Yar’adua’s Grouse With Court Rulings

by Peter Claver Oparah

Suddenly, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is finding his voice. Suddenly, he seems to be in a big hurry to discard the tag of see-nothing-bad, do-nothing president who hugs the conspiratorial garb of inaction while Nigeria burns. He seems to be in a hurry to shell out and seize the public space after he attempted to employ silence to evade his real public perception as just same of the same. Yar’Adua must have been advised to source motion in appearing defiant and tough, as his mischievous benefactor was wont to do. Coming shortly after the gritty battle to ease off a Speaker that jabbed her itchy finger in the public till and kept a straight face about it with Yar’Adua hiding under the guise of safeguarding the independence of the arms of government to evade offering a voice while that shameful play unfurled, there is no doubt that Yar’Adua feels scandalized that his outing in the Ettehgate scandal needs some possible redemption. When we remember that Yar’Adua’s representative in the House of Representatives, who was reported to be one of his closest confidants dropped dead waving the bandana of corruption for the disgraced Speaker, it is not difficult locating what drove Yar’Adua’s public silence as the first real litmus test of his integrity presented itself after he failed the one that came with coveting a stolen presidency. There should have been nothing wrong with Yar’Adua speaking, as often as is necessary but there is everything wrong with Yar’Adua’s manner of public speech perhaps because they always seem obtuse from the people’s expectation.

Last week, Yar’Adua was at a forum with the governors where he claimed that his government does not face any legitimacy problem. Beautiful! And you wonder why he is desperately poaching into the greed of Ume Ezeoke-led faction of the ANPP and Orji Kalu’s PPA and luring them into a nebulous government of national unity when he had a moonslide victory in the sham election his predecessor wrought in April. The other day, he fell short of telling the Nigerian judges that they are being influenced by mass sentiment in most of the recent judgments, especially those that border on electoral disputes. While I would not waste much time on the earlier, tongue-in-cheek gaffe of a man that is struggling to maintain a balance between the dubious cloak of integrity sewn for him by a dubious con man and retaining his stolen loot, I will try to look into Yar’Adua’s later statement that purports to indict judges for appealing to mass sentiment in their recent decisions. For this, we can draw much for what Yar’Adua left unsaid in his address at the judges’ conference.

There is no doubt that Yar’Adua is deeply dissatisfied that things are going the way they are going in the country’s courts and if he had more legitimacy, he would have constituted himself into a higher court as his guile-wracked predecessor did as his lawless and Byzantine reign lasted. In making this contention, we should note that apart from one or two symbolic postures here and there, Yar’Adua is yet to come to grips with the fact that the deep-rooted house of fraud his predecessor built is due for dismantling. From INEC to NNPC, to PHCN, to the ministries, to the NPA, down to the BPE, all the vital incubation and breeding vaults of corruption Obasanjo and his minions employed to rob and shortchange this country are still intact. There has been no attempt to audit or probe the scandalous acts that hobbled this country for eight years. In essence, Yar’Adua was imposed to safeguard these corruption-breeding institutions from harms way and his grouse with judges that seek to reverse cases of electoral fraud is that they reach at the core of the stolen commission he and his fellow puppets are basking in. So, if Yar’Adua has all along been eating and cavorting with a stolen mandate, there is virtually nothing to suggest that he does not relish the aroma of the dish he eats from and should naturally feel uncomfortable that the judges are rising to the need to reverse despicable cases of electoral robbery that defaced the country’s democratic aspiration last April. There is no doubt that Yar’Adua prefers the courts allow the grand electoral robbers and the beneficiaries of the country’s monumental electoral heist go home and enjoy their loot while the citizenry pine in unending trauma of enduring a brood of impostors that take suzerain liberty with the commonwealth to the pain and sorrow of all. There is no doubt that when Yar’Adua was yodeling about irregularities in the process that threw him up and urging aggrieved parties to go to the tribunals, he was just being sly like his dubious predecessor and hoping that the courts would, as usual, maintain the status quo and the aggrieved parties will sulk home and await another grand charade in 2011. It is apparent from Yar’Adua’s quarrel with popular decisions of the courts that he does not, in the least, believe in his much vaunted aphorism of respect for the rule of law but is only handicapped by the realisal that he is still decked in borrowed coats and straining himself to interfere with the courts will only exacerbate the legitimacy crisis he is enmeshed in.

Yar’Adua, by his contention is of the feeling that the decisions of the law courts need not elicit mass acceptance of the type that have followed most of the decisions of the courts in recent times. To him, the more court decisions depart from the general expectance of the people, the more right it is in law. To Yar’Adua, the courts can do well by pandering to the whims and caprices of a select few and displeasing the masses for them to look right. To him, the law should rather than elicit mass gloom than spark mass satisfaction. To Yar’Adua, the judges would be doing the right thing when they offer comfort to vote robbers and inheritors of stolen mandates like him for it to be right. The law must offer comfort to such reprobates like Andy Uba, who are closet friends of Yar’Adua and his benefactor than allow the people’s wish to prevail for it to be seen right. The law must protect fraudulent electoral victories such as the one Yar’Adua is cashing on now for it not to be seen as being influenced by mass sentiment. To Yar’Adua, the law must attend to the gluttony for power and official perks of a select crop of mandarins than give joy and feeling of satisfaction to the public for it to be seen as right and proper. To Yar’Adua, public sentiment is taboo in what is judicially right and a continuation of the tradition of ignoring the feelings of the people in determining judicial cases makes law tick.

I don’t know what should be the grouse of Yar’Adua with recent progressive decisions of Nigerian courts, especially the higher courts if he truly relishes the deceptive populist apparel he coveted when he ran his colorless quest for the nation’s presidency. I don’t know what bones a self-proclaimed servant leader has to pick with judgments that spark mass joy and acceptance if he is not another pretender that is not different from the very cabal that forced him on all of us. I don’t know why Yar’Adua feels that mass sentiment should not be taken into consideration in deciding cases in Nigerian courts. Yar’Adua is only being true to type in wishing that Nigerian judges continued padding the excesses and misdemeanors of this cabal, of which he is a gold card member. Truth is that Yar’Adua neither sees himself as anybody’s servant leader nor does he believe all the fairy tales of integrity that was suddenly concocted as his sudden presidential desire was provoked. He is yet to answer to the query of what he left in Katsina State after eight years in power or how he managed to make close to a well-doctored one billion Naira in eight years just by servant-leading a penury-ravaged Katsina State. He is yet to fill in the loose gaps in his heavily-talcumed campaign image, which is in dissonance with his noticeable actions. He is yet to explain the paradox of how the only ‘sincere and honest governor’ in 1999 to 2003 Nigeria, was so honest to covet the fruits of a badly manipulated electoral process and is basking in the allure of such stolen mandate.

What Yar’Adua’s recent postures, as espoused in his recent public speeches show is that Nigerians should brace up for grittier days ahead. I am sure the judges never hearkened to Yar’Adua’s strange postulations that the ‘right’ judgments are those that displease the whole and please a few. I am sure that the Nigerian judges are on an irrevocable commitment to ensure that court judgments meet the basic expectations of Nigerians. I am sure that the judges listening to Yar’Adua were convinced that he was just one of the impostors that stand to be weeded away by the emerging judicial activism that is sweeping through the judiciary presently. I am sure that Nigerian judges know that Yar’Adua with all his contradictory web of incongruities trailing him is the least person to prescribe what is judicially right for them. Above all, I believe that Nigerian judges realize that what would best serve the ends of justice is the dismantling of the façade on which Yar’Adua mounts his hypocritical sermons that are meant to safeguard his loot and those of his friends. In other words, I believe that Nigerian judges realize that Nigerians are baying for more of those decisions that are backed by massive mass sentiments. These are what safeguards the efficacy of the courts, replenishes the trust of the people in the judiciary and ensures this country is not turned into an enclave for unconscionable scoundrels that source protection from the law.

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