Abia state is currently bleeding. The chicken has come to roast in the once nonviolent and economic hub of the Eastern Nigeria. Uneasiness has turned out to become the lots of the all-time business home of Ndigbo. Controversies of all mode, misperceptions and vagaries of interpretation from the sacred desk of justice and then, confusions undefinable have taken its toll on Abia state.
The learnedness of the learned men have been put to trial and task in Abia state. The judiciary as the ‘last hope of the common man’ has been stretched to its breaking point, where it is almost seen as the ‘lost hope of the common man’ in Abia. Things have slipped in the State, and as a result, two Governors have arisen therein. And possibly, more Governors may emerge there as further events unfold.
Abia state has become the new testing ground for the country’s ambiguous and superfluous laws and constitution. All the legal minds in the nation have since relocated to the state, where they bandy their dusted files, wigs and black gowns, quoting from the immortal books of wisdom – what is proper and what is not.
Each Lawyer’s position can be traceable to his political alignment and payment route. While the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has asserted it acted in harmony with the verdict as understood, in issuing certificate of return to Mr. Uchechukwu Ogah, as the new Governor Of Abia state, the lead council to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the ousted leader, chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, has maintained justice Abang of the federal High Court erred in his Judgement sacking the Governor.
But that was not all. While the row continues raging over the legality of the legal pronouncement firing the Governor over his possession and presentation of a fake tax clearance certificate during his documentation, an Abia High Court, with coordinate power with Justice Abang’s High Court has issued stay of execution, barring the chief Judge of the state from swearing in Ogah. More controversies.
And to worsen the matter, Mr. Friday Nwosu, the architect of the present predicament of the Governor has returned to court, praying that he be declared Governor while urging the court to set aside the version of judgement backing orga as Governor. In the same light, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA has also called on the court to declare its candidate, Mr. Alex Otti Governor of the state since he was the only contender who participated in all the processes of the last election as required by law.
But why is everybody right in Abia state? Can “two wrongs now make a right” in the state? Why is there no shared opinion in Abia judgement as dispensed? Why has everybody defended his own decision to a point of submission and conviction? Or can we now say ‘everybody is right and each individual stance should be respected and maintained in the state? It has never happened anywhere and it will not start here..
This is where discerning minds are puzzled. It is here one begins to ask some crucial questions. What was the rush in issuing certificate of return to Ogah all about, if indeed Governor Okezie is yet to exhaust his legal rights of Appeal as his lawyers contended? Why would the umpire indulge in such macabre dance when it is nearly established it was served with the Governor’s appeal notice before the issuance.
Except in situations where the Governor’s rights of appeal are exhausted, such grim action will only be creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. The judgement should be allowed to be tested in the court of appeal as well as Supreme Court possibly. That way, there will be a state of equilibrium and presentation of ‘all the facts and all the sides.’
Mr. Uchechukwu Ogah, the Governor elect who has benefitted from the suit of Mr. Nwosu, should go the rigorous step of law in staking his own claim just as his co-contenders. The beauty of democracy is in the freedom granted to its people. It is in the rights of expression and protection it offers. It is in the voice it gives to everybody. There is no easy route to anything in democracy. Every conclusion that must be reached in democracy must be done to suit the general well being of the people. ‘It is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.’
Abia people must not kill themselves defending any of the contenders. None of their ‘aspirations should worth the blood’ of the same people they crave to guard. Having in mind, Nigeria is a place where we are free even to our teeth. There is no limit to what an individual can do here. Lives have been snuffed here over political matters with no questions raised. Guns have buried both the new and the old here in the name of politics without any strong implication.
Ours is a free society – where everything goes. There is little or no recourse to the supremacy of laws in free societies. Innocent and harmless citizens croak in torrents while gun-throating security operatives maim at will. The citizens on the other hand resort to jungle justices where they have lost faith in their governments. People have been burnt here without trials. Others have been stripped naked here for doing the asinine without queries.
Welcome to Nigeria, where everything goes – human corpses liter and float in major Rivers with little or no traces to their deaths. Top politicians are clandestinely killed by assailants born to maim and destroy with no hints. Heads of states perish in such clime with no comprehensible reasons and sanction.
The power and might to harm in such society have no bounds. But things must be contained at this point in Abia State. The judiciary must not speak in discordant tunes any longer in order to save the society. The lawyers too must not derail our democracy for monetary gains and political compromises. All hands must be put on Deck to ensure our democracy is protected at all times irrespective of whose ox is gone. Peace, be still in Abia!
Gwiyi Solomon writes from Abuja.