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Survival Of The Fittest And Why The Judiciary Must Come Of Age -By Ozuomba Egwuonwu


The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature, but the fittest are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the qualifications for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and conform to the unavoidable, to harmonise with existing or changing conditions     –Dave Smalley.

Since the return to presidential Democracy as the commorancy template of the Nigerian Organization and distribution of its spheres of influence and resources, different races have been unwittingly involved in the strive for survival and dominance. Characterization of these strivings have very well been in conformance with Darwin, as endorsed by Socrates, and proved by Cuvier in their convergences on natural selection and concordance on survival of the fittest. 

A great irony of misconception is that many take it for granted that they are certain of the actual boundaries, definitions, and characteristics of these races involved in the fight for survival in contemporary Nigerian Democratic condominium since the return to Democracy in 1999.

Well let me shock you by saying that the four dominant races in this survival of the fittest cuts across ethnicity and ancestral lineages in the current organisational constitution of Nigeria 4th republic. 

Think of the misconceptions in terms of the assumptions that would accompany and linger for instance, in the psyche of newly born babies as they transit from life as progressing in the womb, to life as it becomes and progresses after delivery. The two sets of boundaries and definitions pre and post partum radically changed though most of the newly delivered would not have realised it at delivery. 

The questions, concepts, and nature of the survival struggle of the races changed radically at the inception of the 4th republic but like in the above example of babies’ psyche in and after the womb, many people had not realised or grasped the transition in boundaries and definitions then and even now.  

Now, the question to be answered is what are these new races that realigned and emerged at inception of the 4th republic and how have they fared in the Darwinian struggle for survival and influence? 

 Before answering the above questions, I think it is best to prepare you for the answers through  references and analysis of the manifestations, nature and outcomes of some struggles for survival and dominance that had occurred within the Nigerian Condominium within the period in question . 

In the early days of the return to democracy, we are all aware that the executive, under the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo then, had instigated the removal of a couple of Senate presidents, ostensibly, based on allegations of corruption and maybe to some extent, on some other politically related grounds.     

Now, when did this trend subside and eventually died off- to the extent that as at 2005, after the tenure of Ken Nnamani through David Mark till date, no Senate president had been removed on the instigation of the executive ever again?

Again, did this threat to the Legislative arm die off because the legislature and their leadership suddenly became model Corruption free citizens in their individual and collective capacities?

 Now as recently as 2022, in one official report, a report supported by the MacArthur Foundation on just constituency projects alone, it is documented that most legislative constituency projects became quite the more shrouded in corrupt and shady dealings. There were expositions on overpaid contract sums, projects subtly awarded to lawmakers, payments for non-existent projects, among others.

According to the report, some projects were taken away from intended beneficiaries and channelled to the private coffers of lawmakers, while in some cases, there were conspiracies between lawmakers, executing agencies and supervisors, who, after receiving gratification, signed certificates of completion for uncompleted projects. The celebrated “off your mike honourable minister”  tragicomedy, is the  substantive affirmation of all the damning assertions in that report. 

Now we obviously don’t need to go into the ostentatious displays of some very eloquent former senators or the pre-Uk shenanigans of the former deputy senate president and the EFCC regarding some  40 properties said to be linked to the former.

We already always had  our answers: the particular threat of executive decapitation of the legislative leadership died as far back as  2005 not because the legislature or their leadership stopped being corrupt. 

In fact, on the contrary that threat was extinguished by the honourables with additional sleazy and corruption suspect benefits as seen in their newly successful “hunting and killing” of their then latest systemic prey: the unconstitutional legislative constituency projects, aside their numerous other corruption riddled systemic “killings”.

The time the legislature decapitation threat from the executive stopped was preceded by the classical Dog eat dog Darwinian survival struggle between the two arms. Being the time the legislature had all but impeached the president, forcing him to not only back down from his high horse in their mutual dealings but to even concede the commencement of the legislature conceived corruption riddled constituency project initiative.   

Now, we, especially the Judiciary should know this: In addition to the veracity of the opening quote from Smalley, in  the Darwinian struggles in which the fittest thrive, the only thing superior to dominance through display of dangerous raw power capable of causing existential annihilation of rival races, is the actual use of such power to cause actual annihilation of another rival race…the stronger the to-be annihilated race is perceived to be, the better. When a race does not exercise such power even if only remotely or theoretically possible, they begin  to doubt that they had it …eventually they lose all possibility of it being of any immediate or future  benefit to them or their proximal allies and ultimately lose it, and in most cases,  eventually their very selves…  

It is to be noted that in Darwinian struggle, a race cannot afford the luxury of weakness, a weak race becomes not only a danger to itself but also a danger to its closely domiciled  associates. 

One may be tempted to think that placing classes of similar socio-political elements together as a race is an attempt to twist sociological concepts to suit a narrative, but this is far from true reality, even though one is at liberty to employ any acceptable means to pass one’s message across. According to Oxford bibliographies on sociology, race is a human classification system that is socially constructed to distinguish between groups of people who share (phenotypic) characteristics. It goes further to insist that since race is socially constructed, dominant groups in society have shaped and informed racial categories in order to maintain systems of power—thereby also producing racial inequality. Racial categorization has primarily been simplistic, essentialist, and typological in nature, thereby forcing people to “fit” into categories that do not necessarily reflect their ethnic or national heritage. 

My introductions of the four races that have been in operation in the Nigerian condominium since inception of the 4th republic also derives from above sociological expose; if we understand that the modalities and rules of engagement of 4th republic actually exchanged the relevance of the “phenotypic” in the oxford bibliographies, for classifications,though more subtle, but more potent. You only need  to inquire about the “phenotypic characteristics” of the fuel queue or the “phenotypic characteristics” of patronizers of the escalating foodstuff markets to appreciate this assertion. 

Now back to our question: what are these new races that realigned and emerged at inception of the 4th republic and how have they fared in the Darwinian struggle for influence and dominance?  The four races contrary to what you think or have believed are 1) The executive 2) The legislature 3) The judiciary and what one may refer to as a yet to be fully formed race: The Nigerian masses.

You need to appreciate the above assertions to properly understand why the referred  executive instigated decapitation of the legislature  stopped and will likely hardly ever happen again. One or two other similar expositions on the  nature and  struggles of the races since the inception of the 4th republic would subsequently be better understood as we proceed. 

As of today, the weaker of the four races of the 4th republic as asserted earlier that is  1) the executive, 2) the legislature 3) the Judiciary and to an extent 4) Nigerian masses, had been the Judiciary and the Nigerian masses, before going into events to buttress this assertion, I would like to highlight some characteristics of the various races which helped shape this outcome. It is only when one is aware of some of the inherent characteristic drawbacks in one’s make-up and outlook that one would be better able to rise and forge ahead , sometimes, despite them.  

The Nigerian legislature comprises both very cerebral folks and half illiterates, we have, crooks, charlatans and as well as some morally acceptable characters from diverse intellectual background whose egalitarianism, because of the nature of  their locational rules of inclusion and function, also aids their collective struggle as a race.

The Judiciary, on the other hand, are mostly made up of  members, whose pull of worldly knowledge and quality of informed courage would be no more than that of their highest hierarchical composition- of at most, 21 homogeneously educated and experienced members of the Judiciary race. One also notes that  their less locational egalitarian rules of hierarchy and functioning also takes away from their adaptability. It is only to be expected that in the Jungle that had been the 4th republic, these contrasting traits of the two different races had aided the legislature to get ahead in being the better adapted to threaten, con, “eat” and dominate better.

The Nigerian masses,  having the highest percentage of ignorant people, is yet to form a full race in part because the first two races, who comprise mostly politicians, had perfected the art of presenting inconsequential  determinants like history, ethnicity and religion to the gullible’s minds. Which classifying strength is illusory and irrelevant because what will give one leverage, as earlier mentioned, over daily survival hurdles like fuel queues and escalating foodstuff markets is not ethnicity or religion, but whether you are a member of the presidency, the legislature and the hierarchy of the judiciary. 

This deceit is possible in Nigeria because, as variously also asserted by, as distal as Babaginda (The Nation, August 9, 2022) and recently as a Moghalu (The Cable, October 29, 2018), Nigeria is not yet, (as one prefers to put it, has been conspiratorially prevented from being) a nation. Prevented because  the instrumentality of the Nigerian state is also used to promote this state of affairs. The perpetuity nature of the quota system and requirements of disclosure of state of origin as against state of residence being classical examples.  

One needs only look at the easy reversal of the ENDSARS leap and obfuscation of the messages in the last election during and after the elections to appreciate this assertion.

As I put you through this discussion, it is important you resist the tendency of relapsing to the old age misgivings of ethnicity as the relevant determinants of racial classification in the 4th Nigerian republic. I reiterate, the four races are  1) The executive 2) The legislature 3) The judiciary and what one may refer to as a yet to be fully formed race: 4) The Nigerian masses.

I have highlighted some characteristics of the last three races as listed above and how it has shaped their survival quotient and dominance. Going forward, the characteristics of the presidency race will also be highlighted as I continue.

It is important that the judiciary is able to imagine itself beyond contemporary times and well in perpetuity as every race does, and also that in reality, their race ultimately, has little or nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. 

The fate of the yet to be born members of the Judiciary race are in the balance depending on how the judiciary intends to fight back for relevance in our 4th Republic jungle. It is to be noted that in some instances, being vanquished in these skirmishes and outplays had resulted, not only in the diminishing and domination of the one, but had led to actual annihilation of members of that race. For example, as had happened to the leadership of the senate in the earlier days before they knew to fight back, more ignominy beyond the illegal removal of a sitting CJN awaits the judiciary if they are not able to navigate to not only be continually “eaten” but to survive well, adequately holding its own in our 4th republic jungle. 

When I say more ignominy  beyond the illegal removal of a sitting CJN, the  Judiciary should know that if their weakness gets the better part of them, fate worse than that meted to Onnoghen would not only be repeated in their ranks, but they would eventually be open to whimsical dimensions near that of the 70s Equatorial Guinea, where executive supremacist nitwits outrightly banned intellectuals from the country, forcing all Equatorial Guinea intellectuals into exile. 

The executive is not in a good place now, having overarched itself, which also came about  as a consequence  of its past successful ignominious heist on the  legislature, Judiciary, and the Nigerian masses in recent times. The executive, through its own drunkenness from these past conquests,  makes itself ripe for the taking and a similar visitation now… the Judiciary must pick up courage and the accompanying glory in executing the needful. The heavens will not fall.      

It is to be noted that the leadership of a system or society is usually headed by that system’s dominant profession, this is in line with Herbert Spencer’s assertion that the survival of the fittest implies multiplication of the fittest. This, of course,  ultimately goes a long way to shape the “character” of an evolving system or state in this case.

 For instance, more than half the presidents of the United States, including Obama and Clinton, had been lawyers, in contrast to Nigeria, more than half of the past leaders had been soldiers. The outlook of the 4th republic Nigeria progression is tilting from soldiers to fraudsters, and successful looters of the commonwealth. 

The dominance of the legal profession as ultimate chief executives in the governance history of the United States did not just happen. It required the sacrifice and courage, over the years, of members of that profession. The Nigerian judiciary had actually lost a dominating opportunity in 4th republic Nigeria in the continuing of May 29 swearing-in, but, that may yet build into a killing climax in the days to come or, …a whimpering submission into irrelevance and oblivion, for their race first, and the yet- to- fully- form Nigerian masses’.   



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