I’m somewhat relieved that he was not accused of corruption, fraud, or incompetence. I’m further consoled that he was not caught using government insider information to enrich himself or his siblings. I smile that he was not recorded on video with his hands in the cookie jar. I’m happy that he was not discovered to have altered his age, cooked the books, or doctored his educational credentials. I’m at equilibrium that he was not accused of other debaucheries that politicians of his ilk embrace as their stock-in-trade.
On August 25, 2020, when he was sworn in as minister of justice and solicitor general (having previously served as minister of municipal affairs), Mr Kaycee Madu became the first black person to occupy that high government office in Alberta, Canada. We all rejoiced at this historic accomplishment that has placed him as the chief legal officer of the land and etched the name of my rural Mbaise in Imo State, Nigeria, on the world map, again. Some marveled at this young and unassuming lawyer who has the audacity to dance vigorously on the hallowed ground of Canadian politics, where even angels are so scared to tread. Others devised urgent means of reaching him with dubious congratulatory messages that were punctuated with the hidden agenda of “remember me when you come into your kingdom,” momentarily forgetting that Canada is not Nigeria where public office is sought for every other reason, except to serve the public. For good measure, the nation of Mbaise has a cogent reason to celebrate the trailblazing achievement of this son-of-the-soil: Her detractors always go to great length to downplay the laudable achievements of her sons/daughters, while actively amplifying their minor flaws that are also prevalent in other enclaves.
As such, when on Monday, January 17, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that Minister Madu has been asked to step back from his ministerial duties following a traffic violation controversy that happened on March 10, 2021 (10 months earlier), many commentators, including corrupt politicians and their clueless enablers, have been calling for him to be nailed to the cross. As much as I understand and accept their freedom of expression, it provokes me to holy anger to see phony attorneys, rouge judges, and sham journalists rush to convict him of an imaginary conflict of interest violation, even when all the facts surrounding the incident are not out yet in the public domain. As a stakeholder, and a proud son of Mbaise myself, I decided to withhold my comment until Premier Jason Kenny appoints an independent third-party investigator that would determine “whether there was interference in the administration of justice.” And having appointed Judge Adele Kent, a respected and retired Judge from Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench to undertake the investigation, I feel obligated to offer my studied perspective on the call made by Mr Madu, and all the relevant issues surrounding it. My mission, as facts will bear me out, is not to condone crime or corruption where one exists or to baselessly defend Mr Madu, but to critically look at the elements of the matter as they are currently available.
I’m convinced of Judge Kent’s competence and integrity, yet I’m very concerned about the outcome of her investigation, given the high incidents of alleged racism, discrimination, and the racial profiling of blacks and indigenous people in Alberta, especially the notorious cases leading to the Lethbridge investigation, which is expected to end-up on the desk of the minster of justice and solicitor general. And this is the same investigation that Mr Madu may have referred to in his call with Chief Dale McFee of Edmonton police. The forgoing necessitates a passionate appeal to Judge Kent to examine every relevant aspect of this incident to unearth what really happened before, during, and after the traffic incident. This will ensure that Mr Madu receives a fair and just treatment from the investigation. As one would expect from him, because of his nature and training, he has indicated his willingness to provide full cooperation with the investigation in its task of considering both the “content and context” of his call to the chief, to determine interference or a reasonable perception of interference — a difficult task to undertake with absolute certainty.
As a law-abiding legal officer, Mr Madu paid the $300 traffic ticket fully and promptly, without contesting it, but insisted that he called Chief McFee only to seek assurance he wasn’t being unfairly targeted because he is black or held a high-profile government position. Fortunately, this assertion was corroborated by both the police chief and the premier. In fact, Premier Kenny noted that “Madu did not ask for his ticket to be rescinded but instead raised larger concerns about issues, including racial profiling.” I’m convinced that a tricky part of this investigation would involve the enormous task of determining if a foreign country played a role in the ticket episode. This becomes necessary as people we might quickly dismiss as charlatans or conspiracy theorists are boldly peddling the angle that a foreign country offended by his past comments may have been responsible for the ticketing incident. While this may sound alright ludicrous, it may not be entirely wasteful to dig into the activities and history of the ticketing police officer. It’s interesting to note that the police in Alberta, like other parts of Canada and the U.S., may not be as clean and professional as they try to make us believe. There is overwhelming documentary evidence to prove this.
I reckon there is in existence in Alberta, a compliant process that should have been followed in situations such as this (which may not include a direct call to the police chief), and granted that Mr Madu, in his mea-culpa, has stated that “there is a saying that perception is everything in politics, and I regret raising the issue at all with Chief McFee,” yet it doesn’t necessarily make his call an attempt to interfere with the administration of justice or abuse of office.
While this incident is not what I would have wished to discuss at this time, I’m somewhat relieved that he was not accused of corruption, fraud, or incompetence. I’m further consoled that he was not caught using government insider information to enrich himself or his siblings. I smile that he was not recorded on video with his hands in the cookie jar. I’m happy that he was not discovered to have altered his age, cooked the books, or doctored his educational credentials. I’m at equilibrium that he was not accused of other debaucheries that politicians of his ilk embrace as their stock-in-trade. Yes, I’m overly satisfied that Mr Madu has never been found wanting in the discharge of his duties and responsibilities as minister of justice and solicitor general. In fact, it’s on record that he has handled the dictates of his delicate office with transparency, candour, and zeal.
No matter where the pendulum swings, we are ready to welcome Mr Kaycee Madu as a deserving hero who went, saw, and conquered. While others, including his political enemies, are calling for his head to be bowed in shame, we are calling for his head to be decorated with the highest crown of the land for placing Mbaise nation on the highest pedestal, at home and abroad.
Charles Ihejirika is the Lead Director of Daccade Law and Policy Inc., New York. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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