I don’t really know what to put as the title for this article. I felt so disillusioned, annoyed and frustrated that I had difficulty coming up with an appropriate title, so I decided that I will have to put the blame on the people of Oyo State (including me, of course) for allowing this to happen, whether I am justified in apportioning blame is another matter, but please forgive me.
In all honesty, the judgement did not catch me by surprise. The people of
And sure it was. The panel dismissed allegations of indictment following the Supreme Court’s decision in Amaechi vs INEC that only a court of law having criminal jurisdiction could hear and determine criminal charges levelled against a person and not an administrative panel of inquiry. The tribunal, while dismissing all allegations of intimidation, thuggery and violence, held that the petitioner failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and held that where a candidate failed to link an agent who perpetrated the violence to the candidate, his election cannot be nullified unless it can be proved that he authorised the act.
However, the fourth judge, Wali Bashir, in his dissenting judgment, ruled that the petitioner could not have shown more evidence having established existence of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and having shown that in 309 units out of 4,746 units, over 200,000 voters were disenfranchised which, if allowed, could have tilted the total result in the petitioner’s favour. Wali held that “If the nature of non-compliance gives undue advantage to the candidate who was declared as winner, then the proper thing to do would be to order a nullification and fresh election into the disputed area. It is obvious Alao-Akala enjoyed undue advantage on the issue of non-compliance.” He subsequently nullified the election of Governor Alao-Akala and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections.
Well, well, well. It was a majority decision, so we are back to square one and the status quo in
It is no use crying over spilt milk. I suppose the good and trampled people of Oyo State, who have, since 1999, never seen the dividends or progress of our new democratic dispensation, (Lam Adesina was useless, and Ladoja was clueless) will have to continue in that state until 2011, unless something very drastic changes in the attitude and commitment of Alao-Akala to the principles of good governance, service delivery and progressiveness to his people. But can the leopard ever change its spots? Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Therein lies the question and the problem. I sincerely wish I could be that optimistic, but I am not.
Shall we give the man, knowing how much baggage he’s carrying with him, the benefit of the doubt, and accept him for what he is, and hope that he will “do well”? Hear the Governor, after his (pyrrhic) victory, “We must always bear in mind that in truth, there is justice and in justice, there is truth. I congratulate you because this is a collective victory for the entire citizenry of
Please look at that last sentence about free mandate. He man is having a laugh, isn’t he? Who gave him a free mandate on April 14 2007? Not me, not a lot of people in
Speaking further, Alao-Akala vowed to continue to work for the progress and development of the state, while urging “all to go about their normal duties and shun any type of violent celebration or recrimination. There is a lot to be done. As the executive governor of Oyo State, I hold no grudge against anyone; as a principal stakeholder in the affairs of Oyo State, I admonish the opposition to join me in the urgent challenge to develop our state; and as a believer, I extend my hand of fellowship to all and sundry and express my unalloyed love to you all.”
A very noble speech indeed, which on the face of it, sounds very sincere. As he himself said, “there is a lot to be done”, (you damn right there is!) and he stressed the “urgent challenge to develop our state”. (Damn right again, but are you up to the task of bringing progress and development to the worst state in
And to put salt on the open wound and directly invoke the anger of the God Almighty, an interdenominational thanksgiving service is being held at the governor’s office. We can only imagine what is being thankful to God for. That he was successful in rigging the elections and stealing the peoples’ mandate? That he was begging for God’s forgiveness that so many people lost their lives because of his personal and inordinate ambition to become the Governor of Oyo State by all means? It is even possible that he will be asking for God’s guidance in the coming years to govern
Yes, Governor of Oyo State, the ball is fully in your court now. The Tribunal’s judgement has conferred on you some kind of dubious legitimacy, let us see how well you can disabuse our minds, disprove all the negative things about you; dispel all the rumours about you; prove to us that you were not a corrupt and bent policeman dismissed in disgrace by the Nigeria Police Force; prove to us that you are indeed capable of being a leader of men; prove to us that you have the ideas, the skills, the knowledge, the commitment, the sincerity of purpose, the ability and the capacity to develop Oyo State without hindrance or subjugation to some Godfather.
Promise me and the people of Oyo State that you will ensure progress in Ibadan and that our money or allocations will neither find its way to Molete nor into your pockets and the pockets of your hangers-on; our water taps have been dry for the past 20 years; the roads are the worst in the country; there are no industries in the state that will provide jobs; government-owned industries are not working; there are no lights; the big cities of Oyo State are no more than glorified hamlets, with no industrial development and progress whatsoever, neglected over the years by the selfish bickering of political gladiators like yourself; our hospitals are no more than killing grounds and a place to die rather than receive treatments and medical care; our schools are just mere compounds which our children go to and learn virtually nothing to help them deal with the world at large, because there are no books, desks, learning materials, libraries, science laboratories, sports grounds, etc; even teachers are not paid their salaries on time while leaders like you ensure yours is paid and the money meant to pay teachers and other civil servants on time are embezzled; pensioners have not been paid for years; open sewage bringing disease and pestilence to our people. Need I go on?
The Governor himself said that it is a challenge and that there is a lot to be done. Well he is very right, but that is putting it mildly. It is a Herculean task, a monumental challenge which can only be undertaken by a man of conscience and with a sincerity of purpose, a good, effective and committed team, and no political distractions, lots of goodwill, no corruption, unalloyed focus and good governance.
The question is: Can Bayo Alao-Akala do it, or can the people around him let him do it? Does he have the idea at all of what needs to be done, rather than just playing politics with the lives of people, while playing to the gallery with speeches that were written for him by well-paid sycophants and hangers-on? Will he put revenge aside and concentrate on governance? Is he aware of, and does he have any remorse about what his ambition has caused to the people of
In a way, I pity the man, for he has utterly nowhere to go or to hide. This tribunal victory and his continuous stay in Government House and Office are either going to expose him furthermore as a corrupt and inept politician, or as an aberration in the seat of power in
God, history and posterity and the people of