By Ameh Ajekwonyilo, with Agency Reports
Stepping down from thr Supreme Court Bench on account of age Monday, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour took on two of Nigeria’s major headaches – corruption and electoral malpractices – and urged that the menace be tackled headlong to reduce corruption to the barest minimum.He also called for speedy amendment of the Electoral Act so that the burden of proof of a free and fair election be left to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At a valedictory session, he lamented that corruption is deeply rooted in the country adding: “Corruption exists in all the countries of the world, Nigeria is no exception. “What should be done is to reduce it drastically thereby making our dear country an exception by building credible and transparent systems”.
He, however, canvassed that concerted efforts must be put in place in order to reduce the anomaly to the barest minimum.
The apex court Justice who bowed out of the bench on attaining 70 years on Monday pleaded that corruption must be tackled headlong through genuine efforts, so as to make life more meaningful for the citizenry.
At the valedictory court session held in his honour at the Supreme Court complex, Justice Rhodes-Vivour also faulted the conduct of elections in the country, lamenting that they are protracted because the stakes are too high.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour noted that most elections are usually resolved by the courts simply because most politicians are never satisfied with the results announced by the electoral umpire.
However, he renewed his appeal that the country’s Electoral Act be amended to shift the burden of proof to the INEC to prove that it conducted a fair and reasonable election.
He did not specifically cote cases he decided to prove how he made impact walking his talk while he served on the bench.
Speaking at the court session, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, described Rhodes-Vivour as “affable brother Justice who diligently and meticulously offered unquantifiable services to Nigeria and humanity.
“We are all here today to felicitate with an accomplished jurisprudential iconoclast that has offered the best of his intellect to the advancement of the legal profession through his several years of inimitable adjudications,” the CJN said.
According to Muhammad, “His Lordship is a rare gem and unblemished symbol of humility and piety.
“His proficiency in the dispensation of justice, which is anchored on his mastery of law, presents him as a man of honour and scholarship.
“His judgments are not only incisive but also analytical and opulent by all standards.
“His robust contributions to the development of our jurisprudence are inviolable and fascinating.
“His unimpeccable attention to details in every matter before him is alluring and salutary as well,” the CJN added.