On The Osun Forensic Controversy

As the brigandage, schemed by Obasanjo and implemented by that shameless dreg of a human being called Maurice Iwu happened last April, most Nigerians, beneficiaries and victims of that electoral heist alike, sounded an almost unanimous sentiment that favoured judicial intervention in the entire jaded exercise. To the beneficiaries, this is a time-honoured tactics that would succeed in wasting time, soothe frayed nerve and eventually end up giving judicial cover to the open and naked bizarre robbery. But to the victims of that unconscionable electoral perfidy, the judiciary demonstrated a rare spate of courage in determining some of the extant issues and machinations the forgers of that scam introduced as a prelude to the electoral banditry and would therefore affirm that indeed, time is gone when electoral robbers would go home and enjoy their loot.

So, it was natural that the next stop after the raw anger and bile generated by the electoral robbery had considerably ebbed, all headed to the various tribunals set up to determine the weighty evidences that were openly evident in the open sesame of fraud which the April 2007 election was turned into. Even as most Nigerians, albeit having faith in the judiciary, doubted its capacity to unshackle the huge monument of vice the election was, ab initio, programmed to be, there was this faint glimmer of hope that being Nigerians that witnessed and indeed, were affected by the brazen manner what was supposed to be an electoral contest was turned to one fiendish and deadly warfare that favoured the most astute of vagabonds, these judges would be firm, decisive, expeditious and thorough in helping the country deal with the creeping vice of electoral fraud, which the Obasanjo government and the PDP made an dominant mainstay of the country’s politics since 1999.

One state where open electoral sham was noticed was Osun where redoubtable activist and highly successful former Lagos State Works Commissioner, Rauf Aregbesola was pitted against the sitting governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a staid creation of Obasanjo’s desperate strategy to install his cronies in the South West states so as to create a fiefdom for himself. Oyinlola, who had an inglorious stint as Lagos State military administrator during the Abacha years, nursed a modest ambition to go to the senate in 2003 but was persuaded by Obasanjo to up his ambition to the governorship of the state. This was at a time the state was in political ferment following the brutal assassination of Chief Bola Ige and the determined effort of Obasanjo and his PDP, suspected of complicity in the murder of Ige, to take over the state. Like a soulless marionette he is, Oyinlola agreed, having been assured that the road would be cleared for him to become the governor despite the political tide prevalent in the state at that time, which never supported his success. The rest is now history as this choice lackey was literarily rail-roaded into the Osun State government house in a hurricane electoral sham that saw the man, standing principally accused for the murder of Ige gaining an senatorial seat in that nauseating heist.

When Aregbesola threw his challenge, he was able to mop up the dominant progressive sentiment in Osun that was seething with rage at the manner the so-called election was brazenly raped to return renegades who would have kept a date with the goals were the people in control of their affairs. Aregbesola’s candidacy was a practical hurricane that cut across all borders to wreck the fantasy and the wild hallucinations of Oyinlola that he had been accepted by the average Osun indigene after the electoral robbery of 2003. Aregbesola’s challenge ran the Oyinlola and the PDP camps real ragged as he moved from village to village and sparked an electric connection with the masses that returned with their wholehearted support. But the challenge was to meet the PDP in its desperate best, as it tried all tricks to contain Aregbesola and his burgeoning supporters. All forms of plots and theories were hatched into containing this raging knight of progressive rebirth in Osun but when all failed, Oyinlola and the colony of tired and besotted predators that congregated under the Osun PDP delved on the politics of denial, which was aimed at playing down the challenge of Aregbesola and the wide impact it was exerting in Osun State. The futility of this fact was proven when Ebenezer Babatope a renegade Awoist and political turncoat, confessed after the electoral roguery of April 2007, of how they were almost ran mad by Aregbesola’s campaign and acceptance in Osun State.

Under the command of Olusegun Obasanjo, a desperate manipulator, adult prankster and apostle of fraudulent impunity, the Osun gubernatorial election, like such similar exercises in the South West and indeed, all other parts of the country, became and anti-climax that was tailored to return all those that subscribe to the tenet that Nigerian political is integrally webbed with corrupt manipulation. This was the tenet that saw Oyinlola returned as governor of Osun State and lit a conflagrating tinderbox in Osun for many days after that scam. Aregbesola, not the least deterred by the disappointing conduct of the election and urged on by an intimidating mass sentiment, headed to the tribunals to prove to the entire world that, like in all states in Nigeria, what took place on April 14th in Osun State was a mere scam, brewed and enforced by a conscienceless and remorseless brood of vipers that predicate their own selfish profit on promoting raw and uncensored fraud on all sectors of national life.

Despite the huge welter of evidence he proffered, Aregbesola was armed with the will to go to any length to expose the genre of racketeers that have seized the country since 1999. So despite the huge costs involved, he enlisted the services of a foreign forensic expert, Adrian Forty, to give scientific fillip to his claim that Oyinlola and the PDP never won the election in Osun State on April 14th. All along, the tribunal in Osun headed by a certain Justice Naron pretended it was out to do justice in Osun and even with the tale tell signs that the tribunal was merely playing for time to favour the corrupt status-quo, Aregbesola soldiered on with his damning evidences. He tendered police reports, which confirmed that there was widespread manipulation in Osun State in April. He brought so many witnesses who attested that electoral rape was carried out by PDP mascots in Osun State. He then invited Adrian Forty to carry out a forensic examination of the ballot materials used for the manipulated exercise. An INEC, which saw the possibility of its house of fraud thrown open by such forensic test, fought tooth and nail to avoid such scrutiny. It waxed hostile to the forensic team and this prompted Aregbesola to seek an order of the tribunal to compel INEC to allow INEC to grant access to the materials to the forensic team and on August 14th 2007, such order was granted by the tribunal and the tedious exercise started, which saw the forensic expert physically examine and scan the electoral materials for onward forensic test in London. This took considerable time because INEC only reluctantly released the electoral materials in tranches.

After the test and with the forensic expert ready to give their evidence, the tribunal in very curious and suspicious manner, refused to take the evidence of the forensic experts pleading very watery reasons among which was that the tendering of the evidence fell foul of practice direction and that forensic evidence can only be tendered in extreme circumstances. Another sparse reason was the test was not carried out in Osun State even when Nigeria has no such facility! But beyond this, there is ample evidence that all these laughable reasons are veiled attempt to miscarry justice and ranks in mischief value with those the Ogebe kangaroo tribunal employed to slay justice in the infamous presidential election tribunal verdict. It is only predictable that having disavowed scientific proof of electoral fraud, the tribunal members are only clearing the way to decide justice on their manipulable and susceptible whims and this just takes the adoption of a dismissive, porous and vacuous phrase, ‘the petitioner has failed to prove his case beyond all reasonable doubts’ to bury and pervert the course of justice. There is nothing to suggest that the members of the tribunal are not the remnants of the Nigerian judiciary that has been smeared by detestable corruption and graft that they care no bloody hoot playing roulette with fates of the people, the country and its structures. Aregbesola has appealed to the higher court for this dawdy decision to be reversed and the forensic evidence taken and it is only proper that the tribunal should stay proceedings till the appeal court decides of his case, which was why he had so prayed the tribunal to down tools until he is through with his appeal over the forensic evidence. But because it seems the Naron tribunal is in a haste to finish its hatchet job, it has disallowed Aregbesola’s prayer and is heading to a predictable judgment that would certainly be a travesty of justice.

But let us pause to ponder. What has an upright and proper tribunal stands to lose by availing itself of every available variable in arriving at justice? What does a tribunal that aims at doing justice to a case lose by opening its flanks to tap from every indices that may assist it to arrive at truth, which is the main corpus of justice? Why does a party that still lays claim to victory fear forensic proof of its victory? What does an electoral body that thumps incessantly at its vice-ridden chest for doing a fair job stand to lose by subjecting its beautiful job to scientific scrutiny? What does a system; soiled, battered, desecrated and desperately neighing for sanity, lose by letting its flanks absorb forensic input in settling such contentious matters as electoral contests?

The tribunal in Ekiti State rightly answered these questions some days ago when it was faced with such similar choice as allowing forensic evidence to be tendered by the same Adrian Forty in the state’s gubernatorial contest or going the duplicitous way of the Osun tribunal. The Ekiti tribunal ruled that such evidence was necessary as no one stands to be injured by taking it. In such way, it exposes the duplicity of the Osun tribunal in its perverse and duplicitous effort to continue to sustain the specter of electoral roguery in Nigeria, continue benefiting rouges and scoundrels that believe that they would always benefit from electoral robbery, which gives them unfettered access to the common patrimony to loot and covet. The mid-life signals wafting from the Osun tribunal is enough to show where it is headed and Nigerians should not be surprised if it comes out tomorrow to rule against Aregbesola on the flimsy excuse that he ‘has not proved his case beyond all reasonable doubt’. It is the selfsame dubious excuse some judicial misfits have employed to frustrate the quest of Nigerians for electoral sanity and have succeeded in deepening the rot of electoral perfidy to benefit the most successful, the most astute and the annoyingly audacious rigger.

All said, what is happening with the forensic question in Osun State presently shows that this country needs to make haste to sanitize both the electoral process and the judiciary or else we are walking straight into the ways of Kenya. If the judiciary, despite some positive streaks in recent times, refuses to preen itself of soiled judges that see only through their corrupt prisms, this country will have to adjust to the reality that a Kenya or a Rawlings Ghana will soon be a reality in Nigeria. More than any people, such rouge governments as the one PDP has sustained in the past nine years, such rotten and smelly electoral bodies as the one the presently emits putrid odours of rot and such compromised judiciary as peopled by men like the Ogebes and the Narons make this reality so unavoidable.

Written by
Peter Claver Oparah
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