Andy Uba recourse for justice has come to temporary end provided is not appealing to the Supreme Court. When Andy seeks redress in law court it causes a lot of ripples in many political fields and the media took a keen interest in the matter.
His party, People Democratic Party (PDP) was ruffled as the party is hell bend in installing Soludu, the former governor of Central Bank as its candidate for the scheduled Anambra State governorship election. The incumbent governor was highly threatened as he will not have the opportunity to contest second term if the court grants Uba’s wishes. Besides, the governor was more worried as he was benefactor of judiciary controversial judgement. The governor’s party, in the name of its president of board of trusty, went over the top with a threat.
There were many other commentators and writers raining abuse on Uba. Some of them even attacked the judges to pre-empt them into submission. This might have worked in a way given the judgement by the court of Appeal.
Ojukwu, the APGA‘s board of trusty president, threaten another civil war to pre-empt the judges of the Appeal court into favourable decision. Anambra is very important for APGA as is the only state it controls out of 36 states of federation. For the party, it is very critical for it to retain Anambra by any means. Ojukwu cried is more like a last cry of dying man than a threat. It is unfortunate though that failed successionists can still talk about another civil war. A man that lead many to death and starvation but run away in the face of defeat only to come back and promise another horror of civil war.
If many Nigerians understand the way parties are finance they would understand how democracy work in the country. States funds are used in financing all parties, thus, the more state you control the more money a party can command. That is the reason why governors are now very important in the political power in Nigeria. During Obasanjo terms, the presidency managed the power of governors very well, in fact, it was bare minimum. Now, we have weak presidency, governors are very powerful, Anambra is not an exception. In Nigeria democracy, a party is dead if it does not control a state. AC (Action Congress) is active today because it controls Lagos State; this is a big sacred cow.
In justice, if you feel you are injured in anyway, it is your right to seek redress in law court. This is what civilisation is all about. Andy Uba felt he was injured party in the last general election and it is within his right to seek redress. We may not like this but it is his fundamental human right to do so. He has restrained himself from doing what it is uncivilised by not making the state ungovernable through violent after the illegal elongation by the court. He has waited enough time for Obi (the governor of Anambra state)’s tenure to lapse before seeking redress.
Some people in the press, judiciary and politics felt slighted by previous president of Nigeria for ignoring them and for not polishing their over inflated ego. They now think it is their opportunity now to smear the ex-president as he is no longer in power, they also want to include all his associate or people they considered close to him in their grand design. If we hate Obasanjo or not, we must never allow that hatred to confuse our thinking or sense of natural justice. Uba is an individual that must be treated with such respect. He seeks to be governor for the best reason knows to him. May be he has a good plan for his state and his people, for us, we will never know, all that it is, he was robbed by the highest court in the land.
The bone of contention in Anambra started with disputed election in 2003 general election. PDP had an arrangement to elect Ngige as the governor of the state. Ngige in turn had an agreement with the party money-bag who happen to be Andy’s brother (Chris Uba). PDP was declared winner but AGPA and its candidate, Obi, disputed the election and head to a long protracted electoral appeal process. While the appeal was on, Ngige and his god-father fell apart after failing to do the god-father’s bidding.
The clashes between god-father and governor lead to crises in the party in both state and national level. The governor was politically isolated in the state and the party national chairman was involved in both unethically and scandalous way. He was taking money from both side and playing the governor and god-father against each other with active conniving of the sitting vice president. The whole thing was blown out nationally when the party chairman that had direct access to the president decided to write an open letter to the president in some national newspaper on Anambra crises. The action that forced the hand of the president in telling the nation what he knew.
What the president knew latter helped Obi to win at the tribunal. Chris Uba confessed to rigging election for Ngige to win. It is ironic now that when we talk about election and democracy, some of the media houses invited Ngige for comments.
The snag about Obi victory at the tribunal was that it came far too late. It took three years (the longest in Nigeria and probably the world as well) for the verdict to be delivered. This made Obi an injured party, he has his term been used by Ngige, so, he seek redress in court. The electoral law did not provide any provision for this kind of scenario. What was stated in the constitution is election every four years and INEC feel obligated to do what the constitution says. Appeal court rejected Obi plead for extension that should have been the final place as prescribe by the constitution. He went further to Supreme Court which by constitution did not have right to entertain governorship electoral dispute. The Supreme Court disregard this by saying it accepted Obi plead on the basis of human right.
This raises a suspicion; it appeared that the court had more than human right in this matter. Moreover, when the court took the case, election was about few months away but did nothing nor did it instruct INEC, which was a party to the case, on deferring the scheduled election. The judges can not claim to be living in Mars then.
The judgement came after the election had passed and new governor had been sworn in. The Supreme Court ruled that the incumbent governor should have full term living the new elected governor in a limbo. I found the judgement disturbing, as normal in Nigeria, people can not grasp what is important in crises or things that infringe their right as citizens. What was at stake here was missed, to make it worse, the so called experts, through their selfish motive, were giving conflicting signals.
This is a case of better of two evil, a governor that was elected but spent a year and half of his tenure and another new elected governor, in power for seventeen days. For the court to even turn around and told INEC that there was never any vacancy in the governorship, put the whole situation insatiable. The interpretation of the law is within the power of the court and it could have given advice to all parties before the election went ahead. It is irresponsible for the court to have stood by and allowed tax payers money to be wasted on futile election and contesting candidates to wasted their money and time over fruitless election.
To allowed people to waste their time to vote for nothing show lack of respect to the people. The court also failed in promoting democracy by disregarding election, an act that is scared and fundamental in democracy. If Anambra people are not typical Nigerian that are passive in every aspect of government and democracy they would have make sure Obi did not complete his term peacefully. This was done in old Ondo state where the ruling party rigged governorship election in 1983. One of the problems of Nigeria democracy is that it is winner-take-all oriented. Thus, losers will rather see everybody loose than him accepting defeat.
When a court made decision like this, it made not only the winner a victim, but the losers too. You contest an election on the basis that you will win or loose. If you loose, someone throwing the process into a bin is also insulting you as well. At the end of the day, if your money did not matter, your emotion and zeal you put in to campaign can not be unquantifiable.
Some people may say Andy rigged the election so the ruling did not matter. I disagree with that, electoral tribunal is there to dispute rigging and in fact the ruling by the court is electoral rigging or bluntly a judicial coup of removing an elected governor. Also, the important thing here is election, it represent people wish, rigging or not, the court seemed not to give a damn about that. Imagine six judges deciding who is the governor for million of voters.
We may have sympathy for Obi for been robbed but we can not bastardize constitution to placard people. The court should have instructed INEC to postpone the governorship election in the state pending the outcome of the case. After all, INEC was party to the case. The court itself breached the constitution by taking up the case; late Gani Fawehimi made the same conclusion. Obi spending only one half year of his tenure is an injury that can be overcome as nothing stopping him from contesting election again if he desire to do so. I believed if your people want you, they will vote for you and make sure you are elected.
The person that suffered permanent injury is Andy Uba, he spent his time, money, effort in winning an election but was denied by the court in a matter he know nothing of. We must distinguish between Chris, Andy, Obi and Obasonjo. It is upon this injury that Uba derived the right to seek law court for redress. We must restrain ourselves from abusing people if they go to court if they felt hard done by. At the end of the day, that what Obi did, even though I personally feel the judgement was dubious. It is the Supreme Court that has the power, so, we have to abide by it.
We all care about our democracy, it not politicians alone that are bad for us, the judges and journalist are part and parcel of the whole corruption incorporation in Nigeria. Getting our democracy right means straighten up the judges and the journalist. Dubious judgement and bad reporting contribute a lot to bad government.
There was an article on internet saying the Supreme Court judges were bribed by Obi to make that judgement. These types of speculations will arise as long as we have dubious judgment that defies logic and breached our constitution. Can we say the article is not true?
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