FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, March 24, 2019
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Arizona, USA
NIGERIAN JUDICIARY: A SIGH OF RELIEF OR NOT YET UHURU?

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." -Theodore Roosevelt

n the last 24hrs, there have been so many hogwash interpretations and misinterpretations of the Justice Peter Obiora's ruling in the 2018 argy-bargy governorhip election in Osun state.

In his ruling, Justice Peter Obiora held that there was merit in the appeal filed by the PDP and Senator Adeleke, adding that the declaration and return of Governor Oyetola by INEC was "null and void."

Justice Obiora is a member of the three-man Tribunal who presided over the petition against Oyetola's victory at the rerun election. He claimed that the tribunal was a qualified jurisprudence and has the competent jurisdiction to hear and determine the case filed by Adeleke against Oyetola.

The judge declared Senator Adeleke, who represents Osun West district in the National Assembly as the winner of the election and ruled that Adeleke is duly elected governor of the state. The judge ordered that the Certificate of return issued to Governor Oyetola be withdrawn and that a fresh one should be issued to Senator Adeleke of the PDP. He stated that Adeleke has fulfilled the conditions of the law.

Justice Obiora concluded that the petitioner scored the lawful majority votes at the election while the rerun held in the seven cancelled units were "null and void and of no electoral effect to the controversial rerun election in Osun state.

Adeleke's temporal victory at the Tribunal is a healthy development for Buhari's administration and our nascent democracy. Our judiciary has been comatose for decades. The hands of the Jacob (stakeholders) had been tied by the Esau (executives) for too long, and for decades. Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and MKO Abiola were among the victims of "my hands are tied" in the judicial system of Nigeria. It is a good development to see justice seems to have been dispensed or adopted with no interference from the executive.

Court is a platform and the last resort from which we can seek justice, redress and equity. It's also an entity that provides various avenues to constitutionally defend our rights if it is about to be trampled upon or being taken away. Adeleke who lost the election has gone to court; he has won the first huddle! If the defendant, Oyetola appeals at the Court of Appeal and wins, the plaintiff, Adeleke too has his constitutional right to go the supreme court, the supreme court is the final arbiter and dispensation of justice. The decision of the Supreme court is final and cannot be challenged or overturned anymore!

Admissibly, the evolving development in Nigeria shows that Buhari has no business in playing to the gallery and relishing in a "do or die affair" politics.

One of the reasons this writer is corded with Buhari is because of his integrity, accountability and honesty. Buhari is a fallible man, he errs sometimes, but his mistakes are sometimes honest! I know of a few politicians who are his like-minded; some other politicians that surround him are his encumbrances, but Buhari is a man to vouch for anyday. Buhari has no time for political shenanigans, deceit and manipulation. The judge can deliver his judgment in the election tribunal, but the other contestant-Oyetola declared winner with the certificate of rerun in Osun gubernatorial election still has two arbiters and recourse (Appeal and Supreme courts) to hear his appeal and case.

The final arbiter is the Supreme court of the Federal republic of Nigeria. Whatever the highest court in the land eventually says becomes final and bidding. The final import of the ruling is evident in our clamor for independent of the judiciary. Our judiciary is being sanitized by Buhari's nononsense approach to governance. We are looking forward to the deodorization of the Legislature too now and in the coming years! The evolving development in Nigeria is a plus to Buhari's administration and our collective decision and participatory democracy. The inauguration of a committee to fashion out the autonomy of the judiciary, and to fine its operations independent of the executive and legislature is a welcome relief to our disgruntled minds. It is also a welcome development. It shows that President Muhammadu Buhari isn't interfering with one of the arms of government-judiciary. The handwriting on the wall of the Nigerian judiciary seems comforting and it gives us the hope of what the future of Nigeria will look like!

Adeleke, his family, his friends and political coterie should be frugal in their celebration of Justice Peter Obiora's ruling. It might be a short-term celebration of victory, but Adeleke should be counseled that, it's just the beginning of the end; not the end of the beginning at all! My admonition to Mr. Adeleke is to halt his current hyped kokoro and macabre dense. He should be told that the antics of a buffoon is a comic relief in the marketplace of ideas. Those who are celebrating Adeleke today might be his adversarial partners tomorrow. Tomorrow isn't too far in Nigerian polity.

Literally in camera, until the supreme court of Nigeria finally rules after the appeal of the governorhip battle, it is not yet uhuru for Adeleke aliased---Ajobiewe.

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