By Femi Akintunde-Johnson
They have come again: it was the news recently that governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have assured their supporters that the man who rubbed the nose of their presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar at the Presidential Election Tribunal will soon meet his Waterloo at the Supreme Court, the last bus stop for any litigation.
Neutrals have noted how the boisterous army of PDP ‘visioners’ had swept through the land, eulogizing the legal craft and wizardry of PDP lawyers, the ruinous over-abundance of exhibits assembled to castrate President Muhammadu Buhari; the transatlantic search for an over 50-year old Cambridge examination result (or certificate); front-loading of the famous controversial INEC Servers (its very existence or non-existence created a blinding racket of social media fiasco among supporters of both parties)…among other toxic items of statistical advantage. Such was the confidence of hardcore PDP foot-soldiers that it was quite comforting, if not romantic, to vaguely expect that genuine and transparent justice would eventually emerge.
Alas, when the tribunal judgement came, an incredibly tedious seven hours of plodding through hundreds of pages rejecting, dismissing and upholding one prayer or the other. The marathon judgement was so emotionally draining as “political investors” danced up and down, high and low…like spectators at a football game of two attack-loving teams with abominable defences!
Of course, PDP railed at the injustice of what clearly, as far as they were concerned, should have been a straightforward removal of the incumbent, since he had refused to tow a honorable course of resigning merely on the face of the gargantuan damaging evidence of electoral, moral and educational malfeasances!
Once again, the PDP stalwarts have resumed their romance with hope, gently stroking the adrenaline of their supporters for the long trek to the Supreme Court. Some neutrals would say: here we go again!
Masari And His Pet Bandits
Hmmm…this precedence being authored by Aminu Masari-led Katsina State government is both worrisome and potentially calamitous in ramifications. There is an active and seemingly productive dalliance with bandits who had hitherto terrorised residents of the state for few years. The allegedly repentant bandits have promised to release kidnapped victims, and relax their nefarious grip on the long-suffering necks of Katsina people. Well, that is the pretext for Masari’s diplomatic bush-shuttle in September.
They also demanded the release of their members and “sons” captured by the military “for no just cause”. Within same month, some of the detained bandits were released… incidentally, it didn’t stop another group in another area of the state from kidnapping some victims about the same time.
Pointedly, after the govt-bandits dialogue, the rogues’ demand and subsequent release of detained bandits, some kidnapped victims have been released to the state.
This victory may justify the awkward detente policy of Masari to cajole peace in the North West, ultimately, it’s sawdust in the mouth…a pyrrhic victory.
One is tempted to assume the government is either naive or shortsighted. Unless these folks were poorly named by the media, a bandit is another name for an armed robber! Specifically, a bandit is “a robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area.”
So, let us imagine, Jide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos, Willie Obiano in Anambra and Yahaya Bello in Kogi visiting the hideouts of robbers in Agege, Onitsha and Okene…to discuss amnesty, gun-cash swap and the release of people and goods seized or abducted! It is a declaration of hopelessness, an invitation to anarchy and a clear attestation that the coercive powers and authority of the state to protect and preserve lives and property have been ridiculously surrendered to non-state actors with no other ambition than to pillage and vandalise.
Well, when Masari, and his co-travellers start getting instructions from the bush on how state finances and policies are disbursed and fashioned… when bandits insist on having representations at the highest decision-making platforms… What do you expect? You can’t bring scorpions to your bedroom and start praying against poisonous stings!
Fayemi: Don’t Dance With Justice
It is quite sensible that Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has challenged Mr. Amba Asuquo, the state police commissioner, to expose the masterminds behind the killing of two students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, during a protest. The students were protesting abysmal poor electricity supply to their campus.
Fayemi threw the gauntlet during a broadcast early this week, and promised to set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry, in line with the demands of NANS and other student union bodies. In similar vein, his government would compensate families of the dead, and pay the bills of those injured. All well and proper.
What is giving me headache was the governor’s attempt to exonerate his wife, Bisi Fayemi, who many of the students, rightly or wrongly, accused of triggering the mayhem that led to the killing.
Fayemi should simply leave the exoneration or indictment of any participant to the police, and the judicial inquiry. Any effort at powdering the contribution (or absence of it) of the state’s First Lady is spitting on the faces of the bereaved, and the gravely traumatized students.
It will serve the cause of justice for the Fayemi government to provide the atmosphere and conditions for the promotion of fair hearing, responsible leadership abd transparent governance. Appeal for peace, yes; don’t nitpick on culpability.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Foreign Based Indigenous Warlord
The fugitive leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in between docking through the offices of the European Union and the United Nations in pursuit of the Biafran dream, has recently raised an alarm regarding some fellows allegedly loitering around his residence in Umuahia, Abia State. He claimed the unidentified persons (whom he has fancifully dubbed ‘Fulani assassins’) were seen in a white Toyota Hilux; and has thus issued a stern warning: the assassins should immediately desist from their wicked scheme, or Kanu would be forced to reveal their sponsors!
Well, we can be sure the “assassins” are quacking in their vehicles, now….
When A Friend Backstabs You
We are in very dangerous times. Your friend (otherwise known as the Nigerian Police) may be your killer. If you think I am being melodramatic, then you have not read the latest sop story from the Ondo State capital. The other weekend, a police sergeant, Taiwo Orisadare, allegedly stabbed…not one or two persons…but nine persons (not goats or armed suspects). The spot was reported to be a well-known nightclub in Alagbaka GRA area of Akure. While investigation is ongoing, the media has reported that the police sergeant, supposedly attached to the Area Commander’s office in Akure, behaved in a manner which suggested he was not in full control of his policing faculty. Mercifully, he was not with his side arms, except a knife. Further investigation may unearth what provoked Orisadare to become erratic and violent. Though reports suggest he was under the influence of alcohol, we were not told if he was in mufti or in police uniform; if he was there legitimately to provide security for the club, or to a politically exposed person, or in search of some suspects.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident, while insisting that it was more or less a brawl. His quote: “There was a fight between the policeman and the boys, but we have started investigation into matter. All those involved in the brawl are already in the hospital receiving treatment… But if at the end of the day we find our man culpable, we will deal with him because we don’t tolerate indiscipline in this Command.”
We implore the police high command not only to investigate promptly and comprehensively, and “deal” with the policeman if he is culpable, efforts should be made to reassure the people about their safety, and measures in place to prevent a recurrence. On the same note, the injured should be well-taken care of medically, and compensated financially for lost manpower hours. That is taking responsibility, and respecting your principals.
If police “is” indeed our friend, we should be encouraged, on different levels, to be reciprocal in a warm affectionate relationship. It is difficult to be friendly with someone who can stab you in the back…drunk or sober.