Following my inability to get out of bed early today, I tossed my books aside, pick up my phone and dashed off to social media. After a while of reading some news feeds (react to some that caught my fancy), I turned on my browser to read Newspapers (online) and blogs (for gossips – base on doctors recommendations). One cannot help but sigh and shake head at the various issues, news and articles published on the numerous newspaper websites this morning. Some were build-up stories of numerous sagas and face-off, while few others are just new to the public domain.
In much grief and concern, I dropped my phone for a while and was lost in thought for some minutes. I was thinking about the ‘state of health of the Aso Villa and her chief occupant’. For three weeks now President Muhammadu Buhari has been absent from several regular meetings which he chairs, official and state functions. He has consecutively missed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings and was not seen last Friday for the Juma’at service – this is quite unusual!
Last week the honorable Minister of (propaganda) Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was quick and ill-advised to informed worried country-men about the health condition of the President. In his words, the “President is fine… he just decides to work from home” – well, being fine is relative. For weeks now (aside from the manage appearance on Tuesday) the President has not been to his office – No one has seen the President in public. It is now clear as day, even ‘the lame in the head’ knows that all is not well or ‘fine’ with our President. It is either the ‘enemy of the state or the beneficiaries of his state of health that will not tell the truth now because no true friends lie to each other- no matter what!
Few Nigerians that have been privileged to either be or work in the Villa knows it take just about 5 minutes for the President to walk from his apartment to his office. So if the Minister was true to his words and we are to believe them, why can’t the ‘fine’ (Healthy) man take just a five minute walk?This calls for serious concern!
Expectedly, the degree of sycophancy in the Villa has been heightened like never before. The enemy of Buhari who portray themselves as friends swoops in day in day out, not to tell him the truth but to secure their interest. The ‘presidency’ is a cabal that is headed by the most powerful man in Aso Rock Mamman Daura, an uncle to President and the controversial Chief of (stay) Staff, Abba Kyari. The cabals that flood the villa know what the stand to gain if Buhari remain in Nigeria, sick or healthy.
The last time Buhari was gone for 59 days they knew what loss they suffered. The power structure shifted from the cabal and some few northern elements to Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. They were temporarily out of job and business as a result of the President’s absence in the villa. So instead of saving this man they would rather let him ‘import the best brains and equipment’ to the villa for treatment – good riddance!
The President is suspected to be suffering from diseases affecting his digestive system which makes him feeble and not active enough for the vigorous workload embedded with the office of the President. These people as against advice of his British doctors frustrated plans to make him travel to complete his treatment abroad. The cabals, who are rather interested in taking the life of the President, orchestrated a cover-up so as to ensure the true state of the President health is kept secret, because if this is made public, Buhari will be advise (if not coerce) to seek medical attention immediately and they will lose grip of power once again.
Few days ago, the overzealous CSO to the President singlehandedlyexpelled the Punch reporter attached to the villa because he was allegedly trying to raise brows on the state of the President’s health. What he failed to know was that, rather than sweeping the matter under the carpet (a routine duty) he raised dust on the issue. The controversy trailing the Punchman exit of the villa made Nigerians more inquisitive as to what this man (CSO) stand to gain if they (Nigerians) don’t know the truth and or what is really the true state of health of our President.Earlier this week, insiders in the presidency hinted SaharaReporters that the President is having serious difficulty in eating and drinking.
“three insiders in the presidency have told SaharaReporters that President Muhammadu Buhari is being fed intravenously as he has had severe difficulty eating and drinking fluids for several days” as published on Sahara Reporters website. Due to this new development, the President is too weak to leave his official residence to attend official functions.
In consonance with my earlier stance, even the ‘lame in the head’ knows that all is not well with the President!
As a result of this development, the cabal comprising of aides, family members and party giants (leaders) has taken up the structure indirectly issuing presidential orders and directives, ensuring their business is alive. Majority of them are now known as the Presidency, which is why the embattled SGF sarcastically quizzed,‘who is the presidency?’
There is nothing to be ashamed of if the President handlers can come out and tell Nigerians the truth; enough with slim-fitted truth. Nigerians handle it quite alright when he left the shores of this country for 59days when they initially told us he went for holiday (the story later changed anyways). There is no crime in falling sick; everyone does at one time or the other. So Nigerians will move on rather than castigate him for taking ill – who don’t fall sick?
It is believed in some quarters that both the polity and the economy fared better when the President was away and the qualified Vice President took on the mantle of leadership. In acting capacity, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo did quite alright; everyone (except the cabals of course!) was impressed by the way he handled the affairs of the country and the way he never kept President Buhari in the dark on issues.
I know the President cannot see or read this, but the (presidency) movers and shakers of the polity can and will. So I advise rather than continue to allow some few privileged Nigerians act in his stead, the President should write to the National Assembly about the state of his health (and be sincere about it), informing them of his plans to travel to seek medical treatment as well as handing over the ‘Presidencyin acting capacity’ to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Let Buhari go and take care of himself. If they truly love him, let them seek ways for him to go abroad to see his doctors and return in due time when he is ‘fine’ – no matter how short or long that may be.
Nigeria needs Buhari now than ever. He has started this reformation he must surely see it to a logical end. Yes! I have my reservations by the process he handled issues but if this man never became the President,all we’ll do is to keep assuming and imagining the kind of mess we are in as a Nation. The world is watching in anticipationof the true change he and his party promised Nigeria about two years ago. He can’t do this on a sick bed or in the hospital, not even indirectly with the help of cronies and cabal. WE NEED OUR PRESIDENT BACK ON HIS FEET.
Asojo Olasunkanmi Samuel is a social commentator, writes from Oyo Town.
Ihedioha: Why Supreme Court May Not Reverse Judgment
By Onyedika Agbedo
The January 14, 2020 judgment of the Supreme Court that nullified the election of Chief Emeka Ihedioha as Imo State governor and declared senator Hope Uzodinma as the winner of March 19, 2019, governorship election has continued to generate agitation for review and possibly, a reversal of the judgment.
Ihedioha’s party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been at the forefront of the advocacy. The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, while addressing a press conference on the judgment two days after it was delivered, said it must be reversed in the interest of justice.
“In the light of extraordinary circumstances that vitiate that judgment as a product manipulation and a clear coup d’etat against the will of the people of Imo State, we demand that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Imo governorship election be reviewed and reversed in the interest of justice,” Secondus has said.
Other eminent Nigerians have spoken in a similar vein. Three days ago, Bishops and other Christian leaders in Imo State under the umbrella of the Concerned Church Leaders Forum (CCLF) raised their voices against the judgment. The clerics, who spoke through the Anglican Bishop of Ohaji/Egbema, Chidi Oparajiaku, said the judgment ran counter to the facts on the ground. They urged the apex court “to review the judgment and serve justice in the overall interest of peace, unity, development and continued survival of democracy in the state and Nigeria in general.”
Also on the same date, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Bishop Emmanuel Olisa Chukwuma, addressed a press conference in Enugu, where he wondered how the Supreme Court Justices arrived at the decision. The cleric even accused the Justices of incompetence.
“I am speaking the minds of some Bishops in the Anglican Church that we are very discontented and disagree with the Supreme Court’s kangaroo judgment in Imo State. We feel disappointed with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) who has not got his facts correct and we feel that that judgment is wicked and corrupt. We call on the Supreme Court to reverse the judgment to avert the wrath of God,” he stated.
Uzodinma had challenged Ihedioha’s victory from the Imo Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal up to the Supreme Court on the ground that he scored the highest number of votes in the election but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned Ihedioha as the governor of the state.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who delivered the judgment of the seven-man panel led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad, declared that the votes due to Uzodinma were unlawfully excluded from 388 polling units and should be added to his votes.
The apex court considered the submissions of a principal witness who was on a subpoena to present results and held that the lower court was wrong in its ruling.
Justice Kekere-Ekun, while reading the lead judgment, declared Uzodinma as the validly elected Governor and ordered that the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha be withdrawn immediately and issued to Uzodinma.
INEC had since obeyed the court order and Uzodinma subsequently sworn-in. He has since continued to steer the affairs of the state.
But with increasing calls for the reversal of the judgment, the question on many lips is: Will the Supreme Court bow to pressure and reverse itself?
Under the doctrine of stare decisis, the Supreme Court is bound by its previous decisions. As such there had been cases where the judgment of the Supreme Court stunned a section of the public but the court didn’t reverse its judgment when approached.
In the case of Ihedioha, a constitutional lawyer in Abuja, Mr. Realwan Okpanachi, has argued that the apex court no longer had the jurisdiction to entertain any application relating to the Imo governorship election, because it had clearly passed the 60 days provided for in the constitution. The lawyer cited Section 285 (7) of the constitution to support his assertion.
Okpanachi, who recently spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said: “Section 285 (7) states that an appeal from a decision of an election tribunal or Court of Appeal in an election matter shall be heard and disposed of within 60 days,” he said.
He added: “The judgment in particular was delivered by the Court of Appeal before November 20, 2019. The appeal by Uzodinma was filed around November 20, 2019, and that is to say that the judgment was passed before November 20, 2019.
“When you calculate from November 20, 2019 till date, it clearly shows that it is above 60 days,” Okpanachi said.
According to the lawyer, the Supreme Court cannot entertain, hear, determine any appeal or application connected with that election appeal.
“The judgment, as it is, is binding, conclusive and cannot be set aside, reversed or touched by any person, including the Supreme Court itself. The Supreme Court is the apex court; the highest court in Nigeria and its decision, by virtue of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is final. Therefore, its decision is not subject to any other authority or persons,” Okpanachi said
Okpanachi was right as existing precedents show. On November 2, 2009, Supreme Court dismissed Celestine Omehia’s application seeking for review of its judgment of October 25, 2007, which removed him and declared Rotimi Amaechi as the governor of River State. Amaechi won Rivers State PDP governorship primary in December 2006 but was substituted with Omehia. Early in 2007, Amaechi filed a suit challenging his substitution against the April 14, 2007 elections. The Court held that Amaechi was wrongly substituted with Omehia by PDP and that in the eyes of the law, Amaechi who didn’t contest the election was at all times the legal candidate of PDP at the elections, and proceeded to declare him as Governor of Rivers State.
But Omehia re-appealed saying the apex court made a mistake, arguing that the judgment contradicted some provisions of the 1999 Constitution. But the seven-man panel led by Justice Alloysius Kastina-Alu described the suit as frivolous and an act of judicial rascality. They accordingly dismissed the case with N100,000 cost, saying even if it was a mistake, the apex court has a right to make a mistake.
They insisted that Amaechi remained the legitimate governor and that the decision was final regardless of whether it was rightly or wrongly entered.
The Supreme Court Justices Katsina-Alu had urged anybody aggrieved by the court’s decision to appeal to heaven where God Almighty reigns supreme and not in Nigeria where they held sway, adding that “only God can reverse the October 25, 2007 verdict.”
Also, on May 24, 2019, the Supreme Court nullified the elections of all the candidates of the APC in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections. Delivering a unanimous judgment of the five-man panel led by then Acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the apex court declared the first runners-up in the 2019 general elections in the state as the winners of all the posts earlier declared to have been won by the APC and its candidates.
Justice Paul Galinje, who read the lead judgment, upheld the decision of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal to the effect that the APC did not conduct any valid primary election and as such had no candidate for any of the elections in the state. He described the votes polled by the APC candidates in the elections as wasted. He then ordered that the party and the candidates with the second highest votes and the spread in the various elections were the valid winners. With that, the APC lost the 36 elective positions comprising the governorship, deputy governorship, three senatorial, seven House of Representatives and 24 state House of Assembly seats to the PDP.
After reviewing the judgment, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, described it as a national tragedy. In a statement, the distinguished legal scholar and human rights activist had raised many posers for the Supreme Court while also urging the APC to approach the court for a review of the judgment.
He said: “By this judgment, the landslide APC victories in the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections are transferred to the PDP.
“If the APC primaries were defective, should the electorate be deprived of their democratic and constitutional rights to vote? Is the electorate to be punished for the transgressions of party officials? Should the judiciary replace the electorate’s decision and install losers in office? Could the judiciary not have drawn on the deep recesses of its intellectual capacity, authority and its inexorable commitment to justice, to prevent this undemocratic calamity? Can the APC officials not be punished, for their lapses without denying the electorate their democratic rights? Should the judiciary take over the electoral rights of the electorate? Is this not a clear case of technical law completely overthrowing justice?
“Have the members of the Supreme Court not achieved a level of creativity and authority to provide a solution without burying democracy and taking over from the registered voters as the judicial electorate? If this judgment had been an international one, it could have been described as ‘shocking the conscience of humanity.’ In this case, it shocks the conscience of Nigerian humanity… I advise the APC legal team to apply for a review of the two judgments. Their Lordships ought to be given an opportunity to reverse this unprecedented tragedy.
The ruling party heeded his advise and filed an application asking the Supreme Court to review the judgment. But the Court threw away the appeal. Justice Rhodes-Vivour in his lead judgment held that the application was incompetent and time-barred, adding that the court had no jurisdiction in the matter.
“The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the matter because anything that has to do with pre-election matter must be brought within 60 days after a decision had been delivered,” he said.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour further held that the consequential orders made were part and parcel of the pre-election matter and it was an abuse asking the apex court to review its judgment or orders.
“We don’t seat on appeal over our own decision. We have no jurisdiction over this matter,” he said.
Looking at the law and the above precedents, calls for the reversal of the Supreme Court judgment on the Imo State governorship election may not serve any purpose other than warming the political space. But it remains to be seen the path the Justices of the apex court would toe this time around.
Is President Buhari Mismanaging Nigeria?
By abiodun KOMOLAFE
It bears repeating that Nigeria’s continued existence will be at risk if the rich and the wealthy are not receptive to the clear warning of anger and poverty-induced disillusionments in the land.
First, Aisha Buhari’s warning that most of Nigeria’s leaders, “as a result of a long time of injustice done to” the mass of the people, “cannot go to” their “villages and sleep with” their “two eyes closed” is an indication that governance in Nigeria has failed; nothing is working! Her passionate plea to Muhamadu, her husband; and those working with him to “fear God, and … know that, one day, we will all return to God and account for our deeds here on earth” paints a clear picture of how the application or implementation of policy recommendations and remedies of the Buhari-led government have so far fared! Of course, that’s the wife of the sitting president of Nigeria, questioning the relevance, effectiveness or efficiency of Public Administration through government policy directives and their implementations. This is the question on the minds of the common man and woman on the street!
If reports from across Nigeria are also anything to go by, then, one can safely say that the man in the saddle as governor of Oyo State is a very likable person! No sooner had he mounted the saddle of governance than he started doing what truly portrayed him as not only being in charge but also as one helmsman who understands why he was elected to govern the over-6 million-strong population. And, within a few months in office, Seyi Makinde has demonstrated that strategic governance does not reside in building an empire or throwing money around but in building a team and being pragmatic in allocating resources to where they are needed most, in the most appropriate manner! He has proved that responsible leadership is not about the administration of an enclave. Rather, it is about the efficient management of the institution of the state; not even a public institution, because public institutions are located within the institution of the state.
Makinde won the election, not because the then ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state didn’t have laudable ideas but because its handlers were so full of themselves that they didn’t know how to sell those ideas to the electorate. GSM, as he is fondly called by his admirers, has therefore shown that it could happen anywhere! Go to Oyo now: the state is working and the people are happy! Makinde loves his people and his people appreciate him in return! While drawing inspirations from successful countries like Japan, which attained greatness through focus “on intellectual development”, the governor attributed the scourge of poverty in Nigeria to leadership failure. He insisted that “how we organize ourselves and how we utilize our God-given “natural resources” is the only thing that can “take us out of poverty.”
The foregoing painted, in graphic relief, the unfolding-yet-foreboding cataclysmic nature of Nigeria’s fragile democracy. Even, the aristocratic Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, for the first time, saw poverty in its garnished form when he bluntly called for a paradigmatic shift in our applied economic theories, and an overhaul of our public administration system.
The perception of many Nigerians today is that, once the president reels out favourable policy statements, promises and intentions of government (that may never be delivered), government goes to sleep and everybody is on his or her own. Whether or not God be for us all, henceforth, is entirely a different story! For instance, the president promised on assumption of office to recover all Chibok and other Nigerians from Boko Haram’s captivity but, unfortunately, the story, as we speak, has gone from bad to worse. Years on, the Leah Sharibus of Nigeria have been languishing in the terrorists’ den for being who they are. The Emir of Potiskum, Umaru Bubaram Bauya, recently escaped death by the whiskers; and that was after no fewer than four members of his entourage had been brutally murdered by the marauders. More Nigerians are being beheaded. Then, and, as always, provocative, medicine-after-death, ‘all whip, no hay’ Press Statements from the Presidency that is obviously far removed from the people would follow!
So, where do we go from here, because it appears as if effective governance has taken flight? As things stand, politicians are just muddling through! Our policies are neither working nor pragmatic. So, nobody is sure of anything! Like laboratory rats, useful only for experiments, failure to source a creative distance from where we currently pitch our tent, in addition to poor welfare that is painfully customized to suit poverty in our country, has stolen the common man’s heart. So also, the crestfallen status of the Rule of Law and its negative essence has become more palpable in Nigeria’s socio-political firmament. Is it any wonder then why “we have abundance of” natural resources that are still being wasted”?
Staying with the philosophy of nationhood, that Buhari’s erstwhile persuasive ‘body language’ has failed Nigerians says a lot about the conspicuous challenges of the Nigerian state as a chronically ill society with patronage, patrimony and preference. Available indices are also unhelpful! For instance, Nigeria’s economy is projected to “have a suppressed economic performance at around 2% by 2020”, due, primarily, to government’s failure “to fix structural constraints.” And, unless bold steps are taken to address, especially, the “pace of growth and job creation”, the number of Nigerians stuck in poverty is also most likely to account “for a quarter of all people living in extreme poverty worldwide.” Evidence before the world has shown that Nigeria’s security architecture has collapsed. It is even being alleged in some quarters that we are using anticorruption to incentivize corruption. Is it any surprise why there is no war in Nigeria but there is also no peace; why motion is in excess supply while movement is in wanton scarcity?
Again, what happened and where did we go wrong? Why are our leaders engaging in ‘Marlian’ rigmaroles in ways that do not offer us a valuable anchor to believe that they understand even the basic socioeconomic issues that have unfortunately become existential threats to our unity? What are the roles of Nigeria’s Ahitophels and political janjaweeds, whose counsels are never destined to yield to persuasion or dialogue, in all of these? Above all, when last did we feel safe in Nigeria, irrespective of the differences in governments and administrations over the years?
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
~KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria. He can be reached via email: email@example.com
Amotekun, Miyetti Allah And That Channels Tv Outing
By Charles Ogbu
There are things I read or hear that leave me wondering whether to pause and die laughing or die crying. The yesterday’s Channels TV interview where Miyetti Allah tried to cause a wedge between Ndigbo and the Yoruba is one of such things.
That a man who, in the 21st century 2020, still goes about trekking with cows all over the bushes in the country, sleeps (as in have sexual intercourse) with those cows as we’ve seen on videos, butcher innocent men, women and children in their sleep just so these cows can graze on the ancestral land of the deceased, a man whose part of the country has the highest number of out of school children (12million), worst poverty rate, highest maternal mortality rate, highest illiteracy rate and the presence of two terrorist groups – Boko Haram and the killer herdsmen – once adjudged the deadliest and fourth deadliest terror group respectively by the Global Terror Index; plus a gang of rampaging bandits which has taken over most part of his own part of the country, a man whose terror group butchers women and children in their sleep and comes on TV to admit responsibility for the killings…….. That such a man will come on National TV to use the term “primitive” on a people who had seen civilization long before his own progenitor left his mother’s womb should get every reasonable person drunk with laughter. Mirthless laughter, I mean.
Let us even look at the politics of the Arewas. What is there to emulate from a people who specializes in using gory displays of violence and mindless festival of blood to acquire and wield political power?
And to prove that the tired, worn-out, out of use analogue divide and rule tactic is the only thing they are good at, he tries to divide Southern consensus in support of Amotekun by reminding Ndigbo that during the last general election, they were stopped from voting their conscience in parts of Lagos by the Yorubas. He would have been right except he was wrong. The Yorubas never stopped Ndigbo from voting in any part of Lagos. It was Bola Tinubu and his APC thugs who stopped Ndigbo from voting in some part of Lagos. Tinubu is an individual Yoruba politician whose action CANNOT be blamed on the Yorubas. So the Miyetti Allah man should look for another card to play. This one don fail yakata.
Again, he reminds Ndigbo that a certain Yoruba Oba threatened to drown them in the Lagoon. True, he was right. The Oba made the threat which of course, wasn’t carried out. Now let us assume that threat was made against Ndigbo by an assistant to an assistant to an Emir, would it have ended up an empty threat?????? Your guess is as good as mine.
We know the people who have value for human lives and we know those who are deaf, dumb and blind to the sanctity of human lives. We know the people who started spilling our blood for as far back as 1945 when Nigeria hasn’t even gained her independence and has continued up to this moment.
Now, let us even come down to the main topic; AMOTEKUN.
Below are some questions that not only require but demand answers:
Why is the Arewa North jittery that a section of the country has decided to set up an unarmed intelligence gathering regional security outfit? Why is the govt using Miyetti Allah as front to oppose Amotekun? Is this a confirmation that this group whose members are responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Nigeria is the militia wing of the Buhari led govt? Why does Channel TV keep inviting Miyetti Allah – a fulani group – to come and discuss Amotekun – a Yoruba Regional Security?
I do not have answer to any of the above questions but I do know one thing for a fact; as long as the Muhammadu Buhari govt continues to engage in an unholy intercourse with the terrorist group who butcher innocent Nigerians just so their cows can feed, as long as it is okay to have armed civilian JTF and Hisbah police in the North, as long as the Nigerian security agencies controlled by the Fulanis continue to collude with the herdsmen who kill, maim and rape innocent Nigerians and take over their land for their cows, there will continue to be AMOTEKUN, not only in the West but in the entire non-Caliphate rest of the country.
A govt that refuses to protect her citizens from a well known terror group with an ethno-religious agenda has no right to stop them from protecting themselves.
Those who think AMOTEKUN is about the Yorubas need to think again. It is about all of us. It is about our inalienable right to live as free humans without being butchered in our sleep and our lands taken over by a bunch of terrorists operating with govt sponsored impunity.
~ Charles Ogbu is a socio-political Analyst and good governance advocate.