ANALYSIS: The Nigeria’s ‘Tragicomedy’ WeekLatest News, News Features/Analysis Sunday, February 7th, 2016
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau
The situation in Nigeria last week, appeared like a ‘tragicomedy’ drama. Really, the developments in question as expected, did not to a very large extent, occasion any relieve among many Nigerians, yet, when some characters attempt to be smatter, the discerning minded, only chuckle and mock the disgruntled and naughty ‘dramatic personae’ over their misgivings . This is exactly what played out in the week starter – in Dr. Temitope Aluko, a stalwart of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) self- conceited confession on #EkitiGate and the mid week disaster – the ruling by the apex court on the Akwa Ibom Governorship Election.
On Akwa Ibom, readers would recall I expressed worry if it would not suffer the same fate with the sister’s Niger Delta Rivers State. My reasoning was simply based on the fact that the two States were of similar circumstances – talk about the large scale of electoral fraud and violence. Here we are again; despite the madness; the nonsense and killings, during the poll, the jurists in their thinking and understanding ruled that Governor Udom Emmanuel, like his Rivers State’s counterpart, Nyesom Wike should not only remain in office, but had a genuine and “meritorious” appeal! If I must sincerely consider the weight and real meaning of the word “meritorious”, I am forced to ask that is it really applicable or relevant in the two circumstances in question?
Like many have said and I concluded Friday before last, (in the week’s analysis), the Lawyers, politicians and Nigerians of diverse interest are waiting for the reasons, for yet another shocking ruling. And as I heard a fellow saying last week, that the reasons, to be adduced by the Supreme court judges, hopefully would be “reasonable”. This is very apt, I must say.
Then the alawada keri keri (jester) Ekiti politician. It is a pity a character like this who had spent a good part of his lifetime in academics would descend this low, just in the name of playing politics. Whatever anybody says, as far as I am concerned, Dr. Aluko’s belated confession (after saying the opposite) in the special law courts in the past (as a witness) is merely a reflection of desperation; distrust and egoism in some of the Nigerian political class.
Therefore, his case to me is rather simple. First, let me state without any fear of contradiction that Dr. Aluko repentant and witch-like confession did not in any way come as a surprise to me. Or who in Nigeria (even among the illiterates) is ignorant of the evils the ‘actors’, including their former and superior boss perpetrated before and during the last Ekiti Gubernatorial Election? I feel what is new in the latest confession is that Aluko gave more graphical details of the illegality he and his party colleagues engaged themselves, before and while the election lasted. As a matter of fact, his confession was a corroboration and more seriously, confirmation of Captain Sagir Ikoli’s narration (as recorded) on #EkitiGate saga, which was initially berated, but later admitted by the suspects in the poll scam plot.
Now that Dr. Aluko has come out plainly, will the Lagos ‘errand’ politician who held brief for the overall Oga, (then) in the poll scam who up till tomorrow, will deny there is nothing like #EkitiGate still maintain his position? Will he discountenant the confession, just like the main beneficiary of the fraudulent election is attempting to do? If Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Musliu Obanikoro wished, they can make all manners of denials, including denying they never knew the ‘traitor’, let alone of being a strong member of their party. Wayo people.
After his afterthought confession, many expected the government, particularly, the Federal, (FG) to direct Aluko’s arrest and prosecution. Issues of prosecution sometimes can be so complex, cumbersome and worrisome. What I mean here is that if FG were to effect his prosecution; where does it start from? And talking about jurisdiction, which court has it and to adjudicate on the matter?
I can predict that even if the FG were to prosecute Dr. Aluko in Ekiti, the outcome of the suit is already determined before the trial begins. And this again provokes the question what role (s) for the judiciary in the growing of our democracy? More on this later.
For the reason best known to him and those who sent him, the Ekiti State Director of Public Prosecution Gbemiga Adaramola on February 3, 2016 last week prayed the State’s Chief Magistrate, Adesoji Adegboye to issue an arrest warrant on Auko for perjury. Is there really anything to be cheerful about in this? If you care for my position, I can tell you I don’t care a hoot! My reasons are simple. The plaintiffs in the suit and other parties, except the accused, knew where they are going; know very well what they intend to achieve and the extent they determine to reach in the kangaroo prosecution, but definitely not in the public interest.
If Aluko’s trial in Ekiti were to serve any reasonable, rational or general purpose, as we have now, many other suspects including Governor Fayose (except for immunity) ought to be arrested, prosecuted, docked and subsequently punished in line with the provision of the laws. But as we speak, will Aluko trial in Ekiti State ever get to this level? The answer is very simple and clear.
This takes me back to Nigerian democracy; the present administration’s war against corruption and Judiciary’s roles. Penultimate last week or so, President Muhammadu Buhari again expressed worry about the country’s judiciary. Then, he declared and lamented that this arm of government was his headche
Dear compatriots, who if in Buhari’s shoes, would have thought and declared differently, when as a President, you operate with a judiciary who seems to be at parallel with you, on the crusade to wage a collective and total war against corruption? The indices of worry are very evident in the manner the suspects in the ongoing #DasukiGate trial are handled.
Here, the rule of law campaigners should realize that the opinion of the public in the case at hand is paramount. I mean if it were the public views that the corruption suspects should constitutionally be tried and punished without any delay, why should anybody by virtue of his or her influence or position attempt to scuttle such process, with the rule of law rhetoric? I ask, to whose benefit is the rule of law in this context, is set out to serve? Is it not the same Nigerians who call for severe punishments against the suspects if found guilty, some are still attempting to trick with the rule of law theory? I wonder O!
In the first place, did the person who aid or support the diversion of the money meant for arms purchase to combat deadly and well armed insurgents just or fair to the soldiers who ‘avoidably’ lost their lives; their families or to the country? What about the millions who were internally displaced? As we speak, some families are yet to be reunited and God loves them, they might never meet again. Did those finger in arms scandal and other sordid acts really love this country dearly as they claim? Did they ever appreciate and embrace the rule of law, which the ‘campaigners’ now advocate as if the principle just found its root into our legal system?
Well, campaign or not, Mr. President must give the impression and convince well meaning Nigerians, that he is not only in power, but totally in control of how Nigeria is constitutionally run and governed. Again, Buhari must prove to the Nigerians who voted him to basically to bring sanity and launch positive change to the country’s public system and their lives; ultimately, that he is on top of his job.
If the President must achieve these, he must stop complaining, but take swift action he deems right; extend the ongoing cleansing to the judiciary. This is very key before he is frustrated to the level that is damaging, destructive, hopeless and irreversible. Mr. President, you are voted to take decisions on behalf of your supporters and other well meaning Nigerians who want you to succeed in office. President Buhari, you must remember, that giving excuses; apportioning blames, especially on the woeful performance of the army in the battle against the dreaded Boko Haram militants was one of the reasons, why Nigerians decided against his predecessor – Goodluck Jonathan and voted him out of power.
We must face it; why won’t one bother, when another charade of election (Akwa Ibom Governorship) was again affirmed by the apex court? Mr. President, Nigerians want you not only to act, but act very fast, before corruption kills Nigeria, as you always assert. It is time for action; act now please!
Again, as the Supreme Court delivered the second ‘uncommon’ judgment, I, like so many other Nigerians await the jurists (as they promised) the reasons for the two (Akwa Ibom and Rivers States) rulings, starting from this Friday, February 12, 2016.
Finally, many opinions have been expressed on the Supreme court verdicts, rightly or wrongly. Of course, the parties favoured have clapped their hands for the court; the judges, even for President Buhari (to have given the judiciary free hand) to decide cases anyhow? (I do not understand this yet please). All of these apart, if the awaiting reasons end up to be subjective; technical or draconian, then, wahala wa O! (there is problem) as I said in my analysis the week before last. If this were to be the case, then I can guarantee that the present judiciary would have completely lost the respect it enjoys from the serious-minded public. However, the matter might not end just like that, as it is likely the Nigerian public protest against the strong members of the bench and therefore demand for heads to roll for posterity. As for Alawada politicians, who is now parroting like a repentant and dying Iya Aje (witch); his Governor; his prosecutors; the co-party men and his party; whatever action they wish and plan against him (Aluko), on his factual confession, I care less, so also many Nigerians. None of the characters involved, within and outside the tinny State, deserve any serious attention and recognition. They are all birds of the same feathers; they flock together!
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