TheNews Vs Kalejaiye: The Stinking Judicial Romance In Osogbo


The Lagos-based popular newsmagazine ‘TheNews’, whose motto is “Defining the present, Shaping the future”, stirred a huge national controversy by its last week’s edition captioned: “The Scandal of Judges: How Osun Tribunal Was Compromised”. The magazine reported shocking communication romance between the Osun State Governor’s principal attorney and the state first Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Thomas D. Naron.

According to the magazine Barrister Adekunle Kalejaiye (SAN) has been exchanging discreet telephone conversations and SMS text messages with both Justices Naron and Ekanem with incontrovertible material evidence to back up its investigation.

Both Gov. Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s press secretary and lawyer Kalejaiye have since been running from pillar to post defending themselves by seeking to rubbish ‘TheNews’ image. And ‘TheNews’, confident of its track record and iron-cast proof at its disposal, has refused to be silent in the face of misguided propaganda of those standing accused.

This week therefore it has followed up the story with other facts daring those ‘indicted’ for litigation. In the current edition which has in its cover “The Desperate Lies of a Lawyer” the editors sought to tacke Kunle Kalejaiye and the many lies he hit town with.

“TheNews” magazine has a tradition of robust, radical and investigative journalism. In the last fifteen years of its existence it has re-positioned and re-branded the Nigerian journalism. The founding team led by Bayo Onanuga has paid a huge price in the intervening years ever since they hit the newsstand in 1993. Generals Ibrahim Babangida and late Sani Abacha tried unsuccessfully to ‘kill’ ‘TheNews’ dream but fifteen years on Onanuga and co has survived every storm with concomitant tears and wears.

The journalistic tenacity and courage of ‘TheNews’ magazine can only but be commended here. In any thriving democratic environment the majesty of the fourth estate of the realm cannot be under-estimated. The Nigerian media generally are doing a great job in a difficult clime. But for their vigilance and constant coverage of the daily perfidy of politicians back home hope for a better nation would have since flown out of the country’s future window.

When Salisu Buhari, the disgraced former Speaker of the House of Representatives was exposed by the magazine for forgery and perjury he had sought vainly to use official intimidation and other means to discredit ‘TheNews’ scoop but he fell eventually from his undeserved plum perch when ‘TheNews’ people were vindicated in the end. And when Andy Uba, the powerful ex-presidential aide, had his academic fraud exposed by the magazine in an edition aptly captioned “Andy Uba: The Face of a Fraud” the Uba camp, targeting then the Anambra government house, simply mobilized themselves and bought off the newsstands the last copy of the ‘offensive’ edition thereby denying avid readers the opportunity of having copies to read. But the online edition was widely digested.

Against the background of this judicial scandal which has seen many prominent Nigerians including Prof. Wole Soyinka intervening forcefully and in accord with the general negative expectation the first Osun Election Petitions Tribunal has delivered judgement in Oyinlola’s favour! Justice Naron dismissed the AC candidate’s prayers on the ground that the petitioners did not “present credible evidence to substantiate their claims”! What about the forensic evidence mister Justice Naron?

The Tribunal verdict has brought this democracy to a legal and moral crossroads. And exposed the desperate mercantilism of lawyers. It is more about what rules are sacred in this abused democracy in our motherland. The power of modern technology has contributed positively immensely as a factor. What we have seen in the Rauf Aregbesola/Olagunsoye Oyinlola guber tussle is about the triumph of technology over the crude electoral manipulations of Nigerian politicians.

Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola runs a fascist regime in Osun State, a masked fascism which tolerates little or no dissent, one that has its roots in his military pedigree. Oyinlola represents the military vestige in our body polity. With him in this ignoble class are Senators David Mark, Tunde Ogbeha and Gov. Murtala Nyako and others. With General Obasanjo in power from 1999 to 2007 these retired but untired corrupt military elements chose to join the political fray with a purely military mindset of egocentric ‘bloody civilian’ conquest, a poisoned mindset that respects nothing democratic but demands absolute respect and subservience.

Like ‘Governors’ Segun Oni of Ekiti, Olusegun Agagu of Ondo, Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo and Gbenga Daniel of Ogun states Olagunsoye Oyinlola did not win any gubernatorial election in his Osun state last year. He was put there by the PDP rigging machinery. That is what the AC and its flag bearer wanted to prove scientifically but was stopped by a heavily compromised election petition tribunal led by Thomas Naron. Now we know better how and why they ordered forensic evidence to be produced and when it was gathered and was about to be presented the Tribunal suddenly refused its admission.

A judiciary that produced the likes of late Bassey Ikpeme (Ms) and Dahiru Saleh, anti-June 12 judges, cannot be seen generally as having purged itself of some charlatans within, crude and crooked minds who dispense justice for pecuniary gains.

In the end what we have had delivered today is nothing but a stinking verdict from a stinking election petition tribunal in Osogbo Osun State. No one with a discerning mind is fooled or impressed by this verdict that seeks to re-inforce wide-spread skepticism about the credibility of those charged with the responsibility of doing electoral justice in the hallowed temple of justice. Alas Justices Naron and Ekanem have written their names in the judicial hall of shame which already has signatures of the likes of Ikpeme and Saleh and others.

Only God knows how much of Osun taxpayers’ money that has been wasted in bribing Justices Naron and Ekanem in Oyinlola’s desperate dictatorial bid to remain in power in Osogbo by hook or by crook. But we can guess that millions if not billions of naira has exchanged hands in the past months — tailored towards subverting electoral justice and democracy in Osun State — as Kalejaiye and co sought to fix electoral justice in favour of their principal.

Now that they have ‘won’ our democracy and the rule of law/due process mantra of President Yar’Adua suffer more deadly blows. All hail the PDP and their winning strategies!

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1 comment

Tunde Adedoyin July 18, 2008 - 5:36 am

This is an apt view of what actually transpired in Osun State, Nigeria. But like Nigerians say, God dey. When the day of reckoning comes, some of us will laugh while those who did not know what went on then would call us sadists. Like Abacha and co, everyman will pay for his transgressions but sometimes, some escape unpunished and their children have to pay for those sins. Too bad, God does not punish sinners immediately.


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