The die is cast as the litigations at the courts occasioned by INEC’s seemingly contrived ‘glitch’ as well as its ineptitude have commenced. Remarkably, the elections which ordinarily would have been free and fair through the use of technological innovations [BVAS, IReV and real-time e-transmission of results] were botched.
Currently, the country is on edge and the brouhaha that has enveloped the country would have been avoided; SANs are having a field day.
Incidentally, Nigeria has trodden the same path in the past when senior lawyers held contrasting opinions with regard to 12 2/3 of 19 States. Why did the courts not deem it necessary to invite as amicus curiae, revered Prof Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate of English Literature and/or Very Rev Fr [Prof] Nicholas Akwanya, Prof of English and Literary Studies/former Dean of Postgraduate Studies at UNN [first class graduate of National University of Ireland] for elucidation of the coordinating conjunction ‘and’ of 25% of FCT, Abuja as was done with late Prof Ayodele Awojobi [first class graduate of Imperial College London], the Engineering genius at UNILAG that addressed the court during the contentious 12 2/3 conundrum of 19 States in Awolowo v Shagari suit of 1979?
The erudite Professors [Soyinka and/or Akwanya], if invited, would have availed the court the exactitude of the conjunction ‘and’ concerning 36 States of the Federation and FCT, Abuja which decidedly would have been unassailable rather than the disparate interpretations of the senior members of the bar, inclusive of SANs – the Agbakobas, Falanas, Osopitans, Maliks, Ozekhomes, Ajulos [not yet a SAN but in this year’s list], etc – please see This Day newspaper publication of 7th March, 2023 or in the alternative, browse the net, www.thisdaylive.com on the topic; “Is 25% of FCT Votes Required To Win a Presidential Election?
Besides, it is expedient to read Dr. Olukayode Ajulo’s treatise on 25% of FCT in Sahara Reporters of 26th March, 2023 or browse the net, saharareporters.com on the same topic. In a similar vein and for a balanced view, it would be necessary to read the interesting/intellectual exposition and rejoinder by Prof Mike Ozokhome, SAN in the NigeriaLawyer of 29th March, 2023 or browse thenigerialawyer.com – ‘Finding The Bodmax X in Mathematics of 25% Of The FCT, Abuja.’
However, it may or may not represent the intendment of the framers of the 1999 Constitution but would be the correct position which subsequently may necessitate a bill by the National Assembly for an amendment of the word ‘and’. There is no gainsaying the fact that lawyers are ‘stewed’ in jurisprudence but Prof Awojobi was considered an expert in the mathematical conundrum of 1979 while Profs Soyinka and Akwanya are numero uno with regard to coordinating conjunction of ‘and’.
It is germane to mention that equity and fairness have flown out of the window with regard to rulerships of the national and subnational governments. Is it not considered necessary to enshrine in the Constitution ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY between North and South and also, by extension zonal rotation to prevent a repetition of South West doing an encore as Tinubu has done by ascending the throne despite Obasanjo’s Presidency thus denying other Southern zones, particularly South East zone of taste of the pudding?
What is the guarantee that North West zone will not usurp the Presidential slot considering its number of States/numerical strength when it rotates to the North at the detriment of North Central or North East zone if the Rotational Presidency is not legislated by the National Assembly with the concurrence of States’ Assemblies? If other zones are continually muscled out by South West and North West in occupation of Aso Rock what are the implications for the politically oppressed/suppressed zones vis a vis the avowed claim of inclusivity/sense of belonging? It follows therefore that the oppressed zones can only occupy Aso Rock when pigs fly or until the cows come home. What are the possible remedies?
If 2 terms each for a zone are considered too long given the envisaged rotation should the National Assembly not set in motion machinery for amendment of the Constitution for a term of only 5 years to enable every zone swim in Aso Rock waters? Proverbs 16:12 admonished: ‘We must practise justice as it is what makes a nation strong.’ Should Nigeria not embrace JUSTICE, EQUITY and FAIRNESS to avoid the avoidable road travelled by Yugoslavia before its disintegration into many countries?
As what obtains at the Federal seat of power is routinely replicated in States should the same rotation not be enshrined in the Constitution to enable other Senatorial zones also luxuriate in State Governors’ houses rather than successors from the same zones being foisted at the whims and caprices of some imperial Governors? However, it must be acknowledged that some of the States are already practising rotation but other Senatorial zones in some States have used their superior numbers to ensure oppression/marginalisation and retention of the prized diadem.
World history has shown that INJUSTICE, MARGINALISATION and INSTITUTIONALISED OPPRESSION do not last forever and almost always have expiry dates. Regrettably, nepotism, cronyism and prebendal politics became recurring decimals and were elevated during Buhari’s regime and such fatuous actions do not augur well for the fabric of our country. Nigerian needs obviation of Buhari’s shenanigans and should not be sustained by Tinubu and his acolytes. Martin Luther King stated: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny, whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” The time to act is NOW…