President Umaru Yar’Adua recently hinted that the various judgements were influenced by public opinions, and subsequently made a call to judges to stop taking decision based on public sentiments and opinions. Yar’Adua went on and told the judges to make decisions strictly according to the law.
He noted that basing judgments on public sentiments could make the judges to play to the gallery. According to him, “it is important that the judiciary should not fall into temptations of public sentiments while deciding on cases before them, but should stick to the application of the law. Decisions of courts must be according to the law and not according to public sentiments”.
This unwarranted statement from the president is totally uncalled and unacceptable. This is because there people who are in the election petition tribunal challenging the purported electoral victory of Umaru Yar’Adua, and by attacking the judiciary, he is trying to influence the decision of the tribunals across the country.
It would be recalled that, both the local and international observer out-rightly condemned the April polls in Nigeria, describing it as the worst in the annals of the country. In fact, the observers noted that the election fell far below the standard set by Nigerians for themselves and they went on to compare the election in Nigeria to those of Mongolia and Somalia.
The judiciary has been up and doing. They are in deed the last bastion of hope of the people. They have not only deliver judgements, but they make sure that people get justice. Or was it not the same Yar’Adua during his inaugural speech who admitted that the April election in Nigeria is fundamentally flawed. So, for him it is only the verdict or judgment that favours the PDP that is based on the law.
The tribunal’s right from inception has said that the proceedings of the tribunal is different from the regular courts, hence, opportunity would be given to all sides to clearfully ventilate their views. In fact, the tribunals went ahead to explain that judgements will not be given based on technicalities or political consideration.
Even when the President openly admitted that the April election was flawed, and went on to set up the electoral reform committee.
But with the benefit of hindsight, we now know that he was merely playing to the gallery. If not he would kicked against the local government election this December as planned by the PDP. Not only this, he would have sacked Maurice Iwu, re-organize INEC and make the electoral body truly independent. But nothing has changed, it is still business as usual and he is carrying on as if nothing is amiss.
It is also imperative to underscore the fact that, both the executive and legislative arms of government have performed woefully in the discharge of its duties and responsibilities. They have disappointed the people severally, and it is only the judiciary that has up and doing.
Therefore, the judiciary should ignore the insult from the president and continue to do what is right and just in the overall best interest of the country. If the president feels that, he was validly and duly elected without any electoral manipulations then he has nothing to fear.
But if he knows that the process and procedure that brought him into power is corrupt and unjust, then he should be willing to vacate his seat, after all, he says he believes in the rule of law and not the rule of force. But from the content of his speech, one is tempt to shudder to think that, he might one to adopt the Pakistani style of disbanding the judiciary.
However, he should have it at the back of his mind that, those who makes violent change impossible, makes violent change inevitable. Nigeria cannot be turned a banana republic of one’s rule. Nigeria has not recovered from the eight years misrule of the chicken General from Ota. Now, Yar’Adua is telling us that his calm facial look, seemingly innocuous mien and flowery rule of law speeches are very deceptive. He is a wounded lion who wants to cling to anything to survive.
Hence, I cannot but, agree with the submission of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in a recent interview when he said that, “Yar’Adua government is the same PDP government under Obasanjo. It is a continuation of the elements of Obasanjo’s administration. What is surprising there? It is a continuation of the Obasanjo’s administration. Nothing different”.
So, the Obasanjo era and legacy is still very around. At least Yar’Adua is a beneficiary of the Obasanjo electoral fraud. Without Obasanjo’s political arm-twisting, electoral manipulation and rule of force, Yar’Adua would never have come close to Aso Rock talk much of being the President. And he knows more than any person that it was a feat achieved through very fraudulent, ignoble and crooked means.
It would again be recalled that a weeks back, it was reported that, high-ranking officials of PDP, included PDP state governors and Yar’Adua meet to deliberate on the activities of the various tribunals across the country and they came to the offensive conclusion that for the petitioners to have recorded huge victories at the tribunals they must have reached out to the tribunals, hence, they resolve to also reach out to the tribunals.
But this means is that, this PDP have no confidence in the judiciary, its rhetoric about rule of law is just meretricious posturing and in spite of its lip-service to fight corruption, it actually wants to compromise the integrity of the judiciary by inducing financially. Without out mincing words, these are the kind of horrendous proclivities that brings down a country and government.
And, the problem with those that preside over the affairs of this country is that, the have short memories, no sense of history and they don’t learn anything from history, hence, the sooner than later become part of the relics of history.
One very important Yar’Adua should know is that, he is an illegal occupier of Aso Rock and the seat of power. Once, he had admitted that the process that brought to office is strewn with evident flaws, the next honourable thing for him to have done was to have relinquished power voluntarily and since he has failed to do this, he should not complicate matters by trying to gag and muzzle the judiciary.
The petitioners have not taken laws into their hand instead, they approached the law courts or tribunals to ventilate their spleen yet, Yar’Adua is not comfortable. So, what does he want?
What Yar’Adua ought to be doing is to deepen the democratic culture in the country, by developing and entrenching institutions of government. This will enable sustainable democratic culture to flourish in the country.
But what he doing is to build personality cult around himself. Instead of chiding the judiciary un-necessarily what he should be doing is fixing the enormous encumbrances the country is going through presently.
For instance, he has demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that, he has no solution to the vexed issued of bad roads across the country, which are in a deplorable state of disrepair, ditto, the annoying problem of epileptic power supply, as Nigerians have continue to generate their own power through generating sets, he is also bereft of ideas on how to properly and comprehensively tackle the perennial snags in the Niger Delta, where the wealth of the nation is generated, the education and health sector are still in a state of utter disarray and mismatch confusion.
As Hospitals today are worse than mere consulting clinics, and education sector is grossly under-funded.
Since, he assumed the mantle of leadership in May this year; the country has not witnessed any remarkable progress as he has not provided the country with the credible and charismatic leadership. He has shown vividly that he was not in any way prepared for the gargantuan task of administering a country as complex and pluralistic as Nigeria.
He was drag into the presidential race at the very last minute by the former president. And, it takes more than being forced to contest an election to govern a country.
Therefore, he should leave the judiciary alone and concentrate on the business of national building, Nigeria is too big a country to be put in the pocket by one man.
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manero lagos, Nigeria November 09, 2007
Sir, I beg to disagree with you because it is not only the election petitions that are holding on the country,there are so many other case pending in courts around the mation and if you read the speech properly, you will realize that other issues were addressed so don't direct your observation only to issues that you seem to be payed to observe. Be broad minded in your reviews. Thank you
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