Justice Nabaruma, a Fine Jurist, Gentleman and Good Man – Ben Obi

By Jude Atupulazi

Senator Ben Obi, CON, has joined the league of those mourning the death of the Chief Justice of Yobe State, Justice Garuba Nabaruma, describing him as a fine Jurist and a gentleman, whose many tribunal judgements were not reversed by higher courts.

Part of his release on Nabaruma read: ‘I was very sad on hearing about the demise of Honourable Justice Musa Garba Nabaruma. I received the news of his unfortunate death with rude shock. He was a complete, perfect jurist with a touch of gentility both in mien and character.’

In commending his contributions to jurisprudence, Ben Obi said, ‘The Nigerian legal system cannot be complete without mentioning his immense contributions towards enriching its jurisprudence, especially his audacious pronouncements on electoral cases that later became a veritable legal precedence in the Nigerian legal system,’

Besides heading the tribunal that returned Mr. Peter Obi in Anambra State and Olusegun Mimiko in Ondo, Obi recalled thus, ‘How my long legal battle to reclaim my stolen mandate as a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria received Judiciary pronouncement when Justice Nabaruma, as head of the election petition tribunal, alongside other eminent jurists, gave an unassailable judgement, declaring me the rightful winner of the 2003 senatorial election to represent Anambra Central. This Judgment alongside that of Senator Joy Emordi, was the first of its kind across the nation in our current democratic dispensation.’

Continuing, he said, ‘That landmark judgement followed suit with his audacious ruling on the 2003 Anambra governorship election petition, were he once again, set another remarkable precedence by restoring the mandate of the rightful winner in the governorship election, and in the process removed a seating governor, after painstakingly going through the petition that took years to conclude. It takes a man of boldness, courage and character to do such at a time it was considered a ‘no go area’ in our nascent democracy.

‘Those judgements, aside proving that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man, became a moral booster for the judiciary in the dispensation of their judicial functions.’
On the precedent he set in Nigerian Legal system, Obi said the current independence and power of the judiciary to annul and restore back stolen mandates, without fear or favour was first exercised by Justice Nabaruma, giving other Judges the latitude to follow in that stead in the country’s current democratic dispensation.

Praying for God to comfort the Government and people of Yobe State, as well as all those affected by his demise, he said Nigeria needed people of Nabaruma’s caliber who could stand out and fight in uplifting and entrenching the much needed reforms in the Nigerian Judiciary system.