Saturday 7th November 2015 will remain remarkable in Nigerias justice system, not for proving that they are hope for every Nigerian but principally for strangulating fairness on the altar of favoritism and power play. It is indeed sad that the picture of the judiciary as the hope of the common man is about to be dashed to pieces unless this respectable arm of the Government salvages its image through a correction of the flaw that has occurred. The Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja had ruled that Senator Aisha Alhassan, the runner up in the April 2015 Governorship election in Taraba State, be declared as the Governor because Governor Darius Ishaku did not emerge from a properly conducted primary election. The outcome of the judgment was a bombshell that was confusing to right thinking minds who quickly drew analogies, citing instances of other States with similar circumstances but whose outcome differed greatly with Tarabas. This alone pointed to a double standard to secure an interest. Is it because Taraba is a PDP State? Is this part of the grand agenda of the APC national government to arm-twist Tarabans to forcefully accept the APC candidate? Is it a way of saying Ishakus affirmed mandate in a main and re-run election must be overturned by the tribunal by whatever means? Is a pre-election matter a matter for the Election Petition Tribunal or a regular court? Is it the party or an individual that wins a general election? Why is the PDP primaries that held in Abuja an issue while the tribunals sitting in Abuja instead of Jalingo is not? The unanswered questions on the minds of people are indeed so many but what the outcome of the case implies at this point is that the ruling All Progressives congress is the puppeteer of this show. However, if APC wishes to morally absolve itself from this notion, the time to do so is now.
The Wrong Chase
So much has been said about the legal issues arising from the judgment of the tribunal on Saturday. This piece will not overbear the already saturated minds of people whose wish for this nation is the proper dispensation of the rule of law. Experts who understand the law and its application have seen through the gimmick and have punctured the tribunals ruling as an error. The issues that were brought before the tribunal was completely abandoned in favor of a simplistic outlet concerning an internal party issue. If there were serious issues to raise concerning the elections, which is what would have formed the core for discourse during and after the tribunals verdict, then it would have been the right chase. Antecedents in judicial proceedings have affirmed that an election tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear matters which took place before the conduct of an election. Whatever issues are considered flaws then the right rules should be used to correct them rather than what a public analyst described as judicial legislation. Again, this is simply to set thwarted minds straight to appreciate the underlying issues in this verdict in relation to Nigerias integrity.
The Socio-political implications for Taraba
A critical angle from which to look at the outcome of the tribunal is the danger of retardation it poses for Tarabas socio-political life. At the point that Taraba is on the road to recovering from its years of civil disruptions occasioned by various factors, the action of the tribunal on Saturday only set the State ablaze again. Understanding the implications of pronouncements by a tribunal or court is a matter for sane minds and this is what cannot be guaranteed in a politically tense atmosphere like the one created by the verdict. Wukari went up in flames as a result of myopic grasp of the implication of the verdict which generated a conflict that was simply unfortunate. The effect is not on the architects of the problem but on Tarabans who are still nursing wounds from the aftermath of violence.
Again, at a point that Governor Ishaku is mobilizing all available means to set Taraba on the path to its long awaited socio-economic transformation, this distraction is unnecessary. The Governor is focused on his rescue mission agenda and will not allow the recent events to lessen his resolve in delivering on his promise to the people. The Governor immediately swung into action to ensure immediate calm in Wukari and stop further violence in any part of the State. He has called on everyone to be law abiding and go about their activities lawfully as there is no reason whatsoever to fray nerves about the tribunals verdict.
Optimism all the Way
Although the verdict of the tribunal is disappointing, it is a temporary feat for APC. The shabby play out of events that led to the ruling only reminds right minds that it is too early to celebrate victory for APC in the Governorship seat of Taraba State. The tribunal has raised more issues for testing the judgment at the Appeal court and we are optimistic that sanity will be entrenched. It is no time to wave the possible interference of the national ruling party in the subsequent proceedings at the appellate court, yet we believe it is time to let justice live. It is also an appropriate time to call on all who wish to solidify Nigerias democracy in the aspect of rule of law to see to it that the confidence of the people in the government of the day is not bastardized.
— Giwa is the Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Taraba State on Media & Publicty
Culled from: http://leadership.ng/features/473315/on-the-outcome-of-taraba-governorship-election-tribunal