Sunday, 5 May 2013

Article: Defining, Distinguishing And Lifelong Attributes Of Politics

By Salihu Moh. Lukman

What is the Nigerian political opposition all about? Is it simply about not being in current government? Or is it about not being in good terms with functionaries of government and to that extent in opposition to leaders of the ruling party? Do Nigerian political opposition have any defining or distinguishing value that differentiate them from today’s functionaries of government and leaders of the Nigerian ruling party? Are there any programmatic attributes or claims associated with Nigerian opposition politics? Is there any intellectual content to Nigerian opposition politics, latent or manifest? What is the difference between PDP, on the one hand and ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA - APC, on the other? With APC still in the political production mill, should Nigerians expect it – APC – to come with any defining or distinguishing attribute?

It is almost certain that attempts to answer these questions would highlight the strong likelihood that Nigerian political opposition is an expedient categorization mainly associated with Nigerian politicians that are outside government. It is mainly a reflection of where politicians stand in relations to especially the federal government. As a result, even so-called members of the ruling PDP, presiding over some of the states, have come to acquire the status of being opposition politicians. Even functionaries of other arms of the federal government, such as the legislative arm, on account of poor relations with the federal government can be rightly regarded as opposition politicians irrespective of partisan affiliation.

The reality is that Nigerian opposition politics is not about any claim to value or programme commitment. Thus, the temperament and feature of Nigerian opposition politics is predominantly informed by lack of patronage, accommodation and tolerance on both sides – government functionaries and opposition politicians. There are many politicians in today’s PDP federal government that were at some point leaders of the Nigerian opposition, just as there are many Nigerian opposition politicians that were in PDP federal government and handled their responsibilities in implementing PDP government’s programmes with missionary zeal. With hardly any substantial change in orientation, yesterday’s zealots have become today’s opposition leaders, opposition leaders have become very loyal government functionaries.

Against the background that today’s federal government has directed the nation more towards increasing poverty, inequality, unemployment, poor or absence of services, etc. disdain and anger are citizens’ attitude to the ruling party. With such attitude, popularity of Nigerian opposition politics is on the increase and there is almost every certainty that given an atmosphere of free and fair elections, the ruling PDP will be thrown out of government. Political opposition in Nigeria is therefore very popular and with current APC merger negotiation, there is a growing feeling among Nigerians that the days of PDP as ruling party are numbered.

The key question that Nigerian opposition politicians need to answer is what difference will they make in the living conditions of Nigerians when eventually they emerged as the ruling party in 2015? In other words, what is the human welfare content of our new APC government? Given the unfortunate absence of ideological commitment in Nigerian politics and the fact that there is hardly any discernible distinction in terms of policy orientations of our political parties represented by each of the state governments they control, discussions of the welfare contents of governments have been very prejudiced and weak. It is largely reduced to political claims by political leaders with little empirical content. Are there specific economic and programmatic content in the current APC merger negotiations to signal new governance and economic reality? If there are, how committed are the Nigerian opposition politicians to the envisioned new governance and economic reality?

Considering that the APC merger negotiations are still ongoing and its manifesto is yet to be finalized, or at least so it appears, to what extent are our Nigerian opposition politicians’ ready to commit themselves to key governance and economic framework for the country? Would such commitment depart from current PDP orientation? What are even the PDP commitments anyway?

No doubt, PDP commitment is fluid. The best articulation is contained in the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) and the corresponding State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS) during the Obasanjo administration. Subsequent attempt to articulate it into Vision 20-2020 development programme was truncated by a lifeless 7-point agenda of the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration. Current transformation agenda of GEJ administration has not substantially provided a clear governance and economic commitment. The result is that governance is reduced to propaganda and in practical terms emerging as a criminal theatre for corrupt enrichment of functionaries and loyalists.

To be very nice would be to portray PDP approach to handling governance and economic framework as a conservative agenda that promote individual accumulation, private ownership (mainly money and not enterprise), rent-seeking, etc. on a criminal scale. The fact of its criminality has meant executive (and of course legislative) lawlessness resulting in the current near state of anarchy in the country. Everything is driven by exercise of crude force, which reduced human life to virtually nothing.

The growing expectations of Nigerians are that opposition politicians organized under APC will develop governance and economic responses to this calamitous national situation. The hope is that it would substantially depart from simplistic financial management to the realm of wealth creation. Partly promoted by international donor agencies, it needs to be acknowledged that strategies for improved financial management have helped strengthened financial discipline in the management of public resources at all levels. However, they have been weak in promoting policy choices. Clear policy commitments offered by APC focusing on halting the current criminal scale of individual accumulation, private ownership (mainly money and not enterprise), rent-seeking, etc. are the national expectation. It is not just about voting GEJ and PDP out of government but that it should result in a radical shift to, at the minimum, a situation where the departure of GEJ and PDP out of the federal government would translate into a new leaf in governance and economic life of the entity called Nigeria and its citizens.

Given current merger negotiations leading to the emergence of APC therefore, the challenge of promoting choices in the polity and based on that expand the frontiers of economic development should take a central stage. So far, it is too early to make any judgment because the negotiations are ongoing. There is however the risk that governance and economic programmes may be taken for granted given that negotiations so far are dominated by the need to contract agreement more in terms of mechanical unity and in the process overlook specific governance and economic programme content needed to make any potential APC government different from PDP.

Also given the fact of political opposition in Nigeria being more a factor of poor relationship with the federal government, APC leaders must take steps to contract clear governance and economic commitment. Such a commitment must at the minimum address issues of criminal individual accumulation, private ownership (mainly money and not enterprise), rent-seeking, etc. In some ways, a shift from criminal individual accumulation, private ownership (mainly money and not enterprise), rent-seeking, etc. to primitive individual accumulation, private ownership (enterprise), etc. founded on legality could represent a progressive governance and economic shift.

For Nigerians, the challenge is not so much about how such governance and economic programme is articulated but more in terms of the competence of APC as represented by today’s Nigerian opposition politicians to deliver. This worry is more justified by a combination of two factors. The first is that Nigerian opposition politicians are only predominantly driven by poor relations with the federal government and not because of any defining, distinguishing and historical attribute. The absence of defining, distinguishing or historical attributes could simply translate into the same governance and economic disposition that may come with criminality.

The second issue is that there is nothing so far in the colouration of Nigerian opposition that represents some common characteristics, harmony or semblance of unity. Even in terms of state governments controlled by the opposition parties negotiating the merger – ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA, there is hardly any common governance and economic feature. The closest is ACN’s free education programmes based on its leaning to Awoist philosophy. In so many respects, it is more a reflection of individual state government’s initiative. There is no guiding party programme. Partly because of the absence of guiding party programme, the approach of Lagos State is different from that of Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Edo. To what extent are the merger negotiations therefore conceptualizing free education as APC programme commitment? In what ways could Nigerians expect that APC governments at all levels will be bonded by specific unambiguous programmes commitment such as free education given that ACN is one of the parties in the negotiation?

In relation to ANPP, with three state governments (Borno, Yobe and Zamfara), it is doubtful if they can be associated with any unifying governance or economic philosophy. Perhaps since they originated the introduction of shari’a legal system in states controlled by the ANPP between 1999 and 2007, shari’a could be the governance and economic philosophy of their governments. With the current insurgencies being experienced in most states in Northern parts of the country and its religious character as one that is coming with professed commitment to shari’a, even among Muslims, the issue of shari’a would elicit some scrutiny.

Besides, the facts of shari’a imposition in our Northern states led by ANPP governments being largely informed by political exigencies based on survival strategies for elected officials without that translating into improved living conditions for citizens, negotiations bordering on the adoption of shari’a as a party programme will be highly unpopular, if not politically suicidal. Besides, the inability of the federal and state governments to bring the problem of religiously-originated insurgencies under control will undermine its marketability as a party programme.

As for CPC, largely because it has only a state government (Nasarawa) that only came to power two years ago, very little can be said other than the fact that it makes no specific claim to governance or economic philosophy. The same could be said about Okorocha-led APGA with its control of Imo state. In which case, Nigerians will be more justified to argue that the difference between PDP and these parties are more in terms of the personalities.

The excitement of Nigerians about APC and the potential it represent is more in terms of the expectation for it to come with a governance and economic programme commitment that are capable of solving all the intricate problems facing the nation, especially issues of improved citizens’ welfare leading to reduced inequality, poverty and unemployment. Such a commitment should come from the party – APC – and just expressed based on individual preferences of leading functionaries of government. Party commitment to specific governance and economic programmes have potentials to influence the choice of party candidates and on account of the pressure it will exert, force party leaders to be interested in matters of delivery.

One of the strong demobilisers in Nigerian politics in terms of economic development is the fact that programmes are largely absent. The major consideration is basically access to money by all means. The details are very glaring. Corrupt individuals, mediocres and even criminals have been vested with political leadership in this country. Is APC going to change that?

It is paramount that Nigerian opposition politicians positively respond to this challenge. In doing so, it is not about taking undue advantage of the disdain and anger of Nigerians against PDP and based on that just railroad itself into power without any governance and economic programme commitment. It is also not about declarations. Therefore, it is more about documented commitment articulated in APC constitution and manifesto. In addition, it has to come with personal belief in which the leadership of APC will become both the torchbearers and symbols.

These are matters for formal recognition and not informal, driven more by contractual obligation and not just trust. It is important that these conditions are met from the beginning especially given that the high expectations on APC is more as a result of the charisma of the leaders of the parties negotiating the merger – ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA. Like the parties, these leaders have no unifying governance or economic philosophy or attributes.

Given the dynamic reality that principal leaders may hardly go beyond advisory and moral responsibilities, and even if they do, may not include being drivers of government, our principal leaders need to demonstrate superior levels of commitment to the future of the entity called Nigeria by ensuring that APC emerged with strong governance and economic programme commitment. There may be the temptation to project trust based on assumption of loyalty. Without however going into details, experiences of Gen. Buhari between 2003 and today with opposition politicians saddled to manage state governments should be a wakeup call. Our political experience since 1999 demonstrate that this must never be taken for granted again.

Therefore, given high and rising levels of inequality, poverty and unemployment in the country, APC’s governance and economic programme commitment must offer a new reality that seek to improve the welfare and guarantee the well being of Nigerians by drastically reducing levels of inequality, poverty and unemployment. Beyond contracting political relations with citizens, APC need to come with a programme design that seek to engender new forms of economic relations between Nigerians and their governments at all levels. The programme design must clearly outline issues of how production will be stimulated and the strategy that will drive value change and progression from primary to higher production levels. Mechanisation, industrialization, etc. programmes should be strategically located as integral component of the APC governance and economic agenda and not abstract and largely donor-driven governance programmes.

With such governance and economic programme commitment, Nigerians can then expect that all local and state governments controlled by APC would undertake some specific programmes ranging from education, healthcare delivery, agriculture, housing, industrial development, etc. The fact of such commitment and its expression in the political belief system should translate into some accelerated shifts in the practice from a situation whereby Nigerian political leaders go abroad for medical treatment (mainly Asia, Middle East, Europe, North America and recently some African countries) and send their children to school in these countries to a new reality to be stimulated by APC government whereby our citizens’ and leaders’ educational and healthcare needs can be met here in Nigeria.

These cannot be delivered based on trust; they are not matters for declaration; they require clear governance and economic programme commitments. With such commitments, history will forever be kind to our today’s Nigerian opposition leaders and Nigerians of all generation will remain grateful to them for rising up to the challenge of today’s governance. On account of the strength of commitment and clarity of obligation, our history shall make special acknowledgement of today’s Nigerian opposition politicians and all actors shall have a special individual recognition in terms of their contributions as individuals who helped pulled the nation from a situation where government is reduced to virtually a criminal theatre for the corrupt enrichment of functionaries and loyalists to one in which governments and functionaries are equated with services that translate to improved citizens’ welfare and guaranteed well being. And APC shall be a party for all times capable of responding to citizens’ welfare needs and aspirations. That is the defining, distinguishing and lifelong attributes Nigerians look forward to in APC!

(Lukman can be reached on:

Special Report: “Nigeria Is A Death Theatre”------Intersociety

January to April 2013 remain the darkest periods in the history of Nigeria outside the full blown war and violence such as the 2011 post election violence in nine northern Nigerian States and the 2009 military action against the Boko Haram violent Islamist insurgents and the latter’s retaliated killings in some northern parts of Nigeria as well as the Jos killings of 2001 and

An investigative finding by the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law shows that over 1000 citizens were murdered in Nigeria between January 1 and April 30, 2013.

Their killings were traced to the doorsteps of both lawfully and unlawfully armed malicious elements within and outside the country’s security forces including the malicious personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, Joint Military Task Forces, Multi-national Joint Task Force, militant ethno-religious zealots such as Boko Haram/Ansaru armed Islamists, malicious elements at the center of Jos killings and other criminal elements such as deadly politicians and resurged armed Niger Delta militants.

The citizen-victims of these killings include serving members of the Nigerian security forces, militant elements within the Boko Haram and the Ansaru Islamist movements, civil politics practitioners, crime suspects and innocent detainees who were non-violently taken into police custodies, but later killed extra-judicially. The over 1000 murder casualty figures will be grossly under-calculated if the unreported cases arising from vigilante killings across the country, police pretrial killings, secret killings by armed Islamist and ethnic groups operating in North-central, North-east and North-west zones of Nigeria, resurged Niger Delta militants as well as killings arising from armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual deaths, civil homicides and road accidents, are added.

If attempts are made to capture all these, then it may most likely be correct to estimate them in the neighborhood of over 4000 murdered deaths since January 2013. For instance, in the past one year in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, it was officially reported by the State Police Command that a total of 270 civilians and 32 police personnel were murdered during the violent criminals’ onslaughts in the State.

Similarly, in four months, that is to say between January and April 2013, over 300 Nigerian citizens were killed in road accidents across the country. For instance, on 27th day of January, 2013, 22 citizens died at Nkpor, near Onitsha, Anambra State, Southeast, Nigeria in a fatal road accident. The number of those who died on the spot was 18, three later died bringing the total casualty figures to 22.

On about 27th day of March, 2013, 18 citizens perished along Lokoja-Abuja Federal Road, in Kogi State, North-central Nigeria. On 5th day of April, 2013, media reports had it that 80 citizens and 36 citizens respectively were killed along Benin-Lagos Dual Carriage Way in Ugbogu area, near Ofosu in Ovia South-west LGA of Edo State, South-south Nigeria and Ihiala in Ihiala LGA of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.

On 26th day of April, 2013, seven citizens were killed at UNIZIK junction in Awka, Anambra State. The five fatal road accidents under reference resulted in the death of a total of 163 citizens.

More of such fatal accidents that occurred since January 2013 are not captured in this public statement. The ethnic and gender identities of the said accident victims show that 95% of them are from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria, while 70% are adult-males, mostly at their prime stages of life.

The major cause of most of the said accidents is traced to the recklessness of the drivers of the trailer trucks involved, driven by young Nigerian citizens of Hausa-Fulani extraction. Some concerned citizens have described them as Boko Haram Trailer Drivers, because of reckless abandon with which they kill Igbo-Nigerian travelers in droves on Nigerian roads.

In Anambra State alone, more than five trailer trucks manned by young Hausa-Fulani drivers have been reported with high casualty figures since January 2013.

The figures pertaining to the over 1000 citizen-deaths since January 2013 are arrived at by our leadership from de-classified Nigerian security forces’ sources and open sources such as on-the-spot findings, eyewitnesses’ accounts and media reports. In the Boko Haram associated violence, at least 602 citizens were murdered between January and April 2013. In other ethno-religious violence such as Jos violence, over 200 citizens were murdered in the four months under review and in the area of police pretrial killings and associated others; at least 200 citizens were murdered in various police custodies across the country between January and April 2013.

1. Boko Haram Violence: Some of the Boko Haram violence associated killings since January 2013 are the following: On 23rd day of January, 2013, it was reported that 12 residents of Jiddari-Polo and Laddan Ciki areas of Maiduguri in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria were murdered by Boko Haram Islamist insurgents. The deaths included one Alhaji Zakka, a director in the State Ministry of Animal & Fisheries. 

2. On 22nd day of February, 2013, five citizens’ playing card-games in Angwan Bagadaza area of Gombe State, Northeast Nigeria were reportedly shot dead by Boko Haram insurgents. 

3. On 20th day of February, 2013, three persons died in bomb explosions reportedly detonated by Boko Haram insurgents at the Post Office Roundabout in Maiduguri, Borno State. 

4. On 23rd day of February, 2013, several people were reportedly killed in clashes between Nigerian security forces and suspected Boko Haram insurgents in Maiduguri, Borno State. 

5. On 3rd day of March, 2013, the JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said it killed 20 Boko Haram insurgents during the terror attacks the group launched at security barracks in Monguno area of Borno State. 

6. On 8th day of March, 2013, the JTF through Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said it killed 52 Boko Haram insurgents during its special operations in Bulabulin, Bayern Quarters and Jajeri area of Maiduguri, Borno State. 

7. On 18th day of March, 2013, between 180 and 200 people or more, mostly Nigerian citizens of Igbo extraction were massacred at the New Road Luxury Bus terminal in Sabon Gari area of Kano State, Northwest Nigeria during multiple bomb explosions detonated by Boko Haram insurgents. Nigerian authorities, as expected, claimed that only 22 people were killed in the bombings.

8. On 16th and 17th day of April, 2013, 228 people including women, children and elderly were massacred during violent clashes between the Multi-national Joint Taskforce led by the Nigerian military and the Boko Haram insurgents in the fishery and border town of Baga in Kukawa LGA of Borno State. The Nigerian security forces went on killing and property destruction rampage in retaliation for the killing of a soldier by the insurgents. While the Nigerian security forces mangled the casualty figures down to 36/37; claiming that 30 Boko Haram insurgents and six civilians were killed, the local officials said they buried 185 bodies. Days after the massacre, the Senator representing Borno North in the Senate visited the area on a two-day fact finding on 25th and 26th day of April, 2013 and reported that he counted 228 bodies from Makabartar  Waya graveyard-130 bodies, Makabartar Arewa graveyards-60 bodies and Budumari graveyard-30
bodies. Senator Maina Maaji Lawan, who is a former governor of the State, also reported that six other dead bodies were buried inside town and that up to 4000 houses (thatched homes) were torched.  Similarly, the satellite imagery obtained and analyzed by the US based Human Rights Watch, which contained in its public statement of 1st day of May, 2013 confirmed that a total of 2,275  houses mostly residential houses, were destroyed by soldiers in Baga, while 125 were damaged. In the latest public statement, dated 30th day of April, 2013, signed by one Dr. Reuben Abati, on behalf of Nigeria’s President, the government’s mangled casualty figure of 36 bodies was retained. The statement further said that houses/properties destroyed were far less than 1000. The Nigerian military had earlier claimed that 30 houses were destroyed in the offensive operations. For us in the Intersociety, Senator Maina’s casualty accounts and the HRW’s property destruction accounts are acceptable to us until credibly disproved. On 25th day of April, 2013, 25 people including five police personnel were reportedly killed during clashes between Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram insurgents in Gashua area in Bade LGA of Yobe State. 

9. On 25th day of April, 2013, Saharareports reported that a serving Divisional Police Officer and several other police personnel were killed during Boko Haram attacks that hit Bama area of Borno State and on 28th day of April, 2013, a JTF official, Lt. Col. A.G. Lakka confirmed the death of 17 people including seven police personnel and ten insurgents in the clashes. 10. On 27th day of April, 2013, 25 people were reportedly killed during clashes between Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram insurgents, when the latter attacked a police station and a bank in northeastern area of Yobe State. 11. On 28th day of April, 2013, five people including three police personnel were reported killed in Ringim area of Jigawa State, Northeast Nigeria during Boko Haram attacks at a police station and a bank. The statistics above cited shows that a total of 602 Nigerian citizens, comprising fewer security personnel and armed Islamist insurgents and other innocent civilians including women, children and elderly have been murdered since January 2013 in Boko Haram associated violence in northern parts of Nigeria. There may most likely be some reported Boko Haram killings within the period under reference that are not captured in this public statement. Some of the killings also go unreported. Government’s casualty figures are usually mangled. Jos Killings: 1.On 25th day of January, 2013, the Nigerian military sources reported the death of

10. people in Wadata area of Wase LGA of Plateau State. Local independent sources later said they found 22 bodies after the attacks launched by the Fulani Muslim invaders against their Tarok Christian host. 2. On 22nd day of February, 2013, 10 people were reported killed in Kogwom village in Vom district, Jos South LGA of Plateau State in similar attacks. 3. On 27th day of March, 2013, 28 people were reported killed in Ganawuri district of Riyon LGA of Plateau State and less than seven days earlier, 10 people were reported killed in Mavo village in Wase LGA of Plateau State. 4. On 29th day of March, 2013, nine people were reported killed in Ratas village of Fan district in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State. 5. An official report from the North-central zone of the National Emergency Management Agency in April 2013 reported that a total of 113 people were killed in Wase and Bokkos areas of Plateau State alone in March 2013. According to media reports which quoted its zonal coordinator, one Abdulsalam Mohammed, 71 people were killed in Wase in the March 19, 2013 bloody clashes between the militant Fulani invaders and the host communities, while 42 people were killed on March 29, 2013 in similar bloody attacks. The killings above cited show that a total of 192 people have been murdered in Plateau State since January, 2013. Again, not all reported killings in Plateau State within the period under review are captured in this public statement. Some of these killings also go unreported, while casualty figures from official quarters are usually mangled. Police Pretrial Murders: On 19th day of January, 2013, up to 50 murdered bodies or more were found dumped and floating on Ezu River, in Amansea, Awka, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria. Credible findings by local and international reputable rights organizations have continued to show that they were crime suspects and other detainees arrested and taken into custody by the Special Anti Robbery Squad attached to Anambra State Police Command, which is headquartered at Awkuzu, Anambra State. They were strongly believed to have been arrested non-violently between October and December 2012 and killed extra-judicially by SARS.

Specifically, nine members of the non-violent MASSOB movement, who were arrested on December 7, 2012 and taken into the SARS custody at Awkuzu have disappeared till date. They are strongly believed to be among the 50 murdered bodies found in Ezu River on 19th day of January, 2013. In early March, 2013, it was reported in the media and confirmed by local village authorities that 10 murdered bodies in various stages of decomposition, were found dumped at a burrow pit in Mgbirichi Community of Ohaji Egbema LGA, Imo State, Southeast Nigeria. The 10murdered bodies are believed to be victims of extra-judicial killings by security forces in Imo State since there was no report of inter or intra communal violence in the area. At least, 200 Nigerian citizens including the over 60 citizens cited above, must have been killed in police custodies in Nigeria since January 2013. The murdered citizens must have died from torture or outright custody killings. In most, if not all the 6,651 police field formations in Nigeria, torture and pretrial killings are common features of extracting confessional statements or criminal enrichment. Among SARS operatives especially in Anambra State, torture and pretrial killings are still raging like wild fires. Anambra SARS operatives have become deadlier since their atrocious acts of 19th January, 2013, which the NPF High Command and the Presidency seemed to have condoned with impunity. The murder of Citizen Obinna Okoye-a student of OKOPOLY, by the Ekwulobia SARS unit in Aguata LGA of Anambra State, is one out of many of such atrocious killings still ongoing. He was arrested in January 2013 over an alleged motorbike theft and tortured to death in the second week of February 2013, after his father was asked to fetch the sum of N300.000 for his son’s freedom and life.

Conclusion: It is very clear that Nigeria has become a theatre of death especially since January 2013. The gross weakness of the Government of Nigeria has continued to embolden killer malicious

elements and encourage militancy in Nigerian society. Our decision to retain the over 1000 casualty figures is to let the world have an idea of the valueless nature of human lives in Nigeria. If outside the law is strictly applied here, then the number of those killed in the country since January 2013 may most likely be in the neighborhood of 4000. This is because Nigerian citizens are killed outside the law across the country on daily basis. From the 6th day of April, 2013 murder of 15 Nigeria police personnel by MEND on the creek of Ijaw South LGA of Bayelsa State to early March 2013 gruesome murder of Commissioner of Police Chijioke Asiadu in Enugu, Enugu State; the list is inexhaustible.

Nigerian security challenges are threatening because the Presidency allows them and uses them to merchandize-a sort of trading on citizens’ lives. Solutions to these challenges are not insurmountable. Strong political will including being open to constructive criticisms and acceptance of noble ideas are steadily required of Nigerian political authorities. Also required are intelligence and preventive based policing as well as effective and technologically advanced criminal investigation and litigation management. Gun-culture or AK-47 security approach is no longer in vogue in world security and crime management. The Baga military blunder is one of such instances and the height of unprofessionalism and primitive gun-culture approach. These are the trade-marks of rogue States and undemocratic regimes. One of the strongest external solutions to Nigeria’s killing fields remains the invitation or intervention of the office of the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court. This is because none of the citizens’ killers in Nigeria would wish to be humiliated locally and internationally before being handcuffed to the Netherlands to face trials for crimes against humanity or war crimes. 

Emeka Umeagbalasi, (Chairman of the Board of
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria
Mobile Nos.08033601078, 08180103912

Opinion: My Reaction To Ondo State Gubernatorial Election Tribunal Judgment

By Kayode Ajulo, Esq.

I salute the courage, and industry of the 3-man panel of judges and the erudition of the 5-hour judgment.

The judgment in my humble opinion was not only well researched, it was duly considered as it captured and reflected  all the facts of the cases as presented by the parties.

As a senior lawyer, it is again my humble opinion that the judgment is unassailable and unimpeachable. I do not see how the higher courts can overturn same.

This opinion is premised on the fact that the judgment fully and duly evaluated all the facts presented by the parties, even irrelevant ones, and dealt with them all dispassionately resting on a plethora of legal authorities that have been handed down by the superior courts over the years.

It is the practice of the superior courts NOT to tamper with evaluation of facts by the courts of first instance. Their jurisdiction is as to Law and that alone in this circumstance.

I would therefore like to state that whereas it is the right any aggrieved litigant to exercise his right of appeal, I would want to urge my learned colleagues, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN and Chief Olusola Oke as officers of the court to exercise restraint by not bringing frivolities into our appellate courts.

The courts are overstretched and overstressed enough and it will be unprofessional for litigants who should know better to present an apparently bad appeal.

If indeed they love their state, Ondo, as they would have us believe, it behooves them to close ranks with the incumbent government and endeavour to move the state forward.

(Ajulo is head of Castle of Law Chamber Abuja, Nigeria.)