A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, has stated that Nigeria became more divided after the 2015 presidential election, noting that the poll was characterized by division along ethnic, regional, partisan and religious lines.
Speaking on Saturday as a guest lecturer at an event organised to mark the 75th birthday of the father of former Speaker of House of Representatives, Chief Alani Bankole, in Abeokuta, he warned that Nigerians were treading a path that threatens the continued peace and unity of the country.
Musdapher, who served as CJN between August 2011 and July 2012, said “it is rather worrisome that after over 100 years since the amalgamation of the northern and the southern protectorates in 1914, Nigerians seemed as divided as ever.”
“I am scared and deeply worried”, he said, adding that “the situation is grave.
“The union remains as un-negotiated union in the minds of many Nigerians. Hence, I am of the view that, without the clear understanding of the root causes or our seemingly confused social system, we cannot even begin to make up with the strategies and solution that are capable of dousing the negative effects of disunity and firmly bringing our nation within respectable or acceptable level of social decency,” the former CJN stated.
Musdapher, who noted that favouritism, nepotism and tribal sentiments had made it impossible to run a merit-driven-system in Nigeria, said: “Hard work, brilliance, honesty and integrity in our dealings are no longer rewarded. Rather, we celebrate mediocrity soaked in the corruption we claim is our common enemy.”
Noting that the press has a big role to play in this crusade, he said he was also aware “today that most media houses have an editorial policy and clear leaning towards sectional and myopic perspectives. Tribal and nepotic leanings are present in most issues debated or reported in our media.”
The ex-CJN said: “The government-owned media showcase the activities of the government with little or no critique in contrast to the harsh realities faced by millions of subscribers of these news media.
“Newspapers and media owned and operated by politicians are mostly reflective of the interest of their principals as opposed to the need to permanently side with the truth and Justice.
“It has become commonplace for one to read of an ‘Igbo’ presidency or ‘northern’ presidency in line with a tacit approval of outright nepotism by majority of Nigerians.”
Musdapher, however, urged the government to develop a tradition of continuity and positive transition from an administration to the succeeding one.