First female Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar has said that only very few strong men in Africa are subject to the rule of law.
The former CJN made the assertion while speaking on the theme ‘Strong Men vs Strong Institutions – Strengthening Democracy In Nigeria’ at the AELEX 2019 Lecture, Muson Centre, Lagos, on Thursday.
Aloma, who was the chairman, emphasized that the African continent needs strong men and women as they are useful, including strong institutions, adding that the constitution of a nation is very important because institutions must be strengthened by it.
These strong men and women, she said, must be subject to the law so the need for strong institutions to put them in check.
She said her concern is the fact that only very few strong men in Africa were subject to the rule of law; noting that “a great number of them are not. Like the current President of Cameroun.”
On the Federal Character system, Justice Mariam believes it has its own good side even though it may lead to having incompetent persons as head. “We cannot do anything on that at the moment until we have that section of the law in our constitution amended,” she averred.
She added that there is “a serious ethic problem and it makes us shy away from reporting bad deeds because the person committing it is from my tribe.” She advised that “we need to move past this stage if we must move forward as a nation.”
The guest speaker, Prof. Patrick Lumumba from Kenya, said Africa cannot afford the luxury of the democracy of the West, stressing that “it is theirs, and we have ours.”
Other discussants at the event were Dr. Joe Abah, former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms in the Presidency, Nigeria, and Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey, former CEO of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.