It is not surprising that the Supreme Court judgment on the Presidential election petition appeal filed by Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) went in favour of President Umaru Yar’ Adua. The President who had earlier conceded that the April 21, 2007 election was marred by irregularities and flaws was declared the winner of the Presidential election by the Supreme Court which is the final arbiter.
However, there was no correlation between the decision of the court to uphold President Yar’ Adua’s election and his admission that the 2007 Presidential election was marred by irregularities. Furthermore, the split decision of the Supreme Court justices over the matter brought before them showed that the verdict was wrong. The nature of the Presidential election petition is too critical to be won by a narrow escape. Four justices were reported to have upheld the election while three justices nullified the election and ordered a fresh election.
The PDP and the judiciary together have been subverting the electoral will of the people; this is simply because the judiciary is tied to the apron strings of the PDP. The Nigerian judiciary has never acted on its powers to declare any presidential or executive action unconstitutional since the President appoints federal judges. The verdict of the governorship election in Edo State which saw the emergence of Comrade Adams oshiomhole as the governor was reported to have been in favour of the former labour leader due to the rift within the state PDP. Hence, the Supreme Court judgment is a proof of an already known judgment. Nigerians already knew where the table would turn because the judiciary is not independent.
Since the last nine and half years, rigging has become a major part of the PDP modus operandi in every election, be it at the state or national level. They have corrupt state officials who are the rigging machines used to carry out their nefarious activities and to make matters worse; Justice Tobi was reported to have said in an argument that “because Nigeria is a vast country made up of so many diversities in terms of tribes, culture, sociology, anthropology and many political parties, there must always be irregularities.” It is sad to learn that a statement like this is coming from a justice of the Supreme Court. No wonder the PDP through its National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali is calling on Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) to defect to the PDP. The President’s victory has shown that the PDP can rig elections in Nigeria and get away with it. Prof. Alkali further stated in newspaper report that “the Supreme Court judgment confirms the endorsement of the Nigerian people of Yar’ Adua” but if Nigerians elected the President in every sense of the word, would a sane man challenge at the court the credibility of the process that brought him to office?
The Presidency on the judgment day was also reported to have summoned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro over fears that the Supreme Court judgment validating President Yar’ Adua’s election might trigger violent backlash but again, this call would not have been made by the presidency if the PDP presidential candidate in the April 21, 2007 election was truly voted by Nigerians. President Yar’ Adua’s victory is therefore undeserved and man-made in view of the massive rigging which characterized the 2007 presidential election.
The failure of the Bush administration in the United States of America is a consequence of a narrow escape by political leaders whose elections were neither free nor fair. The Yar’ Adua administration will no doubt have failed in moving Nigeria forward at the end of its tenure because the president lacks the basic insight of how to develop the nation. His optimism that the recent judgment would catapult his administration to provide greater service to the country is unfounded besides the president’s scorecard after about one and half years in office shows that nothing good can be expected. This is probably the reason why majority of Nigerians wanted somebody else to steer the ship of the country rather than a self-imposed president.
It is a shame that the judiciary which was regarded as the last hope of the common man has been tainted with a bad image by the Supreme Court judgment in the presidential election petition. The verdict will definitely encourage more lawlessness and rigging in future elections. The Supreme Court of Nigeria has indeed lost its esteem and respect with the pervasiveness of its judgments. The report of the National Electoral Reforms Committee which the President said he was determined to implement would make no difference besides a man who has benefited from a defective electoral law has no moral right to reform the Nigerian electoral system.