Public Office Not For Revenge: Jawondo Cautions Politicians
By Alabidun Shuaib Abdulrahman
Mr Salman Jawondo, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Kwara State, has warned those appointed to public service not to exploit their positions to take revenge for wrongdoings done against them while they were not in government.
Jawondo made the advice during a book launch in Ilorin for Chief Lamidi Tolani, Ojeun Ogun Fodian of Offa and a former Commissioner of Finance in Kwara State, whose daughter, Ms Zainab Tolani, was removed from the state judiciary after 47 days on the job as a Magistrate grade 2.
The Attorney General, who was a counsel in the case, which lasted 14 years (2005-2019) from the state High Court to the Supreme Court, said the case was a travail of justice by the then state’s power brokers, noting that “those who held political power then misused it by sacking Zainab from the state judiciary without committing any known legal offence.”
According to him, “The termination of appointment of Ms Zainab Tolani as a Magistrate grade 2 in the state Judiciary is a misuse of power and miscarriage of justice as contained in the judgments of the Court of Appeal and upheld by the Supreme Court which is the highest court in Nigeria in its judgment delivered on February, 1,2019.
“People holding public office should be neutral and objective while holding the office because posterity will judge them after leaving the office.”
Jawondo continued, “One has to be careful in life, don’t use Public Office to revenge or victimize the people when you are appointed to hold that office because your being there is temporary.”
In his speech, the book’s author, Chief Lamidi Tolani, stated that he wrote the book to expose the injustice that his daughter, Zainab, experienced when her appointment as a Magistrate grade 2 was terminated by the Kwara State Judicial Service Commission as a result of an allegation made against her by a faceless writer that was not investigated by the authority but was later cleared by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in their respective judgments.
Tolani said that his daughter was alleged to have been married by the petitioner which was not stated in the form she filled before taking an appointment with the Kwara State Judicial Service Commission on December 24, 2004, adding that Judicial Service Commission did not investigate the truth about the matter before terminating her appointment on February 11, 2005.
He said that the case went through trial for 14 years (2005-2019) from the state High Court to the Court of Appeal and finally the Supreme Court which delivered it Judgment on February 1, 2019, adding that “Litigation is tortuous and cumbersome in this clime, hence the call for Judicial reform.
“The Supreme Court’s judgment is that the allegation that Zainab was married was not proved and that in law and in common sense, what is alleged without proof can be denied without proof and that the Judicial Service Commission’s decision is perverse.”
He praised his daughter for fighting doggedly for 14 years and at the end became victorious adding, “the Sacked Magistrate fought her cause to a happy ending, cleared her name of wrongdoing and restored the dignity of her career to secure her future and justice.
“Today Justice smiled on Zainab and her doggedness and integrity has paid off. This is the core lesson from her travails, no matter how long it takes truth, honesty and integrity will prevail.”
Tolani also praised Salman Jawondo, counsel to his daughter in the case whom he said did the case without charging a kobo as legal fees adding, “the Counsel to the sacked Magistrate, Salman Jawondo came at a time when all hope has been lost in having a good representation in the case.”
The reviewer of the book, Mr Joseph Bamigboye, SAN said that the book was meant to highlight the unjust travails of an illegally sacked Magistrate but recommended it to all members of the Public adding, “It is a book that must be a companion for all employees, Labour leaders, Human Rights Activist and the Public at large.”