FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, August 23, 2019
[email protected]
New York, USA
IN THE MATTER OF ATIKU VERSUS BUHARI:
WHEN THE COURTS MUST MAKE HISTORY AND RESTORE HONOR TO AN OPPRESSED NIGERIA JUDICIAL SYSTEM

n any plausible democratic process free and fair elections remain the most viable recourse through which the people are empowered to keep politicians in check or hold them accountable in their consumed excesses. A successful democratic process, among other attributes is characterized by efficient electoral process, which dependably provides an enabling environment for growth and positive development of society and government. This is only made possible when responsible administrative and coordinating umpires guarantee competent, transparent, and impartial service to the people. Indeed, to abide by the concept of democratic principles is to respect the will and opinion of the people. Unfortunately, the Nigerian factor has systematically vandalized this concept and consistently threatened the essence of democracy, voters’ right and the fundamental purpose of human existence.

There is no doubt that this reprehensible act of bad mannerism and bad motive is entirely answerable to the collapse of the First, Second and Third Republics.

Pointedly, the last presidential election of February 2019 recorded the worst massive fraud in Nigerian election history; and more so the prime opposition party claims that President Buhari does not possess the basic academic qualifications to meet eligibility requirements for the position of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In pursuit of these allegations, the Peoples Democratic Party, and presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the matter of Atiku versus Buhari, has challenged the election results at the Election Tribunals with a plethora of evidence, facts and witnesses.

The image of a nation is closely mirrored by her judicial system in that the standard set by a judicial system is often cited in international jurisprudence and is a tribute to the men and women who have laid an exemplary foundation in pursuit of the truth no matter where that search leads to.

Indeed, there are three incontrovertible aspects to the law of any nation:

  1. It is blind, and no respecter of persons. In other words, no one is above the law

  2. It seeks to unmask the truth at all times.

  3. It is fair and just, and gives equal opportunity to all, regardless of gender, race, creed, religion or socio-economic status.

In any constitutional democracy the role of the judges are bound by transparency, reason-based decision, protection of the rule of law, protection of the constitution, and interpretation of the laws.

In the words of Alexander Hamilton, the courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body.

This explains that the fundamental duty of the judge is to always state without equivocation, what the law is, not what the judge may wish it to be.

Courts must make conscious and principled efforts not to be tempted into making partial, arbitrary or discretionary decisions, rather to consistently insist on strict rules and precedents. This is consistent with the abiding principle that the key feature of judiciary in a democracy is its complete independence from government, with non-political judges who must be neutral in order to be legal.

It is against this background, and even more so that the necessity of the critical role of the apex court’s potential judgment on this matter has become imperative

The Judiciary as the third component of a Presidential System of government plays the critical role of interpreting the laws of the land as stipulated in the constitution and also following precedence as enshrined in the concept of stare decisis.

A departure from this practice is an affront to the State and a big blow on the equilibrium of balance of power.

In a situation where the Executive arm of government has overplayed its hands, and donned the garb of dictatorial lunacy; and where the Legislature has abandoned ship and thrown in the towel with respect to her oversight responsibilities, the nation’s hope rests squarely on the men and women who wear the black robe. And they must not fail. And they must not fumble. And they must not be coerced nor cordoned. For they must invoke the maxim of “Let right be done”. For they must speak truth to power. For they must not permit monetary and mortal gains to cloud their sense of duty to a nation crying for help and rescue from the jaws of Armageddon.

If hands must speak, then the sword of Damocles may fall on the High and mighty, especially those who have trampled on the poor and helpless. And the full weight of justice must fall upon those who have turned this nation into a personal transaction and have blood in their hands.

It is our collective prayer that the wisdom of our Ancestors be awakened in the hearts of these Jurists as they deliberate the matter of Atiku versus Buhari in the coming days.

In this prayer and fasting period Nigerians today, call upon the God of Elijah to send down fire and ignite the hearts and souls of these Jurists, that they may speak in tongues and render a just verdict and restore regular order to our body polity.

For Nigeria is at the brink of collapse, and at the brink of anarchy nurtured and fueled by religious intolerance, ethnic discomfort, and human degradation at an atavistic level.

Our survival as a nation depends on whether the Judiciary, now at the wheel, will rise to the occasion, and steer the Nigeria ship away from the Hurricane building up crescendo in these coming days. The tide is fast rising and closing in on our shores and only an Atiku –led government can stand guard as an able levee to prevent a catastrophe of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina from overwhelming this nation.

For it is only truth that can sustain the life and integrity of the aforementioned levy. This truth is engraved in the summation of the legal luminaries who would have stood toe to toe against all the king’s men, against a back drop of arm twisting, open and covert intimidation using apparatus of State, and sundry subterranean maneuvers.

A unanimous vote for Atiku by the Tribunal and affirmed by the Apex court is a vote to restore peace to war-torn Nigeria, where Human lives are lost by the hour following the daily pogrom unleashed by armed and dangerous Militia and Herdsmen who are aided and abated by the ominous silence of the current administration.

A unanimous vote for Atiku by the Tribunal and affirmed by the Supreme Court is a vote of no confidence on President Buhari who has abdicated his responsibility at a time of national crisis and failed to address the nation on what is now a clear state of emergency, and failed to initiate any immediate and drastic measures to mitigate this crisis.

The protracted silence of Aso Rock on the matters arising can only lead to one logical conclusion: And that is Nigeria now operates with a leadership vacuum.

As a matter of fact, there can be no moratorium on national security when precious lives are lost every hour and the powers that be look the other way. The failure of the President to come to open television and reflect with the country on these trying times and the way forward suggests that the President is incapacitated and is being shielded from public scrutiny by an inglorious kitchen cabinet for who personal aggrandizement supersedes love of country. This alone amounts to a breach of the constitution and calls for the current cabinet to invoke section 144 of the Constitution to stem the tide of our national decline. However, the reductio ad absurdum is that section 144 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is merely a toothless bulldog. It has a bark but no bite. Section144 will require the APC Cabinet members to make a declaration that Mr. President can no longer discharge the responsibilities of his Office by virtue of physical and /or mental infirmity.

This is akin to believing that the Birnam Wood will move to Dunsinane Hill.

Furthermore, a unanimous Vote for Atiku by the Tribunal and affirmed by the Apex Court will restore international confidence in Nigeria Jurisprudence, and elevate our Law Faculties to institutions of excellence. It will restore honor and dignity to one of Nigeria’s most averred Institutions, and reestablish her membership status at the apogee of world legal encyclopedia.

The Men and Women, who don the black robe may be numerically poor financially, but not morally bankrupt.

Their decision in the Matter of Atiku versus Buhari is a litmus test on the integrity of our judicial system and on the power of probity over privatism. Their decision will have far-reaching consequences, extending to the frontiers of Africa and beyond.

Indeed, in years to come when history will revisit today, the lingering question will be whether Africa was able to right itself, and check her excesses.

Will that day come when voices of dissent will fill the echo in the room, settling for what is right, and rejecting tyranny, despotism, and human enslavement?

Will that day come when the press will be free to ask the difficult questions and demand answers on what matters to the common man.

Will that day come when the international community reposes confidence in Nigeria as a potential investment market knowing that the laws are balanced, neutral and unbiased.

Will that day come, when the poor will have their day in court, convinced in the power of evidence over pedigree?

In one of his letters to is wife from the Thysville Prison, The late Patrice Lumumba said, “The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations…Africa will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity”.

It is on this premise, that we call upon the Jurists of this Tribunal and the Apex Court in the name of God almighty, of Allah the most merciful to look onto the wisdom of Solomon and let right be done.

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