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Why Ondo State Election Results Are Beyond Judicial Revocation, Salami Magic & Media Noise-making

Why Ondo State Election Results Are Beyond Judicial Revocation, Salami Magic & Media Noise-making

 -Masterweb Reports
 
Public Statement By Intersociety Nigeria: (Onitsha Nigeria, October 26, 2012)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law notes with gladdened heart the true reflection of the will of the great people of Ondo State in choosing their public officers democratically particularly the occupant of the office of their governor, who was democratically re-elected on 20th day of October 2012, having first been sworn in on 24th day of February 2009 after revalidation of his mandate by the Court of Appeal, Benin Division. The results of the October 20 Governorship Election, announced on Sunday, 21st were another credible match towards the institutionalization of the sanctity of the electoral ballot in Nigeria , which is in tandem with the immortal principle of-it is better to have 10.000 live votes than to have 10million dead votes. Unlike in Nigeria’s previous elections, particularly the pre-2011 elections where dead voters and votes held sway; the Ondo State election voters and votes were not robotically created. With 1.638,950 registered voters and 624,659 voted; out of which 594, 244 votes were valid and 30,415 invalid, the Ondo election is demographically and scientifically incontestable. It also passed the litmus test of common sense. The voters were also conscientiously fair in the choice of their candidates, especially their vote-distribution and electoral choice index reflected in the votes received by the three leading candidates-Mimiko, Oke and Akeredolu, who are now winners and losers.

 
By simple calculations, the 260,199 Ondo valid voters chose Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and his Labour Party as the most favoured and popular candidate and party in the State; the second most popular and favoured candidate and party went to Barr. Olusola Oke and his PDP with 155,961 valid votes, while the ACN; the Southwest (Oduduwa) regional party and its candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN (former NBA boss) was chosen as the third most popular and favoured party and candidate in the State with 143,512 valid votes. By Local Government distribution, Labour Party and its winner was more popular in 13 LGAs, PDP and its candidate was more popular in 2 LGAs with runners up in others that made it to garner more votes than the ACN, while the ACN and its candidate was more popular in 3 LGAs. As a result of this, the people of Ondo State have spoken again in collective hallowed voice through their 594,244 valid representatives. They first spoke in April 2007, but the forces of evil and organized ballot criminals quenched their hallowed voice temporarily until in February 2009 when some mortal angels in the temple of justice returned their sacred mandate to its rightful owner, having been emboldened by Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State and the State-based progressive democratic forces.

 
Lessons Learnt: One of the bitter lessons of organizing credible elections in Nigeria of late, such as the Ondo Election is the blatant refusal of the defeated politicians and their parties to accept defeat and use of some, if not many media establishments to discredit the credibility of such polls. Even when such media establishments are drafted to observe the elections and put their outcomes in black and white, the same media bodies go hell wire in discrediting the credibility of the said polls under the guise of hear the other sides and cash-and-carry journalism. Today, for reasons of parochial and material interests, defeated politicians, their parties and media collaborators have refused to adopt the natural and universal best parameters for determining credible polls and their results. It is correct to say that these malevolent political players never wish Nigeria and Nigerians to have credible elections and their results in their electoral industry.

 
The second bitter lesson is the trial of election cases on the pages of newspaper by lawyers hired by the defeated politicians and their parties. Court-room matters including election matters are like criminal investigations that strictly require confidentiality and authenticity to retain their substances. The raging Salami Scandal is a case in point. The undue uses of media by practicing lawyers make them the worst in litigation performance index. These lawyers are best described as 911 Lorry or Gwongworo lawyers. For instance, one of Nigeria’s new breed most creative and noiseless lawyers is Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN. He is hardly heard on the pages of newspaper in litigation matters, whether civil, criminal or electoral, yet he has turned out to be one of the Nigeria’s finest lawyers. On the other hand, the Nigeria’s most talkative lawyers are some, if not many of the Lagos-based SANs, who have also penetrated Abuja. Apart from getting fat briefs through media noise-making and litigating by media, their contributions towards the growth of law and rule of law in Nigeria are near-zero. They commit legal and professional blunders and turn them into objects for media and legal canonization. They function simultaneously as members of political parties, pro-democracy groups, civil rights groups and legal profession. The case of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, who was the NBA boss during the Salami Scandal of 2009/2010 with alleged ACN links and the party’s governorship candidate in the just concluded Ondo governorship poll, is a typical example. Also, the case of Ayo Isa Salami, who was the Appeal Court boss then, accused of being the ACN sympathizer, is a second typical example. Through the antics and exploits of these Lagos lawyers, some, if not many of the Apex and Appellate decided cases in the country are not socially developmental in comparison with their counter-parts in Brazil, Ghana, South Africa and the Scandinavian countries. They dominate national discourse on socio-economic salvation yet they are the same accomplices who collude with Nigeria’s master economic criminals to return the country back to cave. Nigeria’s statutory laws and case-laws are steadily retrogressive courtesy of her rogue members of outer, inner and bench Bars (talkative lawyers).

 
The third good lesson is that in no distance future, indiscriminate filing of elections petition cases in electoral courts in Nigeria will fizzle out if the polls’ outcomes continue to reflect the true wishes of the Nigerian people. For instance, most of the 1,695 existing Federal and State electoral seats in the country were judicially unrevoked after the 2011 general elections. Unlike in the previous elections where petitions were filed in almost all of them, a reasonable number of the said seats were not judicially contested, while most of those contested were judicially affirmed particularly the 31 governorship seats. These were and still are hugely attributed to a slight departure recorded in the 2011 general polls, from the usual armada of frauds that characterize the Nigeria’s electoral industry especially the previous rogue voter-register. It is our total submission that the July14 and October 20 staggered governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States are an appreciable improvement in Professor Attahiru Jega’s Nigerian election midwifery. It is our firm hopes that billions of Nigeria’s tax payers’ money spent directly and indirectly during elections seasons in election petitions cases will be maximally reduced in no distance time if elections continue to be credible. Kudos to INEC over the Ondo credible poll!

 
Why Ondo Poll Is Beyond Judicial Revocation, Salami Magic & Media Noise-making: Unlike in Osun and Ekiti States’ governorship election disputes which were resolved through Salami Magic, the Ondo State election litigation, from all intents and purposes, is judicially irrevocable. It is also immune from the viruses of Salami Magic. Not even media noise-making can alter the sacred decision of the respected Ondo voters. Judiciary as the bastion of the commoners cannot taint the hallowed electoral decisions of the Ondo people no matter the amount of media noise-making and threat of litigation by the defeated sectional political players, who blatantly refused to accept defeat banking on judicial one-chance. Also, the possibility of Salami Magic replicating itself in the instant case has been done a fatal blow by many emerging factors. For instance, by Section 285(2) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the governorship election tribunal is created and the governorship election petition originates therein; by Section 246(3) of the same Constitution, first appeal from governorship election matter lies at the Appellate Court; and by Section 233(2)(e)(iv) , it ends or terminates at the Supreme or Apex Court. By the provisions of Section 285(5) (6) and (7), filing of the governorship election petition takes 21 days after the date of the declaration of the official results (i.e.22/10/2012); the matter is originally heard and determined within 180 days at the tribunal; re-examined and disposed of at the Appellate Court within 60 days; and affirmed or rejected at the Apex within 60 days. The foregoing provisions are subject to exceptional circumstances such as retrials at the original electoral tribunal as may be so ordered superiorly. In all, the entire governorship matter is to last for 10 months, from the tribunal to the Apex Court.

 
So even if Salami Magic still holds sway at the tribunal and the Appellate Court, it may not see the light of the day at the Apex Court, which is a mirror through which the country’s judiciary performance index is viewed by the outside world. To avoid the hallowed mandate freely given by the Ondo people being a victim of technical justice, we advise the winner of the sacred mandate to scout for and assemble sound, creative and noiseless lawyers both Silk and non-Silk so as to judicially prove the authenticity of the sacred mandate within the confines of preponderance of probabilities or credible pieces of evidence and retain same with a view to holding it in competent trust for the people of Ondo State in the next four years. The Ondo governorship election outcome is a critical moment of assessment and re-assessment for the losers especially the Action Congress of Nigeria in its zone of grip it came abysmally third despite its thirst and raging policy of politics of malevolent ethnicity and exclusion as well as candidates’ imposition and assemblage of election riggers in its fold. It is shocking and deafening that the party is relegated to the background as the third most preferred party after PDP; a party some have described as , a celebrated party of rioters and brigands. For ACN to have lost Ondo State poll after it lost Kwara and Kogi States as well as all its governorship elections’ litigations arising from the 2011 general poll, means that its sectional policy, among others require radical review. Judicially speaking, the party’s victory in Edo State in 2008 is still worth celebrating, but its victories Osun and Ekiti States in 2010 are still seen by many as a coup using the hallowed temple of justice. Once again, we congratulate Citizens Peter Obi of Anambra State, Adams Oshiomole of Edo State and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State for their resilient judicial struggles to reclaim their stolen mandates from Nigeria’s unrepentant electoral criminals, who have been allowed to walk the country’s streets as free members of the society despite their heinous electoral crimes. Citizen Peter Obi is particularly commended for sleeping in electoral courts for almost three years in order to get back his brutally stolen mandate, which emboldened others to follow suit. The trio of Obi, Oshiomole and Mimiko are Nigeria’s three-pillared inventors of staggered election chemistry in the 21st century Nigeria.



 
We heartily commend INEC and the credible election monitors and observers including the media, the TMG and the Women Arise for their dogged roles that made the poll a success.

 
Signed:

 
Emeka Umeagbalasi, BOT Chairman
08180103912
umeagbalasi@yahoo.com,info@intersociety-ng.org

 
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi