Over a period of time I have cultivated the habit of refraining from commenting on issues that are before the courts for several reasons. The elite members of the learned fraternity are always quick to flash the “contempt” card in our faces, that is if one is not unfortunate to be labelled as “lay person”. But truth be told, we need a system that guarantees justice beyond primordial attachment to technicalities.
It is a trite repeating that 2019 election, particularly at the gubernatorial level, was characterized by a lot of irregularities. INEC in its weird wisdom came up with the needless concept of “inconclusive” election against the spirit and letters of the constitution of federal republic of Nigeria that instructed a winner to be declared if he/she has gotten the majority of the votes cast and met the minimum condition of voting distribution. This is very clear by all means and purposes to even some of us lay people who are outside the Lord Denning’s inclination. However, in Osun election we saw a situation where Senator Adeleke was denied his hard-earned victory at the Appeal court based on the technicality that the presiding judge was absent in one of the trial sittings.
Everybody waited with bated breath for the Supreme Court to make pronouncement on this legal conundrum; whether INEC’s guideline that came up with “inconclusive election” when the “margin of votes” can be upturned by the “cancelled votes”, is (not) in contradiction of the constitutional provisions that mandated INEC to declare a winner by simple majority whenever he/she has met the other constitutional provisions of eligibility and voting spread? Alas! Osun case ended up a missed opportunity. Technicality won over justice!
All hope is not completely lost. Nigerians still have a lot of confidence in the judges of the Supreme Court. And Kano election has presented another opportunity for the apex court to serve as a true temple of justice not only a shade for technicalities. We all know that at the conclusion of the first round of the 2019 gubernatorial election, the PDP gubernatorial flag bearer was leading the election with over 26,000 votes when the INEC returning officer surreptitiously declared the election inconclusive.
More worrisome was the unjustified cancellation of Gama election by the REC after the results had been announced at the ward level- but the results collation sheet was hijacked and tore by some hooligans (who are still walking freely despite that misdemeanor) at the Nasarawa local government collation center. The Gama ward collation officer testified to that, on oath, before the election petition tribunal. Ironically, the INEC guidelines have made provisions for going back to primary sources, which include recounting the votes or recovering the duly signed/stamped polling units results. All of these were ignored to pave way for a massively rigged rerun election.
Either way, 20th January 2020 will be an epoch. The judgment that will be delivered on that day is going to change the politics of Kano state and shape the behavior of politicians in the subsequent elections. If people’s mandate prevail, Kano politics will retain its sanity and justice will have a supreme position. I know it is not an easy task for the honorable judges. I can feel the pressure as well as the burden of justice. But justice is an attribute of God which is borrowed by mankind. Please act godly for posterity! Let’s have supremacy of justice.
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