Let’s begin with the golden words of Abraham Lincoln, an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln profoundly posited: “Ballots are the rightful, and peaceful, successors of bullets, and that when ballots have fairly, and constitutionally, decided, there can be successful appeal, back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections.” A case for introspection as all five Judges of the Appeal Court unanimously upheld the election of Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President C-in-C of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Blinded by self-inflating delusion – the preconceived idea about outcomes of the elections is casted in gross ignorance fueled by bitter envy, lies and unfounded prejudices. This is a case of irredeemable helplessness. Simply put, ‘IREV’ is just the most convenient excuse the losing parties have for their losses. The votes cast at the polling units were the true wishes of the voters. Instead of crying endlessly over ‘IREV’ His Excellencies Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi should have provided the form EC8s signed at contested polling units and demonstrate that what their agents signed were different from what INEC declared. This is what is expected of the litigants so as to deepen our democracy and the processes.
Painfully, what was noticed is the demonstration of emotional theatrics, whereby they started digging up irrelevant issues about a candidate’s academic records and a supposed drug forfeiture case. The fact is that political parties can hardly be deceived by election results, because they have their agents who give then real situation reports from the polling units. The party leaders are the ones trying to hoodwink their supporters and the general public about the election by crying rigging with no evidence to support their claims, only unending cries about how INEC manually collated the results they themselves already have. This is a clear case for introspection.
Admittedly, emotion is a fundamental aspect of human existence. In normal, healthy people, feelings about options exert a powerful influence on choice. Intuition and anecdote suggest that people react more positively toward others whom they like or for whom they feel sympathy than toward others whom they dislike or for whom they feel disgust. Whether Judges can make dispassionate decisions or not, politicians and the public expect and even demand that they do so. And, of course, this is another case for introspection and I hope to offer an account that makes sense of the precedents and a framework for making future decisions. Such will occupy a substantial part of one of my books in the near future.
It is instructive, that, this contribution takes a phenomenological approach to the landmark judgement of last Wednesday, September 6th, which was given by the five-man tribunal, made up of the judges of the Appeal Court of Nigeria. The judgment upheld the result as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and also give a sobering admonitions to the two leading litigants His Excellencies Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and Peter Obi of the Labour party (LP), and also the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), challenging the declaration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Party (APC) the winner of February 25, presidential election.
It is thus, imperative that, no court will base its judgment on emotions, lies and falsification. Therefore, I salute the courage of “Mi Lords” in the way they handled the legal process and the verdict delivery displayed high level of legal sagacity, professionalism, and responsibility on the part of jurists despite the media and social media attacks launch against each of them and members of their families. No doubt many judges are familiar with the quote from Socrates that two judges said they keep on their benches. The philosopher said, “Four things belong to a judge: To hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly; and to decide impartially.” I salute your lordships the five Judges of the Appeal court of Nigeria.
Let me be very clear, we need a different starting point – our problems are not the institutions, but our mind-sets as evidenced by the activities of many of our citizens, particularly the religionists misrepresenting God. Religion has descended to the abysmal levels of inanity, “belly face front” moronic stratosphere and unbridled brigandage. Regrettably, religion has been hijacked by mischief makers to enrich themselves. Millions of people have lost their lives in various religious riots in Nigeria. How do you explain “Men of God” turning their pulpits into an arena for partisanship. Sadly, the development of the recent past months confirmed the saying about “Religion was created to control the minds of adherents” using fake prophecies during elections in manipulating and misleading the people. I daresay that religious bigotry, intolerance, ethnic jingoism hypocrisy and extremism are the real problems.
Conclusively, I am optimistic that a better Nigeria is VISIBLE! In every nation-state or country from the ancient period to the present, it is imperative for a new beginning that we must embrace: Mind Restructuring Advocacy which was the focal point in the recent address of President Bola Ahmed Bola in the ongoing conference of G20 in India. God bless Nigeria and replicate the wisdom of king Solomon upon our leaders, particularly the President C-in-C of the Federal Republic Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Bola. Finally, one of the songs of King Sunny Ade (KSA), readily came to mind as I was penning down my thoughts: “Enito’luwa dalejo to’lohun o gba to’nfapa janu kawobi to maa gbejo lo…” Literally meaning that a sound judgment like the Wednesday September 6th is akin to appealing the judgment of God Almighty.
Richard Odusanya is a Mind Restructuring Enthusiast.