• Sunday, March 03, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

The practice of ‘courtocracy’: We ain’t seen nothing yet!

The practice of ‘courtocracy’: We ain’t seen nothing yet!

Four months ago, I deepened and broadened the concept of COURTocracy and described it rightly as the final stage of Nigeria’s Democracy (BusinesDay,25/5/23; https://muoigbo.blogspot.com/2023/05/courtocracy-final-stage-og-nigerias.html ). The tsunami from Tsammani et al on 6/9/23, the longest judgement in Nigeria’s judicial history, which was so exciting that it cast a sleeping spell on the audience, including the SANS and petitioners, has overshadowed the happenings in the ‘lower’ realms. But all in all, it is COURTocracy in practice and as a full spirit and full man, I assure all of us that we haven’t seen anything yet; it is just morning on creation day. All the parties have tasted the sour grapes of COURTocracy and this has led to the strange scenario in which people rejoicing on some judgements are also agonising over some judgements, and most often, those judgements were based on the same grounds. It is the typical osondi-owendi moment (apologies to the legendary Osita Osadebe), and in tandem with the Wikerian hit: ‘as e de sweet us, e de pain dem’( also in reverse)! And for both those who are celebrating and those who are weeping, the judicial system is either the best thing that happened since creation or the worst thing that happened since the creation of hell or indeed, since the creation of the current genre of African Leaders.

Read also: PDP faults Tinubu’s legal team claim on PEPC judgment

On the lower realms, the star case for COURTocracy is that of Plateau State where ALL the candidates elected on the platform of PDP were axed because the Party was not eligible to sponsor candidates for the election. This is consequent to their disobedience of a court order on the constitution of their executives and as such, the primaries were conducted by a fake executive committee. In 2019, it was the turn of APC in Zamfara State to kiss the dust due to impunity; today it is the turn of PDP in Plateau. But in tandem with the principles of COURTocracy, we have not heard the last of this. In my award-winning treatise on the theory of COURTocracy, I had argued that the advent and maturity of COURTocracy was ‘because of failure of political parties, politicians, and candidates to abide by the rules of the election at the party or general election levels, and the constitution of Nigeria because of impunity facilitated by disdain for internal democracy, money solves ALL problems mentality, and avalanche godfathers in high places. My prophetic credentials have been extolled once again, though sadly, this does not provide money for fuel. The court has also bloodied the nose of APC in Kogi State by upholding Natasha of PDP as the winner. This is a special case because of the names involved and the desperate strategies deployed by Yahaya Bello to checkmate the beautiful damsel. In Abia State, the LP household ( 2 people tweeting or X-ing from a room)lost 3 House of Reps members. Sure, in tandem with the dictates of the latest political philosophy in town, ‘The court has become the institution of first resort. They do not just determine who wins, they also determine who contests and they anoint and de-anoint contestants and candidates, and even the winners, with reckless abandon!

Read also: Debunking the PEPC’s exhibit PA5 controversy

To many, there were no surprises in the PEPT judgments because of the highhandedness with which this administration decapacitated mere billboards( All eyes on the Judiciary), the inglorious and patronising utterances by Mary Odili, the threat by DSS, the militarisation of Abuja, the prophecy by Pst. Kumuyi that God would redeem Nigeria through BATiocracy and the unsought advice by Pst. Adefarasin that it was time to move on. However, back to the historical September 6 judgement I start by declaring upfront that I am not learned even though I am educated and have taught many lawyers. My knowledge of law is limited to the courses in commercial, business or mercantile law, which I took at ABU Zaria and the Chartered Institute of Bankers (London/Nigeria) examinations. The PEPT knocked out all the reliefs( I hope I got it right) sought by the petitioners, accused the litigants of shoddy preparations, rejected most of the witnesses, and bad-mouthed the opposition lawyers, including the very senior ones.

As I just admitted, ‘I no be loya’. However, I went into ‘confused confusion’ when I saw the comments from many learned folks on the judgement as well as the implications of the judgement going forward. Atiku called the judgement a mockery of justice; PO saw it as a travesty of justice, The chief BATist described it as a win for democracy but Apapa( you still remember him) gladly welcomed the judgement. Robert Clarke, it is the best judgement so far but got me confused later when he averred that judgements are based on law, not on facts. Osimbajo, who has since gone off the radar described the same judgement as a great victory for constitutional democracy. My good friend. Liboros Oshoma declared unequivocally that judgements are based on facts, not sentiments and that the Supreme Court would not say anything different but Nwokobia accused the judges of descending into the Arena of conflict and acting as lawyers for APC, Tinubu and High-Neck. Monday Ubani declared that the ruling on subpoenaed witnesses would make it IMPOSSIBLE for any legal electoral challenge to succeed while Kenneth Andy Okonkwo saw the 800pp document as being contrary to law and reason!

Read also: How INEC coned Nigerians on BVAS, IREV

The Common Sense Senator Murray Bruce believed that it would be selfish of Obi and Atiku to pursue the case further while Reno Omokiri said Obi would never smell Aso-Rock as long as he lived. For the Big Tent, it was an alarming judgement that displayed scant regard for the law but PANDEF went to the extent of demanding apologies from the litigants because of their shoddy showing at the PEPT. Paul Onwubiko was alarmed that the judgement had created the impression that the law was invented and designed to favour hardened criminals and encourage criminal mindset and satanic logic. Sonnie Ekwuwosi saw it as an iniquitous and vulcanised judgement and acting like hired assassins. Casmir Igbokwe on the other hand described it as a judicial coup that depended on technicalities, which the lead-judge warned against, and sustained a wobbling democracy! Me? I no say anything!

Sure, it was different strokes for different folks but the greatest challenge is the implication for elections, electoral petitions and governance going forward. Now, the Abujarians( indigenes of Abuja) are rumoured to be preparing to ‘go to court’ to assert their rights to inter alia elect their governors, 3 Senators, and Reps and erect a State Assembly! So how do people obtain justice where electorates are openly threatened and the threat enforced, heads and limbs are broken, results mutilated, polling units attacked, votes openly bought, and power acquired by people who snatch and run with it? How Possible is it for a petitioner to produce 176974 witnesses from the various PUs across the country? What should people and political parties do when security and INEC officials brazenly become agents of political parties? Has the Nigerian constitution turned a blind eye to issues of character, integrity, perjury, forgeries, drug-related offences, and double citizenship and how can it be ruled that a legal infraction was of no effect because it was unintentional? How can people forced by the Tribunal to give witnesses be expected to provide their evidence on oath within 21 days, when they might not even been subpoenaed by then? What kind of society are we building when government agencies refuse to abide by guidelines, which they had voluntarily issued and promoted? Funny enough, some matters are determined on the basis of the guideline while in some cases, the guidelines are of no effect! And INEC is not bound to prove that it did the right thing while the person so-declared is also not bound to prove that it won. That was why INEC acted like a thief in the night( Mt, 24:42+) by declaring results while we slept( Mt,13:24+) and the winner’s sing-song became GO To Court.

Read also: Tribunal verdict: Future elections at risk as citizens may rethink participation

INEC has also wasted a princely sum of N300bn spent on technology and against all common and uncommon sense, taken us back to days of manual operations even when its offices are automated! Will the courts, which have been declared as the last hope of the common man, ever offer justice, including in electoral matters, to the poor? The confidence and trust in the judiciary suffer a serious dent and people either bear the violation of their rights with equanimity or resort to self-help, none of which is good. And in all these matters, the lawyers( certainly) and the judges( probably) and their agents are the winners!

As I concluded 4 months ago, what is the purpose of our voting when the judiciary determines the eventual winners? I have therefore designed this ingenious method of optimising COURtocracy in which people should just declare themselves as occupants of the given position and file the declaration with the appropriate court. Others will do the same and the courts will then determine the authentic occupant of the position, which will depend on the wizardry and witchery of the lawyers, the band of bloodthirsty roughnecks under their command, the connection with the judges and the depth of the pocket of the various contestants. The whole amount of cash, time and emotional investment invested in elections will thus be saved

Well, we have moved from the theory to the practice of Courtocracy and as long as my name remains Ik Muo, I promise you: You ain’t seen nothing yet!