Monday, 29 November 2010

News Release: President Jonathan, the Osun Verdict and this New Season of Hope

Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) Founder and President, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, have hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the Judiciary to function without executive interference.

Fasehun spoke at the weekend in a Press Statement following Saturday’s swearing in of Engineer Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress (AC) as the Governor of Osun State, following the Court of Appeal’s final ruling on his suit against PDP’s Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola in the 2007 governorship election.

According to Fasehun, the free rein that the Executive under President Jonathan gave to the Judiciary in the governorship election cases gave Nigerians hope of free, fair and credible elections in 2011.

“We congratulate Nigeria and all Nigerians for this new-found culture of respect for the independence of the Judiciary as well as the prevalence of the rule of law,” Fasehun said. “But Nigerians must appreciate that the star of this feat is President Goodluck Jonathan. It takes courage to dispense justice against yourself. And the President has demonstrated consummate courage. He has allowed the Judiciary to operate without interference, even when the verdicts apparently contradicted his party’s interest.”

Fasehun, however, advised the National Judicial Council to evolve prescriptions to reduce the lifespan of litigations.

In his words: “Waiting three and a half years to recover a stolen mandate is just too long for a litigant with scarce resources; and it makes acquisition of justice the exclusive commodity of the man of means. Justice delayed is justice denied. The timeline for dispensing with cases needs to be drastically shortened, even if it means dedicating a segment of the Court of Appeal strictly for electoral matters in order to thrash out cases within six months maximum.”

According to him, the current Federal administration under President Goodluck Jonathan had demonstrated respect for the rule of law, due process and democracy in the cases of Ekiti, Delta, Ondo, Edo states and most recently Osun State , which had all upstaged ruling governors from PDP, the President’s party.

Although he commended the Judiciary for demonstrating its independence without brooking extraneous interferences, he particularly cherished the atmosphere President Jonathan had allowed in allowing judges a freehand.

His words: “For being the catalyst of this era, President Goodluck Jonathan wins my heart. He has demonstrated exceptional statesmanship by burying parochial party interest for the larger good and overall interest of the nation. He has demonstrated a rare quality that the nation needs in its leaders at this time of our national history. By allowing true separation of powers and giving the Judiciary a free rein to follow its own mind, President Jonathan has helped to water the roots of the country’s renascent democracy.”

Fasehun predicted that if this new wind of justice were allowed to blow through the land, skeptics and pessimists who had predicted doom for Nigeria will be proved wrong.

“Then Nigeria will not only survive but hold her head high in the comity of nations,” he said, adding, “In fact, this prevailing situation in is a prelude to national peace and concord. For our troubles basically come from Nigerians losing faith in the country’s established institutions and resorting to self-help.”

He saw the verdicts as a good omen for 2010 because it would discourage what he described as the culture of impunity that previously pervaded Nigeria’s politics since the Judiciary had demonstrated a capability to effectively redress offences and render due diligence to wronged parties.

“The lesson for would-be election riggers is that continuing in their sordid tradition would amount to investing in a nullity. Henceforth, those who perpetrate electoral perfidy will not have the last say. Politicians might as well walk the honest path and let the votes speak. Time has come for us to repent from all our electoral iniquities and turn over a new leaf if our democracy must survive. We must learn to walk the straight and narrow path,” he said.

He, however, urged the beneficiaries of judicial verdicts to refrain from misapplying justice while in office.

Dr. Frederick Fasehun
Founder/President, Oodua People's Congress(OPC)

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