Policy & Governance

Why Nigerians think judiciary won’t deliver on fraudulent poll, By Lanre Adewole

In human history, about 195 aircraft and those onboard, have been recorded irrecoverably missing, despite the best efforts to find them. The first ever, in aviation history, is Ville de Paris, which disappeared around North Atlantic Ocean, with its pilot, Matias Perez on June 28, 1856. A Cuban coinage; Voló como Matías Pérez (meaning “He flew like Matias Perez”) is now commonly used, to emphasize the situation of a missing person or object. The mystery, deepened on July 28, 1938 when 15 passengers disappeared with Hawai Clipper (Martin M-130) NC14714, around the North Pacific Ocean. Bodies weren’t recovered.


Then, came the 1965 Argentine Air Force Douglas C-54 disappearance with 68 souls! Though engine fire was fingered as the problem, the airplane and bodies were also never recovered, despite 25 lifebuoys and personal belongings being found in Bocas del Toro Archipelago.


Then, the most poignant, in human history. On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO) simply went out of sight with 239 human beings! While most evidence suggested that the plane went down in the Indian Ocean west of Australia and some debris purportedly recovered, both plane and ALL the human beings, dead or alive, were never recovered! How either the skies, oceans or land, simply opened and swallowed up 239 souls, is a mystery that will continue to get the world scratching its head as the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of epic proportion approaches next year.


As depressing as these tragedies are, the reality is that they happened, have been happening and may likely still happen, though the prayer is that they never happen again. So, when Ecclesiastes 1:9, talks about nothing being new under the sun, the Word of God isn’t only factual and realistic, but completely certain that practically everything that should happen to and for humanity, will, at a certain point in time.


The great and wise King, Solomon, went on, in Ecclesiastes 3, to speak about time and season and how chance happens to them all, with Daniel 2: 22, settling it, by reminding all, that the absolute Controller of times and seasons, is the God of heaven, who rules in the affairs of men and directs the hearts of kings. There have been events in human affairs, that even the recklessly optimistic, would have believed impossible. Things absolute cynics would have written off, had also happened and the world didn’t collapse. In fact, going by Revelation 21:1, no event in human existence, would stop the world from existing, until the heaven and the earth, would on their own, by the decree of the One who made them, pass away, to be replaced by newer models.


On July 7, 1998, when M.K.O Abiola passed, I dropped tears for the one I never met. His wealth, philanthropic gestures and outsized media reports of his human management capacity, vast foreign networks, immense business ingenuity as well as the legend of his grass-to-grace life story, all, bonded to give a mystic representation of him. Then, Nigerians across ethnic divides flocked to his SDP ticket like a beehive, helping him, to trounce his opponent in his Kano backyard. Then, he died, amid greater expectation that a man of capacity was coming to lead the country. A lot of people thought Nigeria would not survive the blowback of him, dying in the gulag of a Northern military junta. Yes, there were cataclysmic events, but humanity and Nigeria, survived and still standing, almost 25 years after.


January 28, 1856 may sound ancient now, but humanity was sufficiently modern, for a human being to disappear in a mini aircraft without a trace till date. Science of that time, would have ruled it impossible before that momentous point in history. Then, despite the accelerated and unbelievable progress of science and technology, almost 200 of such incidents had happened, up till the 21st century of Wifi, Mifi and all Fi(s), including the horrendous disappearance of 2014. That must have been the biggest technology-shaming event, before Covid came and worst science, like never seen before.


Author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series, American motivational speaker, corporate trainer and entrepreneur, Jack Canfield says of change, “it is inevitable in life. You can either resist it and potentially get run over by it, or you can choose to cooperate with it, adopt to it, and learn how to benefit from it. When you embrace change you will begin to see it as an opportunity for growth”.


2023 poll has shown that if Nigeria keeps conducting fraudulent elections as it has been doing since 1999, and the Judiciary keeps putting a seal on them, something grievous is bound to happen, way very, very, soon.


In fact, if the just-concluded elections, at the national and state levels, get the usual pass mark from the Judiciary, the next general election will definitely be the bloodiest in history, because the signal would have been unmistakably communicated that how it works, is; win anyhow on the field and receive a judicial stamp here, in the court room. That is if there isn’t a bloody revolution before then.


That is why whoever is coming in as president should be very careful with fuel subsidy. I have listened to those who wanted to be president, talk tough about it. In fact, one, dared the people, to fight it. The current mood of the nation, requires tact, in policy management. Sudan descended into chaos when it was thought, to have turned the corner, for the straight walk, into nationhood. The fragile peace in Nigeria today, is all because of the Judiciary and the anticipation it would do justice, though countless Nigerians are very, very skeptical of concrete outcomes, that would match their yearnings.


The widespread skepticism isn’t without foundation. Even the 2007 poll, described by the ultimate beneficiary; now-late President Umaru Yar’Adua, as flawed, was still upheld by the men and women of wig, by a slim margin.


One would have thought that a confessional statement, would be enough for conviction. But four justices of the Supreme Court felt otherwise and kept the President in office till his passing. While the apex court split over the 2007 presidential poll, the panel of the Court of Appeal, serving as the Presidential Election Tribunal, on February 26, 2008, led by Justice James Ogebe, simply dismissed the case of Candidate Buhari.


Before Ogebe, now retired, is slammed as a rogue judge, it should be noted he was also at the forefront of quashing the impeachments of Peter Obi as Anambra governor, Rasheed Ladoja as Oyo governor and Joshua Dariye as Plateau governor. Before then, no impeached governor had ever been returned to office.


I have heard concerns about the country dissolving into anarchy if presidential election is unprecedentedly annulled, victory overturned or a new winner, is named by the apex court. If an election was conducted in anarchy, as nationally witnessed during the last poll, refusal of the Judiciary to toe the old line, can only be a fresh breath. Judiciary will either be saving the country or placing it on the permanent path of killings, blood and sorrow, at every election cycle. That is the choice before ‘Me Lords’.


(Sunday Tribune)


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