With Abiodun Awolaja
WERE Nigeria a nation of truth, the Osun State governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, would be in his second term of office by now. Having won the 2018 governorship election in the state, Adeleke was defeated by INEC, which conducted a rerun election in the state while it had previously declared the APC candidate winner in a Kogi State by-election with the same facts as the Osun election; political thugs who harassed voters during the rerun election, and the Supreme Court which relied on a mere technicality to deny Osun people their right to choose their governor. The so-called rerun that made Gboyega Oyetola governor was universally panned by observers, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and in newspaper editorials. It was a sham.
Now, before our very eyes and in luciferically brazen fashion, the same people who used their influence in the judiciary to remove Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Segun Oni from office in the most blatantly criminal fashion are at their familiar game in Osun, trying to truncate the people’s will. In the Oyinlola case, the Appeal Court judges annulled polls in areas that Rauf Aregbesola never disputed to make him (Aregbesola) governor. They engaged in voodoo mathematics just replicated by Justice Tertsea Kume and his colleague. The Segun Oni verdict was even more horrendous: after INEC claimed that ACN thugs had burnt its Ido Osi office, the area where Oni comes from, the judges annulled the entire polls in the area instead of ordering a rerun there, they calculated the rest of the votes and awarded victory to Kayode Fayemi! It was a robbery at a blatant, demonic level and was one of the reasons the PDP government amended the law to allow governorship cases to get to the Supreme Court.
Now, I come to the Osun 2023 judgment where Justice Kume made a so-called BVAS-led decision that ignored the accreditation data on the BVAS machines used for the election. In other words, Mr Kume ignored the primary source of evidence to determine the true number of accredited voters and relied on a secondary, incomplete source. Folks, there is something called writing a judgment. Judges on a panel are expected to write their individual opinions. Although to save time and space, judges have been known to adopt the position of their colleagues delivering a lead judgment, I was advised during my viva at OAU, Ile-Ife, that even this isn’t ideal. In Osun, however, the judges not only exercised mental laziness, but they also breached legal convention with brazen recklessness.
I do not suppose that the framers of the law envisaged a panel of judges pronouncing themselves as “we” and using voodoo tactics to upturn the freely expressed will of a populace. When did two supposedly independent judges become an unbreakable “we”, each losing the individuality central to judicial decisions? Assuming but not conceding that the judgment was jointly written, who wrote what, and how shall the judges be referred to in future? “Kume and his appendage…as they then were?” If you couldn’t even write your opinion, even if it is two sentences agreeing with the lead judgment, how do you justify your pay as a judge? If a judge did not even have the decency to write his judgment, sheepishly appending his signature to a joint judgment, how is he fit to be called a judge? When did a panel ever become a cult? The minority judgment, which I believe the Supreme Court will affirm, had an author. It is not as voluminous as the Buga judgment, but it is astoundingly well-argued, succinct and sober.
Strangely, the Buga judges did not only pronounce Adeleke’s certificates forged in defiance of the Court of Appeal, a superior court, they went after Adeleke’s persona, informing us that he dances Buga! To cap off their buffoonery, they wrote: “See Kizz Daniel’s Buga for details.”! The key question is this: just who is Kizz Daniel, and why is his “Buga” of interest in determining the validly elected governor of Osun State? As a language student who obtained a PhD looking at Supreme Court judgments, I have never seen such a level of depravity in a court judgment. Of course, by citing an intellectually drab, vacuous and vapid, though populist, song, the judges gave ample indication of their astoundingly low mental constitution. They turned the temple of justice into farce. Sadly, because they intend to install a cocaine dealer as president, even so-called senior advocates are desperately trying to justify this gross desecration of the Court of law. Sad!
Out of fear and remembering that Governor Adeleke had similarly won at the lower level four years ago, the mandate thieves have filled the town with partisan lawyers proclaiming that it would be impossible for the higher courts to upturn the Buga judgment in Osun! They are daily publishing paid advertorials disguised as opinion essays. The tactic is familiar: to derail the judges of the higher courts. The intent is to subvert the will of the people and set Osun State on fire even while the fire kindled by the Supreme Court through its blatantly unjust judgment awarding the governorship of Imo State to Senator Hope Uzodinma is yet to subside!
Ironically, those who say Adeleke is unfit for office because he is a dancer also shout to the high heavens that a drug baron is the best candidate for president. Of course, they know that the man is mentally malnourished, morally crippled, irredeemably corrupt, and criminally self-seeking. Still, their god is money, and their mentality is mired in today’s mud. I formed my opinion of their god years ago and found no reason to change it. Ademola Adeleke is the duly elected governor of Osun State.
By the way, is Section 51(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 still part of our laws? It says: “Where the result of an election is cancelled in accordance with subsection (2), there shall be no return for the election until another poll has taken place in the affected polling unit.” So why voodoo mathematics? I have read the minority judgment delivered by Justice P.A. Ogbuli, and I am in full agreement with it that this is a case of a loser trying to railroad the court into declaring him a winner.
A prayer for 2023: may we not be judged by Buga judges or ruled by drug dealers and terror sympathizers acting in cahoots with leperous legislators.
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