12-12-12 means extra time


Emeka Obasi

We are in a for more time following the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as President – Elect by Mahmood Yakubu’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It is quite an interesting result which I believe will help the democratic process.

Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) went into battle as defending champions. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar led the battle tested Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP). Late entrant, Mr. Peter Obi and his Labour Party have now turned from green horns to title contenders.

Make no mistakes about it, the battle is not over. With each of the three musketeers winning in twelve states, it is safe to say that everything ended in a draw. We have never witnessed this kind of keen contest in the political field.

In soccer, when a game ends in a draw, the rule says there will be extra time. If the duel is still stalemated after over time, the teams go into penalty kicks. Sudden Death is applied when there is no victor at the end of the mandatory penalty kicks.

It is refreshing that an aggrieved party has the freedom to approach the court after an election. Obi and his supporters, the Obidients, are turning to the judiciary to get what, according to them, was denied the Labour Party by INEC.

It is constitutional to go the whole hog. The Supreme Court has the final say in such gargantuan electoral matter. And as things stand now, the apex court is quite different. There, we have judges who for the first time in known History stood up for their rights when they felt shortchanged.

I am presenting to the world the Revolutionary Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Olukayode Ariwoola was sworn in as Chief Justice of Nigeria ( CJN) on June 27, 2022 following the resignation of Justice Tanko Muhammad.

Muhammad’s resignation followed a long letter written by fellow Justices of the Supreme Court over their squalid working conditions. I thought only Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo understood the art and power of writing piercing missives.

The Judges, men and women, worshipped as Lords, include Musa Dattijo Mohammed, Kudirat Kekere – Ekun, John Inyang Okoro, Chima Centus Nweze, Amina Adamu Augie, Uwani Musa Abba Aji, Mohammed Lawal Garba and Helen Ogunwumiju.

Justices Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Tijjani Abubakar and Emmanuel Akomaye Agim complete the list. These judges did not get to the top through kangaroo judgments. They have red blood flowing in their veins like all of us, I can say that again.

Not many know that Justice Nweze is an ex- Seminarian. Kekere may mean small in Yoruba, but Justice Kekere- Ekun is not afraid of big cases. Justice Abba Aji is home in Gashua, the small town in the North-East with a big jail house.

I keep an eagle eye on some people. Justice Agim and I share the same April 26 birthdate. He was Chief Justice of the Gambia, a position that many Nigerians have enjoyed begining from Justice James Omo- Agege in the early 1970s. Agim was also a Supreme Court Justice in Swaziland. Someday, we will share drinks at the Obudu Cattle Ranch.

Give it to Justice Okoro. In 2016, he was arrested by the secret police on allegations of corruption. At the end, they found nothing against him and the gentleman was reinstated. That is a plus. He is one of the wise men that may eventually decide the winner of the February 25, 2003 presidential Elections.

Labour Party leader Peter Obi has something with the court. On March 15, 2006 he became governor of Anambra State after the Appeal Court sacked Chris Ngige.

On November 3, same year, Obi was impeached by 15 members of the Anambra State House of Assembly led by Speaker Mike Balonwu. In February 2007, an Appeal Court judgment restored him.

Chief Judge of Anambra State, Chuka Okoli who appeared not to be so impartial was eventually fired by the National Judicial Council ( NJC).

Democracy owes so much to Obi. On January 18, 2007, Justice Idris Kutigi became the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The jurist made the judiciary bite. Impeached Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye was reinstated.

Obi refused to contest the 2007 gubernatorial elections. INEC declared Andy Uba winner and he was sworn in on May 29. Obi went to court. On June 14, the Supreme Court fired the governor and asked Obi to complete his tenure in 2010. On October 25, the same apex court ruled that Rotimi Amechi, not Celestine Omehia, was governor of Rivers State.

This present Nigerian Supreme Court has women you cannot toss around. Kekere – Ekun, Augie, Abba Aji and Ogunwumiju. They remind me of Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, the Lagos High Court judge who ruled that the Interim Government of Ernest Shonekan was illegal.

We may be looking towards the Supreme Court, this Revolutionary Supreme Court of Activists and Amazons, to do the job of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) on the presidential elections.

****@ Saturday VANGUARD.

hoth guest post