In Defense of the Distinguished Supreme Court

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

Since the Supreme Court rulings in the Amaechi case, the camp of the opinionated (which by the way remains just that) has since joined hands with the camp of the lawless to discredit the court. The later being lawless cabals have been victims of the fresh breathe of judicial activism and are fighting back with vengeance. One fellow who is the loudest thug in this group have since carved out a niche to desecrate anything that has the prefix Supreme in its name: all because of one judgment. Their motives are evil! The Supreme Court’s opinion is final and the law- you learn to live with it or ship out.

If I may inquire of you the holier than thou, where were you when PDP was illegally nominating candidates and abusing the personal liberties of others? Where were you when INEC was disobeying court orders and acting sub-judice just to corner the courts of the land? Did you protest? Did you lose sleep? Why are you now losing sleep when their wrongs are righted and the sins of the father is visited upon his perfidious children? So it is now that you have the courage to take the highest court of the land to the cleaners? Why does the courage fail you to stand up to tyranny? If you lack the courage, why do you then fault those that have seen it fit to stand up to the powers that be? Are you afraid the days of the status quo is gone and gone forever? Say the truth, does the idea of a fearless Supreme Court scare you to death?

Of course, I do not question the motives of the likes of Gani Fawehinmi but I do have serious problem with their line of argument and thought process. Imagine Gani saying Omehia actually won votes! Who is deceiving who or which country does Gani live in? Gani is a patriot don’t get me wrong but I think his sense of judgment is highly questionable in this matter and that is why I will recommend he stick to his day job as an activist lawyer! The likes of Gani should not be on the bench. He will implement Jim Crow laws all in the name of the letter of the law if need be. That is very dangerous for change in a society like ours: where the judiciary is our only hope of effecting positive reforms. I am also very curious why the same Gani that wrongly postulated that the Supreme Court need not intervene in an election issue in Anambra state (which actually was a tenure issue emanating from a constitutional question) now seek the same court intervention. Or were Gani and his crowd of loyalists (real and unreal) actually just being mischievous then as they are now? Of course, we shall ignore Gani’s antecedents in supporting illegal legislative procedures (and tyranny of the minority) in the Plateau State legislature all in the name of the end justifies the means. But all the same, Gani is the least of my gripe.

My opinion on this issue is simple. The Supreme Court was asked to grant Justice, and it did so in the best way possible. Its judgment was not perfect. In fact, it will never be. First, the Supreme Court had to work with a defective constitution simply because we have refused to belt up and do what is right to rewrite that moribund document. Secondly, the parties to the suit especially PDP and INEC took lawlessness to another level in such a way that any attempt to correct their unlawful action will involve breaking some law (or at least some parts of it). This left the Supreme Court with two options: to look away like they did after the 2003 elections and risk an exponential increase in the level of lawlessness as we saw this April or to break the law in the least manner possible while teaching the lawless a lesson they will never forget. The Court decided to go do the later. While some would have preferred that the SC allow injustice prevail by taking comfort in indifference like the Court of Appeal, it recognized that injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere. In choosing to break the law minimally the court had three options before it which I have itemized below for clarity:

A. To annul the election:

Pro: Everyone (including the lawless) is happy. PDP can get to re-rig while denying Amaechi his rightful primary platform. Net loser: Amaechi the man who was wronged. Con: Justice was not served. PDP in a funny way have won. Law broken: The Supreme Court has overreached. This is power grabbing at its best and disrespects the Tribunal constituted by the lower appellate court for this purpose resulting in judicial disharmony. This also sets an unusual precedence for chaos; the implication is that in the future if a party out of say the ten standing for an election presents a candidate illegally, the election can be validly cancelled even if the winner was legally nominated.

B. To Declare the Election Runners-up the Winner:

Pro: PDP and lawbreakers of INEC will have been effectively punished. Con: Chaos can break through the land with a series of political battle between the PDP thugs and the opposition. The sizeable PDP political machine will make the state ungovernable and insecure for the runners up. Law Broken: The Justices in this case like the first will be acting like Santa Claus. Again, no party before the court asked for this remedy, so how can they grant it? Indeed, the powers to grant election prayers do not reside with this court but the Tribunal and Court of Appeals.

C. To Declare Amaechi Governor:

Pro: The person whose right was abridged will get substantive justice at the expense of the law breakers in the short term. Con: Cry of illegitimacy and honest noise making as we already see. Law Broken: The law requires candidates running for office and who emerge winners be directly mentioned on the ballot is broken temporarily but can be remedied by the Elections Petitions tribunal. The Supreme Court knows Amaechi win will only be temporary as it is bound to be now.

It is obvious that when these options are placed on a balance and weighed critically, the third one was the best for the country but the later day agbero analysts will simply not get it! Indeed, it is my considered opinion that it is very essential that we preserve the sanctity of the Justices opinion in a nation with lawless proclivities like Nigeria

Indeed Gani’s gusty insertion (more so before the Justices views are public which is ridiculous for a man of silk) has invited some rather very rustic and tasteless language to be used by various commentators which I think is of dangerous dimension. Many with ulterior motives, whose real grouse is a real sense of danger to their political enterprise of corruption and perfidy that the current court is determined to bring down have since started calling the highest court in the land names so horrible you will think they were the ones that corrupted the system in the first place by acting illegally or sub-judice. Won’t we all have been better for it, if the elections in Rivers state like Kogi and Kebbi have been suspended up until this moment instead of the wuru-wuru to the answer elections we witnessed back in April? The court must not be rubbished and I refuse to participate in its rubbishing. Nigeria has the best Supreme Court in the world, and I will stand their record against any other in the world. They are bold, determined to reform a desperately corrupt system, and are capable of putting Nigeria permanently on the path of positive change! They are not mediocre- they are outstanding!

Of course, The SC is not perfect, but it is by far as close to perfection as you can get in Nigeria. Most of those writing all these garbage did not complain when OBJ and his gang were raping the constitution and creating this needless judicial logjam; but now suddenly they are rearing up their heads. The SC have to make justice and peace (very important) based on a faulty law filled with contradictions through no fault of theirs (they are no legislature that can amend it) and a lawless executive/political parties. They have three options: each of them with grave implications- what they have done is to go with the option with the least damage. Nigerians are good at criticism but slow at positive action. The SC has taken it upon itself to reform our country through judicial activism and they won’t do it without opposition even from citizens like Gani that mean well but will misunderstand them. I won’t advance the cause of the enemies of ordinary Nigerians by attacking the last stronghold of the oppressed people of Nigeria. As my lords please…so shall it be!

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