SOME thoughts are considered far-fetched, some; sacrilegious, some; impossicant, and some; simply wild dreams. When the running democratic phase started in 1999, no court, would dare remove a governor-elect 24 hours to swearing-in. It happened on Thursday, again, sending the political temperature, to abnormal. Life is in phases. At the early stage, nobody wanted the Abiku democracy, die on his lap. Many constitutional infractions, like the Adamawa ‘99, when a yet-to-be sworn-in running mate, was promoted by the Supreme Court to take oath as governor and Rivers ‘07, when a man who wasn’t on the ballot was promoted governor by the same apex court, because it was reasoned that those contesting elections are political parties and not their candidates, were allowed to pass.
On a lighter note, if the funny precedent on Rivers is the constitutional standard, why compelling political parties to have candidates before the elections. Why not allow them run first, win and later fix desired candidates to allotted winning columns. Maybe, just maybe.
What about the Justice George Adesola Oguntade-led comical panel in his days at the Court of Appeal, which ruled that the Electoral Act 2002, used in conducting the ‘03 Obasanjo’s re-election was unconstitutional but all elections, including presidential, conducted under its banner, should stand, in national interest. Do you put something on nothing? And these are the men we credit with truckload of erudition. Funny enough, Oguntade, the Lagos-born jurist who is enjoying the twilight of his life at the expense of Nigeria as UK Ambassador, was also on the Supreme Court that delivered the much-ridiculed K-legged Rivers’ ‘07 judgment. I insinuate nothing.
By the time, Aremu Obasanjo, as president, was getting into his full dictatorial gear, for a dangerous sail, a judiciary, trying to tolerate his worrying tendencies, especially in the management of his PDP politics and the electoral terrain, shook the polity in ‘06, taking out Chris Ngige and enthroning Peter Obi, after Obasanjo’s lackey and Anambra Chief Thug, Chris Uba had openly testified he rigged the election for the now-Minister of Labour and Productivity. Uba, should have gone to jail, if the electoral law meant anything to the operators. But he was the president’s boy, for whom the then president commanded a sitting governor, Ngige, to go “pay” him the political IOU signed before Uba supported his gubernatorial ambition. Ngige wasn’t playing ball and a sitting governor, complete with all security paraphernalia, was locked up in the toilet of his office by Uba/Obasanjo miscreants, to sign an undated resignation letter. Literature legend, Chinua Achebe, was right rejecting honour from such a ruling clique. Femi Fani-Kayode and others who attacked the now-late scholarship giant, are the villains of that particular phase.
Since those early days, judicial interventions terminating gubernatorial joy, are no longer a rarity, only that many of the decisions, are befuddling. The common man doesn’t know what to believe again, and in that confusion, partisanship now dictates how judgments are received, especially in this era of APC/PDP dichotomy imprints on our everyday existence. Is it an aberration for the judiciary to have a final say on the decision of the majority of the citizenry of a particular state, or even the nation at large? It should be, in an ideal situation, but isn’t the mess even visible to the blind in sight? But the blind in mind may choose not to see it. They are the party rats, whose
reasoning capacity isn’t beyond what benefits their political parties and by extension, their belly and pockets. Unfortunately, this category, with impaired mind, occupies strategic position that would need to shift, if the push in the right direction must be. They are the gbas gbos proponents of today. Everything is bespoke when their party wins. Everything is washed-up, when their party loses. They openly claimed that whoever can’t take “small” rigging, can’t and should not be in Nigerian politics. Of course, they are educated, only blinded by their rapacity. Jesus said those in the world, the wicked, the sinners, those who compromise institutions to promote personal agenda, those who celebrate with election riggers, those who saturate the polity with ill-gotten wealth, those who try to put a price on everything and everyone, to receive a prize they think they should have, would have eyes but won’t see.
Men like Lyon, who lost at the edge of gubernatorial paradise, should return to God for an insight into why their supposed day of joy, suddenly turned sour. That judgment could have gone the other way. Was it not the same Supreme Court that ruled that Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello was validly nominated without a valid running-mate? The political class may not like this fact, but the Word of God is eternal and settled. The Word says God rules in the affairs of men. After Audu’s death and a no-hopper like Bello suddenly found himself in Lugard House, those relocating to the BQ of the devil, all for power and influence sake, would soon discover they are casting their bangles in vain.
Bukola Saraki earned my respect in that regard. He knew when to walk away, without taking his eyes away. He knew when the game was up. The political class looks irredeemably incorrigible because its front-row members have got away with too many atrocious deeds that would even shame whoever who brought the word; atrocity, forward, complete with all it represents in crudity but it is likely that the kind of bizarre turn in Yenagoa, where a man preparing for open celebratory salute would now be receiving plenty of “sorry o,” all within 24 hours, would minister to a few amongst the leaders, whose souls aren’t completely lost to the lust of power.
This is a phase in the life of this nation. Now that the state CEOs aren’t too big for judicial recrimination, the next phase should be, bringing the office of president of Nigeria under the same judicial subjection, until those seeking to occupy it, begin to come in with correct credentials and lawful votes. If rigging is difficult to prove, documents with empirical value like affidavits and certificates should not be, whether from Toronto, military, Port-Harcourt university or Open University. Someone, someday, will develop the nerves, I believe, regardless who the appointing authority is.