Our February presidential elections, in line with the theory and practice of COURTiocracy ended on October 26, 2023, when the ‘erudite’ judges of our Supreme Court (SC) which is by design, the last hope of the common man, passed judgement on the petitions filed by Atiku and Obi.
The SC dismissed ALL the grounds of appeal by Atiku and would have flogged his counsels for shoddiness. However, Atiku was even luckier because Obi’s petition, even though it was filed differently, tried independently and had some different bones to crack( one of Obi’s lawyers was Otaokpukpu, which means bone-cracker) with the elections, was not even treated. Obi was told that the ruling in the case of Atiku also applied to him.
They thought it was the end but it ended up being just the end of the beginning. That was the beginning of Christianity and Christians have refused to let Pontus Pilate, the key figure in that macabre dance, to rest in peace! There is no day that Christians do not remember the murder of Christ and the role of Pilate in that matter.
By that judgement, the Supreme Cult ( Olisa Agbakoba, SAN has just told the world that the Supreme Court has been MAFIArised, which makes it a cult) has legalised the snatch and run elections, the mother of snatch and run democracy, and gave a stamp of approval to a full-blown BATiocracy. Many people saw it as the “end of discussion” or rather, the “conclusion of the whole matter” (Ecclesiastes, 12: 13-14). However, there are others who saw it differently.
For this group to which I belong, October 26 was just the end of the beginning, the beginning of a new era in our judicial history, elections and democracy. This is because the judgement gave birth to ‘homegrown judiciary, politicking, electioneering and what mimics a weird version of democracy. The SC judgement declared frankly that forgery, perjury, identity theft, electoral brigandage are in effect, the new normal in Nigeria. Impunity and Machiavellianism in the process of acquiring power was now legally sanctioned, adored and glorified.
Before going further with this intervention, I wish to draw attention to two international developments concerning justice and politics. The PEPT judgement occurred at the same time as Nigerians were celebrating the P& ID judgement. In that case, Nigeria got a ‘stay of execution’ due to some previously undiscovered evidence. Then, Justice Knowles threw the matter out because “the awards ( liability and quantum) were obtained by fraud which was contrary to public policy”. I will leave it at that for now! (The police as our friend (or fiend?) ; In the Lion’s den: @ Upper Iweka by 10pm!28/10/13). So, previously undiscovered evidence and underlying processes have serious judicial weight. And Nigeria is a beneficiary of these legal principles.
But in our homegrown ‘judiciation’, they do not matter! Secondly, in Liberia, Weah did ‘a Jonathan’ and conceded defeat even when the margin of victory required a microscope to ascertain, and handed over to the new president in a solemn and simple ceremony. No rigging, no killings, no petitions, no tribunals and no hierarchy of courts (with the inherent tension and financial haemorrhage). He just walked away and there is no evidence that he is trying to apply some crude ‘Wikerian’ remote-control tactics.
In conceding defeat, he declared: ‘these elections were organised with a promise of fairness, transparency and credibility… the Liberian people have spoken and their choice will be honoured and obeyed-… the National Electoral Commission (note that it is NOT independent) has earned the respect of ALL Liberians and the world at large’ Neither GMB who birthed the last ‘elections’ nor BAT the beneficiary can say this and the probability of saying it in future is dimming further and further.
Now back to business. 2023 years ago, a group of people due to jealousy, envy, fear, ego and acute aversion to change conspired and murdered a young man named Jesus Christ, whose only offence was that he preached and practised a new order of things. Probably Machiavelli had him in mind when he declared that There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things.(Nicholo’ Machiavelli,(1532) The Prince; (A handbook of power, politics and statesmanship)
The murder became judicial when Pontus Pilate, who found nothing against this man, ended up giving it a stamp of legality by condemning him to death. The conspirators then hanged him in the market square and went to celebrate their victory. They thought it was the end but it ended up being just the end of the beginning. That was the beginning of Christianity and Christians have refused to let Pontus Pilate, the key figure in that macabre dance, to rest in peace! There is no day that Christians do not remember the murder of Christ and the role of Pilate in that matter. So, the judgement of 26/10/23, will continue to revive negatively for years to come and the names of the judge and the beneficiary will continue to be mentioned in terms and tones that are not ennobling.
In the case of Christ, it took a while before his people found their voices and started hitting back at his murderers (Acts 2,1-11). However in this case, it was immediate and continuous and unfortunately, the greatest voices against what the supreme court has done and what has become of that terminal bus-stop for justice seekers are household enemies ( Micah,7:6); members of the extended judicial family. Afterall, it was said that judgement will begin from within ( 1 John,4:17). The other day, a retiring and ranking member of the SC family, M D Mohammed said a lot of unprintable things about the judiciary, especially, the ‘Kabyesi tendencies’ of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the deliberate sidelining of the Southeast in the national judicial ecosystem.
And just last week, Olisa Agbakoba told the world in the presence of ‘those who are’ in Nigeria of today, that the current SC ( structure, composition and pronouncement) is the worst in the last 45 years; that it has been captured by a mafia and that Nigeria had just suffered legal failure. He was the president of the NBA. Before then, the IPP (immediate past president) of NBA, Bar Olumide Akpata, declared that it is only by accident that the Nigerian judiciary can produce a good judge ( and thus a good judgement). The same last week, Chidi Odinkalu, Justice Waziri and his colleagues of acting with ‘injudicious premeditation and inventing justifications for things that endanger the standing of the judiciary as a deliberative institution constrained by norms of evidence, precedent, logic and institutional self-restraint, the most charitable that one can be about this is to call it judicial overreach. Others inclined to be less charitable will see the Plateau State as the site of a criminal judicial transaction!’ Chidi was referring to the same Plateau State Appeal Court ruling which Shehu Sani had decried as a ‘heist against the will of the people’ and followed it up by describing the bench as ‘the coffin of democracy’
Under this circumstance, I was amused, amazed and amused again when at the 2023 conference of Judges of the Federal High Court, the CJN, a judicial version of the village headmaster ( no be me talk am) cautioned judges against bringing disrepute to the judiciary and tarnishing the image and reputation of the judiciary. Yes; he said so. Does the judiciary have any reputation? Just as you cannot give what you do not have, you also cannot lose what you do not have. Those interested in this line of thought can read up the case in which one BIG lawyer dragged Gani Fawehinmi to court for tarnishing his reputation.
The collateral damage done to the judiciary by the ruling of 26/10 will continue to reverberate. Trust in the judiciary is eroded and corroded. The Judiciary, integrity of public institutions and officials and the integrity of elections are all mortally wounded; voting has been declared as a useless exercise because the courts have kidnapped our democracy and the judicial mafia have abducted the courts, doing with it what Zamfara bandits do to or with their victims as they enthrone and dethrone as it pleases them ( Lasisi Olagunju). Furthermore, the SC is not willing to redeem itself as the judgement in MNKs case has shown. They agreed that kidnap from Kenya was illegal, shameful and an assault on his human rights. They also acknowledged that his escape was to flee from his ‘attempted killers’ . But they ruled that these have no weight; not even enough to attract a compensation, especially as his lawyers did not cite any Nigerian case.
Nigerians now gleefully compare our SC and its operatives with David Maraga, a former CJ of Kenya who overturned Uhuru’s victory in 2017. They see him as ‘a principled man who speaks in unadulterated language devoid of technicalities’ rather than in Nigeria where there is,’ convoluted effort by our judiciary to deliberately find ways to present corrupt and preferred outcomes’
Dino Melaye, who was an “insider before-before”, has decided not to challenge the outcome of the Kogi elections, even though he was convinced of voter register inflation in about 17 local governments. However, he feels challenging the results would be futile, as he believes the courts have become “APC endorsement agencies.” Obi, who was, and obviously remains, disenchanted with the process, has observed that the ruling contradicts overwhelming evidence of rigging, false claims of technical glitches, substantial non-compliance with INEC’s own rules, and even perjury, identity theft, and forgery. Even more appalling, the Supreme Court has deliberately condoned breaches of the constitution regarding established qualifications and parameters for presidential candidates.
With this counter-intuitive judgement, the Supreme Court has transferred a heavy moral burden from the courtroom to the national conscience. The “wailers”, as some call them, will continue to express their discontent, and this is just the beginning of a longer struggle. Meanwhile, others will argue that their complaints are in vain. However, Festus Adedayo, who avoids categorization, has raised crucial questions that deserve serious consideration: “Who is the man atop the Nigerian presidency? Who are his parents, childhood friends, and what was his upbringing like? Where did he attend primary, secondary, and university? Is he a criminal or a serial forger? Based on these facts, can we trust him with the fate of over 200 million Nigerians? Can the world trust him to represent Nigeria?” (Tinubu’s certificate, open society and its enemies, 8/10/23).
These questions cannot be answered in the next few hours and they will not just disappear. That’s why 26/10/13 was not the conclusion of the matter but just the end of its beginning. I rest this case for now! But why were they no wild or even calm jubilations across the length and breath of Nigeria subsequent to the declaration of 26/10/23?
Ik Muo, PhD. Dept of Bus Admin Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye. 0803302662