Hon. Justice Umar is the one who sits in judgement over men and women of “timber and caliber” for alleged official misconduct which includes lying over their assets. A junior Judge compared to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, but very powerful, this Judge was the one before whom the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen appeared. Umar’s judgement was the reason Onnoghen was humiliated out of office.
When Justice Umar’s driver was asked to move the car, the Hon. Justice felt slighted and, disrespected by a common security guard. Instead of allowing his driver to sort out the situation, he decided to flaunt his power and influence in a most disgraceful manner, at an inappropriate place.
First, he started an argument with the poor guard who was only doing his job. Then he slapped the guy, not just once, but a couple of times, for daring to keep to the rules of his work place. He slapped him for not breaking the law and order guarding his work place. And this is a man who is a Judge. He is a man who sits in judgement over others. And there he was, slapping a young man. As if the slappings were not enough, he went to his car and took something, apparently to hit him, but was restrained.
But Umar miscalculated. The Nigerian masses, masses whose one of them he was slapping around, are angry and frustrated. Not only was Umar’s bad behaviour being recorded for public consumption, a commentary accompanied it by a man who kept asking him to leave. “Oga leave. Oga gooooo. Oga comot for here oooo. Oga save yourself ooo!”
The commentator was right. An angry crowd was gathering, a crowd that could bay for blood. Yet, Umar wouldn’t listen He had to be cajoled and literally pushed into his car. I choose to say: smuggled into his car. Because at that time, they had started throwing things at his car. I think a couple of glasses had already been broken.
And when his driver, made to drive out, the angry crowd had locked the gate. I froze, thinking the worst was about to happen.
It is a miracle Umar was not lynched on Tuesday. Policemen who behaved better than him by not releasing any shots or tear gas saved him.
The first time I watched the video, the platform from where it was forwarded to me mis-captioned it. The caption said it was Senator Elisha Abboh – the Adamawa Senator who beat up a sales girl in an adult shop in Abuja when he went to make a purchase.
Where I proudly come from, there is a saying that one does not know when to take, seriously, the cries of child who cries often. We had caught the Senator in a bad behaviour before. So, I believed he was the one. Not only did I forward the video to a couple of my close friends, I was preparing to slam him for another bad behaviour, and tell his zone why he should be recalled, and Adamawa people why nobody should allow him realise his ambition in 2023. The guy, after the adult shop incident, insists he wants to be Governor of his State. Such temerity!
When the correct version affirmed it was Justice Umar, I was diminished as a Nigerian.
Yet, Justice Umar did not still understand the gravity of his bad behaviour. For, even with the viral video, he lied, and insulted my Race, the Igbo.
Instead of burying his head in Shame, Umar allowed an ill-advised statement from his office. He lied that he did not slap the boy. He gave the impression it was the opposite. He gave the impression that he was the one attacked. And worse, he heaped the blame on a Race. “I was attacked by a group of Biafra boys”, apparently, referring to the Igbo! Why Biafra? What brought that jaundiced assertion up?
I have since watched that video a number of times, and listened to the voices. The commentator was not Igbo, and the crowd which witnessed Umar’s descent from the Olympian heights to the gutter, was a mixed crowd. But, to cover his shame, Umar had to insult a race. The guy doesn’t have the temperament of a Judge. No matter the situation, they are calm. They never allow their emotions rule them.
Now, the Igbo know. Unless Justice Umar resigns from office, no Igbo should appear before him. He holds the Igbo in contempt. This kind of stupid assumption, and hateful categorization of a Race, is at the root of our crisis in Nigeria.
Finally, I understand that Umar went to report the poor security guard to the Police. I understand that the guy was picked up, and granted bail after the DPO watched the video. I cannot confirm.
But Justice Danladi Umar should not be allowed to get away with this bad behaviour. The Security Guard should sue him for everything he has got.
As for Justice Umar’s office, which he holds in trust on our behalf, he should, if he has any honour left in him, resign. Otherwise, he should be shown the way out.
In more civilised climes, he would have stood down, since that Tuesday, with head bowed in shame, clutching a statement of apology. That is the way to go.
Obi is the Editor-in-Chief/CEO of The Source (Magazine)