The 2007 general elections that ushered in the present civilian administration have been described by both domestic and foreign observers as the worst in the history of mankind. Even though no election took place, it is still convenient to refer to that charade as an election for the purpose of history.
At least former president Olusegun Obasanjo will go down the anal of history as the Nigerian that organized the worst election in the world. And if the Nobel authorities or some other bodies ever decide to recognize mediocrity in governance, a Nigerian in the person of Chief Aremu will win the prize unopposed. Another ‘first’ coming to Nigeria !
We are aware of the noble role the Nigerian judiciary has been playing in the safeguard of our young democracy. It is to the credit of the judiciary that we are where we are today. The enemies of democracy were prepared to rename our democracy to enable them inculcate some undemocratic norms in our polity.
Or how else can we describe a situation where the party that claims to be the largest in Africa rewrites its constitution giving the chairman of the party the final say in who the party fields for elective positions? What then is the relevance of primaries if candidates are not fielded based on the outcome of the elections?
By that singular election, Nigeria is thrown backward several years. The progress we made by successfully chasing the military out of governance became a mirage. The tolls have begun to take effect. We can not pretend about this. At the G8 summit, President Bush refused to have a handshake with our president. When the African Union met in Ghana recently, our president was relegated to a fifth back row in a group photograph.
Nigeria was not among the African countries visited by Tony Blair in his last official tour. Condoleezza Rice too visited some African countries; the Giant of Africa was not among the selected states. All the heroes of democracies who lost their lives in the pursuit of genuine democracy for Nigeria would be reeling in their graves over the mess PDP has made of our democracy.
As earlier mentioned, the judiciary is our saving grace. Our ‘learned men’, as they are often called, have never failed the masses of this great country. Even though we do not always get the best sometimes from the Federal Court of Appeal, the Apex Court is always on hand to put the nation on track. These days, Nigerians go to sleep with their both eyes closed knowing fully well that the Supreme Court is fully on guard.
The clamour that we should allow the country to move forward by allowing the illegality called election to stay is again anti-democratic. This can be likened to a beautiful edifice erected on weak foundation and we are told to allow the mansion to stay because of the colossal sum expended on it. Abomination! El-Rufai must roll in the bulldozers to pull it down.
That is the only way we can safeguard the lives of those who will inhabit in the house. The life of one person that would have been endangered as a result of the weak structure is more important that the money spent on the house. In the same vein, our future and indeed that of our children is more precious than whatever argument is being put forward to support the sham election.
The best way to move the nation forward is to address this ill once and for all. For instance, the Supreme Court’s pronouncement on Peter Obi would go along way to discourage mandate usurpers at that level. If Obi had accepted the status quo in order to allow Anambra State move forward, we might never have availed ourselves of this opportunity. Methinks this is a better way of moving the nation forward. By accepting an illegality, to me, is to move the nation backward.
As the Presidential Election Tribunals resumes sitting, Nigerians in all walks of life should encourage the tribunals to give us the best that has been associated with the judiciary of recent. We can not afford to retrogress after so much progress. We can encourage them in several ways in the same manner as they can be discouraged from discharging their duties.
As a reminder to the members of the Tribunal, it is expected that every material fact be considered on its merit without fair or favour. While dispensing justice, time is of utmost essence. Justice delayed is justice denied. There is no point taking this judicial journey for several months when the whole essence would have been lost.
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