I Wrote Jonathan to Fight Injustice – Alaafin

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Justice Ayo Salami

Justice Ayo Salami

Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, yesterday, said he wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan asking him to uphold the principle of rule of law by reinstating the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, because it is part of his responsibility to fight injustice wherever he sees one.

The monarch, who is the Chairman of Oyo State Council of Traditional Rulers, said he wrote his letter asking Federal Government to toe the path of justice by implementing the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, NJC, which directed that Salami be reinstated.

Alaafin disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, at the Government House, Osogbo, preparatory to a book presentation in honour of Akinrun of Ikirun, Oba Rauf Olayiwola Adedeji, held at the Centre for Black Culture.

History, tradition

The Alaafin affirmed that it is the tradition of every Alaafin to stand up against injustice and protect his citizens wherever injustice is being meted on to them.

He said by writing to the President on the need to be just in Salami’s case, he is only following the tradition of his ancestors, who never tolerated or accepted within their sphere of influence any form of social injustice.

He said: “Basically, somebody must challenge social injustice. Somebody must act to defend the interest of the Yoruba race. At different times in the history of Yorubaland, past Alaafins had not been found wanting.

“My own intervention in Justice Ayo Salami’s case is not the first occasion where the Alaafin will rise up to defend the cause of Yoruba nation.

“When the French were making in-road into Yoruba nation around 1880AD, my great grandfather, Adeyemi I, had to write to the British to intervene. At that time, there was internecine war in Yoruba nation. The British came, intervened and Yoruba nation was saved.

“Alaafin also wrote the British to bring enlightenment and education to Yoruba nation. In 1883, the Alaafin signed a treaty with the British to open Yoruba nation to commerce and trade. So, I am just following the tradition of every Alaafin in standing up to the cause of Yoruba race.”

Asked whether the Presidency replied his letter, the Oba said: “I don’t need any reply. The oracle has already spoken.”

He also warned that unless the political structure of the nation was redesigned from its present unitary nature, the nation may be at risk, saying the world over a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual country like Nigeria have always balanced these differences by operating federal system of government.

He added that the central government should of necessity have its powers reduced and the federating units fortified for the nation to grow and progress steadily.

Few weeks earlier, he had questioned the delay in ratifying the recommendation of the NJC. Justice Salami was reinstated in May by NJC, about nine months after he was suspended.

The letter read in part: “I have never met Justice Ayo Salami either in his personal or official capacity before, but something in me tells me that he is not being fairly treated.”

“If the President could suspend him at the time he did when his case against the relevant persons or bodies were pending, I cannot now fathom why the pendency of certain cases in court will now form the basis for not reinstating him when the body (i.e. NJC) which recommended him for suspension has rescinded that decision.

“I urge President Jonathan to rise above political bickering and influence and take a firm stand as a statesman. The decision of the National Judicial Council to lift the suspension on Justice Ayo Salami automatically restored him as the President of the Court of Appeal and removed whoever is occupying the office in acting capacity.

“In the absence of a written recommendation by the National Judicial Council, the President will have no power to re-appoint a person who is in office in acting capacity.”

 

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