The People Erred

By Ikenga Chronicles February 15, 2020

The People Erred

— By Iloh Friday Okechukwu

When the American president, Trump referred to our country, Nigeria as a shithole, a lot of us, perhaps fuelled by patriotism, as Nd’igbo would say, removed our hairs and chewed them, in anger. Trump’s remarks may have been derogatory, but it may not be totally wide off the mark. The Yorubas would say, that it is a gourd that would point to where a rope should be affixed to it. Our behaviours could be at variance with conduct expected of a civilised society.

Some hours to the swearing in of the governor-elect and deputy governor elect of Bayelsa state of Nigeria, the country’s ultimate court, the Supreme Court unanimously annulled the said electoral victory. Thus, the candidate of the party with the highest number of votes, the PDP was declared winner, and was subsequently sworn in as governor and deputy governor. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

The people of Bayelsa, as the saying goes, have removed their hairs and chewed it, saying that they would not hear of the court judgment; that they had been short changed, robbed of their beloved governor elect and deputy governor elect. It is needed to state here that the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of a lower court that found forgery of certficate against the deputy governor elect; and, by our law, both the governorship aspirant and the running mate are jointly flying the flag of their political party at the poll, in political diction, they hold joint ticket, and like an inseparable siamese twin, no political or judicial surgery could separate on the issue of their candidacy; either they are both afloat or are both drowned. On the basis of the deputy governor elect being found to be derelict, he and the governor elect, were jointly declared invalid for purpose of standing for the election that they won.

I’m yet to read the judgment of the court on the disqualification of the governor elect and his deputy governor elect. However, from crumbs here and there, I’m of the humble view that the said judgment is as straight as a ruler, sound, logical and sweet. Just like the Imo state case that torpedoed the victory of Ikpeazu.

Some people have been pelting the Supreme Court with pellets, of how it has been subverting the will of the electorate, etc; everyone is a lawyer these days! What’s actually their grouse? Is it that the court should have allowed a criminal, a forger, a felon, to have assumed the mantle of leadership? Is it that the Supreme court applied the law wrongly by saying that what affected the deputy governor, ipso facto, by the doctrine of joint ticket, affected the governor elect, too? Or, is it that the deputy governor elect, against the findings of the court, did not forge the said certificate as alleged?

Those who are rued in Bayelsa are really preaching nonsense with confidence. The Supreme court saved them from being ruined (not ruled) by a criminal, yes, a common criminal, for that matter. If anything, the court deserves accolades, not scorn.

I sympathise with the people of Bayelsa, that the party, of which candidates they voted for, put the wrong foot forward, by showcasing coronavirus-ed candidates. But they must appreciate the fact that their right to elect persons of their choice to positions IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE LAND. Rights are legal interests created and protected by the law. It is not unlikely that some people within the party may have objected to the candidacy of the deputy governor elect, arising from the blighted academic record. The greater and influential number of party members probably said, this is Nigeria, “nothing dey happen”. And now, many things have happened! Dear Bayelsans, sit down, think and thank God that the court shoved off from you an imminent disaster. Your choice were tainted with criminality, and thanks to God, a vigilant court spotted it, and removed the hand of the monkey from the soup pot before it becomes a human hand.

What should be of paramount concern to everyone of good conscience, is the prosecution of the criminal, the forger, the purported governor elect. He should be prosecuted accordingly. But I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing happens.

We should devoutly know and appreciate that our democracy cannot grow, if citizens with perverted and criminal behaviours waggled their way into positions of power. To those who call the shot in political parties, this is a demonstration that tide may have turned for the better.

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