Nigerians of the stress of sitting for useless exams –WASSCE, SSCE, UTME etc. It will help to depopulate the already populated tertiary institutions. And it will help put Nigeria on the world map in terms of education.

I think we need to applaud the Nigerian Judiciary. I think the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the result of President is a landmark, remarkable, and outstanding one. I also do think it is a world-class judgment. It is one that should be emulated by not-so-good judiciaries of countries like the United Kingdom, United States of America etc. Other African countries should emulate this judgment. And why shouldn’t they? Isn’t Nigeria the “Giant of Africa”. They naturally should follow the footsteps of their “Big Brother”.

The economic, political, social, socioeconomic and overall merits of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal’s verdict, with regards to the result of Mr President, can never be downplayed or underestimated. That verdict is a step in the right direction and a pointer to the fact that Nigeria keeps getting better and better. The judiciary is also getting better and better at delivering jawbreaking and outstanding judgments.

The positive trends associated to the Nigerian Judiciary and the recent judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has left me with no choice than to say, “Nigeria, I hail thee!”

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