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Since he became the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal through the quota system, Danladi Umar has shown how undeserving he is of that position. In numerous times in the past, he has taken a particular liking to jumping from one controversy to another. The recent one however has shown how uncouth and mannerless he can be when it comes to using his position in the right manner.
There was palpable outrage and pandemonium at an Abuja shopping mall on Monday after the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, and his driver brutalised a security guard at Banex Plaza at Wuse 2 in Abuja. The CCT chairman was seen in a viral video assaulting the security man. Most of the eyewitnesses condemned the assault and called for justice for the hapless guard. The cause of the public show of shame by such a highly placed public officer who was appointed by the federal government to ensure due diligence in the conduct of public officers is yet to be ascertained.
Still, it is inexplicably, and completely unpardonable for the hapless guard to be so humiliated in the course of his duty because the CCT Chairman chose to display thuggish behavior while choosing to spit on the respect that his office commands. When the incident became public, many had asked why the head of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, a judicial officer, who adjudicates matters concerning the conduct of public servants, could not conduct himself in a proper manner but resorted to taking the law into his hands, assuming he was provoked.
A lot of Nigerians out there have shown how appalled they are that a senior public officer of his calibre could not rein in his emotions in a public space. This, again, brings to the fore the argument regarding the temperament of public officers in relation to their attitude towards those they consider beneath their status. Taking into consideration the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Chapter 58 LFN 1990 from which CCB draws its powers to establish, maintain and sustain public morality in the conduct of government organisations. That law also is meant to ensure that the behaviour of public officers, including that of the chairman of the Tribunal, conforms to the highest quality of public morality and accountability.
It is also pertinent to point out that this is not the first time a citizen of this country has been assaulted and humiliated in public by a supposedly highly placed public official. Africa Daily News, New York recalls that in the early days of this current legislative session, a serving ‘distinguished’ Senator, Elisha Abbo, was caught on camera physically assaulting a woman at a porn shop in Abuja. The lawmaker, representing Adamawa-North senatorial district, was caught on camera pummelling the woman after she pleaded with him not to physically assault the shop owner whom the senator had accused of insulting him. Nothing happened as he is still serving in the Senate and curiously making laws for the good governance of this country. In Nigeria, it is normal to see public officers and their convoys beating traffic lights and jumping queues in public places, and sometimes descending on citizens who dared to challenge such awkward conducts. An average Nigerian is wired to use his power to oppress those he sees as lesser beings. It is the same power they use to loot and squander funds from the treasury and get away with it.
In other sane climes or countries, such behaviours are repudiated and severely punished. For instance, in 2017, a South African minister resigned amid accusations that he assaulted a woman in a nightclub. Also, in 2019, Armenia’s Minister of High-Tech Industry, Hakob Arshakian, announced his resignation two weeks after assaulting a journalist at a restaurant in Yerevan. Last year, Rwanda’s State Minister in Charge of Constitution and Legal Affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana, resigned after pushing a female security guard to the ground. This is Nigeria where anything goes and public officers are at liberty to break the law and dare anyone to do anything about it.
To add salt to injury, the response of the CCT to the accusations against their chairman has done nothing to help the pressing issue on ground. The attempt to twist the incident as a tribal matter should be condemned by all right thinking Nigerians. Ethnic profiling is a cancer that must be nipped in the bud. It is high time Nigerians began to register their angst over the obviously reprehensible and aberrant behaviours of public officials. They must insist that Danladi Umar must be punished to serve as a deterrent to others who may be inclined to oppress the Nigerian people who they are supposed to serve.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK