Barr. Remi Olatubora SAN, have applauded the decision of the Executive Governor of Ondo State Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN for the reappointment of four commissioners…
- Supreme Court And Its Abracadabra Judgements
By Wale Adegoroye
My first prayer for every reader of this article is that none of you shall ever embark on any journey with an unfortunate fellow. Import of the words of this prayer might not have deep impression on many readers, however, Mr David Lyon will definitely have a better of understanding of what it means to partner with an unfortunate fellow. I truly pity David Lyon. Nothing could be more heartbreaking than the reality of Lyon having his hope of being sworn-in as the 5th Executive Governor of Bayelsa State fizzled away before his very eyes for no fault of his.
All necessary arrangements have been put in place for the inauguration of David Lyon and that of his unfortunate deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo. Advanced security party of President Muhammadu Buhari were already in Bayelsa ahead of the president’s attendance of the inauguration. However, the Supreme court came with its seeming magical judgment once again in less than 24 hours to the inauguration ceremony of David Lyon.
Supreme court on Thursday, February 13 invalidated the candidature of APC David Lyon and his deputy in the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa State gubernatorial election and ordered INEC to immediately issue a certificate of return to Senator Douye Diri of the PDP. David Lyon clearly and convincingly won the election with 352,552 votes, compared to Duoye Diri who managed to garner 143,172 votes. The five justices of the Supreme court led Her Lordship, Mary Odili premised their action on the established inconsistencies in the credentials of Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, the deputy governorship candidate of David Lyon.
What appears preposterously confusing to me in the apex court judgement was the fact that it chose to punish Lyon for no fault of his. Yes, I agree with the Supreme court justices that candidates are sponsored by political parties and David Lyon and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo ran on the same ticket. Meanwhile, if the adjudged infraction of Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo could infest the candidature of David Lyon; then, James Faleke should have also benefited from the sudden demise of Abubakar Audu with whom he ran on the same joint ticket.
I doubt my competent qualification to put holes in the justices dispensed by the revered justices of the supreme court. Nevertheless,
inconsistencies noticed in the judgements of the apex court has made it inevitable for a layman like me to raise questions. I quite agree with the late justice Chukwudifu Oputa that the apex court is actually supreme but not infallible. Without doubt, I am tempted to posit that the evidenced infallibility of the apex court is assuming a worrisome dimension. Democracy is a system of government that allows the electorates to chose their leaders. Regretably, what we now have in Nigeria is an unfortunate system whereby ‘courtocracy’ is fast replacing democracy.
A situation where popularly elected state governors are being magically replaced with unpopular ones by the Supreme court portends a dangerous trend for the nation’s democracy. The laws are clear and should be made sacrosanct. But, dispensation of judgments that affect the lives and destinies of millions of people should be made consistent with the judicial precedences set by the Supreme court itself. A situation where magical figures brought before the apex court by the lawyers of Hope Uzodima had led to the sack of Emeka Ihedioha in Imo State is suspect in my opinion. A judicial circumstance whereby the infraction of Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo who ran on a joint political party ticket with Lyon could only infest; while the unexpected demise of Abubakar Audu who also ran on a joint ticket could not benefit James Faleke is not in any way acceptable.
Having stated the above position, it will be wrong for us as a nation to allow injustice to keep thriving on the account of supremacy of the apex court. It will not be out of place in these situations if the Supreme court is reviews its decisions and possibly reverse itself where necessary. The essence of a law court is to ensure that the cause of justice is served and seen to have been done. But, has the cause of justice been really served in the recent political cases dispensed by the apex court?
In a way, the judgement of Supreme court will henceforth put political parties on their toes. Going forward, political parties will give premium attention to due diligence while screening all their candidates. Nothing could be more devastating than a situation where the hard earned victory of one political party is carelessly handed over to another one on account of fielding candidates with questionable qualifications. The All Progressive Congress (APC) has sadly paid the price of its failure to ensure due diligence in the governorship election of Bayelsa State. I stand to be corrected that David Lyon would have still won the election with a wider margin of votes without Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo on the ticket. An average Bayelsan was dissatisfied with Seriake Dickson at the time of the election, therefore David Lyon would have still coasted to landslide victory even if he had contested with a goat that has genuine credentials. Really, what value has the deputy governorship candidate brought to Lyon and APC? Rather, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo had only provided
a contentious ground for the Supreme court to hand over the victory of APC to PDP.
Recent judgments of the supreme court should also serve as a wake up call to all political parties in Nigeria. The parties are expected not to ever to take anything for granted again. Perhaps, Emeka Ihedioha of PDP may not have been sacked if his team of lawyers had done a better job. Also, APC may not have lost Zamfara State to the opposition PDP if an acceptable primary elections had been conducted within the stipulated time by the electoral law. The recent judgments of the apex court had clearly sent a definite message to all political parties that imposition of candidates, impunity by party leaders and careless disregard for electoral law will always turn round to hunt the party.
One Ilaje gospel musician once sang that before we embark on any journey, deep thoughts should be given to whom we choose to make our partner. The partner of David Lyon in Bayelsa State governorship election has unfortunately turned out to be the reason why Duoye Diri had been sworn into office as the 5th Executive Governor of the state on Valentine day, February 14 in the place of Lyon. What a wicked Valentine day gift from Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo to David Lyon ! The crested seat of Bayelsa Governor that once appeared so close to David Lyon has now suddenly become a mirage. The gentleman has undertaken the necessary rehearsals and was already seeing himself as His Excellency Governor David Lyon Perewonrimi. May an unfortunate partner like Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo
never turned our supposed day of glory to mourning.