“A meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words”
Nigerian media had its April fool galore on January 29th, 2016 instead of usual globally recognized first day of April, when joke and misinformation are allowed as part of fun. On that fateful day, some media platforms broke the news of Supreme Court sacking of Senators Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah, others from their seats as a result of the Apex Court’s affirmation of Ejike Oguebego-led State Executive of the PDP in Anambra State.
The irony of the entire falsehood is that, Supreme Court Justices in their advanced and cautious modus operandi of delivering judgements, never made mention of party primaries let alone sacking of elected Senators, House of Representatives and State Assembly members from Anambra State.
The media conspiracy was instigated by political desperadoes who wanted to gate-crash into National and State Assemblies without passing through painstaking vetting process of electioneering. The revered Jurists of Supreme Court resisted the temptation of granting unsolicited relief by the appellants, who used sponsored stories in the media to misinterpret the Judgement that dealt solely on the authenticity of State Working Committee of the PDP and not the list submitted to INEC.
The learned Jurists of Supreme Court could not play the role of Father Christmas during the yuletide, let alone on January 29th when the euphoria of Christmas celebration had subsided by refusing to order occupants of those positions to vacant their seats or instruct INEC to withdraw Certificates of Return given to Senators Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah, and others, which was not the meat of argument according to stipulations of the Electoral Act.
Those who could not win elections in the field are putting untold pressure on INEC to withdraw hard-earned Certificates of Return issued to Senators Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah and Others, and re-issue same to them when the Supreme Court in its age-long wisdom, deliberately refused to make such unpopular order, instead kept mute and maintained a meaningful silence which is better than meaningless words, to avoid throwing in a lot of ambiguities and confusion if uttered. It is at the discretion of Supreme Court to remain silent especially when the issue on under contention is not the main argument before the honourable court.
It is not the legal duty of Appellants to mount pressure on INEC using media propaganda in other to arm twist the electoral umpire into withdrawing of the Certificates of Return given to Defendants and re-issue same to them when the Apex Court did not make such order. It is at the discretion of the Supreme Court to make such orders when it deems fit, especially when it is in line with Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Electoral Act which remains the grand norm of our electoral exigencies cum jurisprudence.
The Supreme Court judgement in respect to Chibuike Amaechi vs. Celestine Omehia, which some ignoramus are anchoring their already punctured arguments on, had been overtaken by event—amendment of 2010 Electoral Act which clearly stipulated that any candidate that did not participate in the general election should not be declared winner or sworn-in by the court or election tribunals.
In the light of the foregoing postulations, anyone demanding Certificates of Return from INEC as relates to offices being occupied by Senators Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah, and Others, when juxtaposed with recent Supreme Court profound silence on the candidacies of the Defendants when Ejike Oguebego-led SWC was affirmed by the Apex Court, can be best described as a rabble nincompoop engaged in unwarranted shenanigans and grandstanding.
Some legal folks and analysts are still insisting that the Apex Court should come out with a pronouncement to clear the air on the “ambiguities” of the judgement which dealt solely on the issue of State Executive of the party and not candidacies of the Defendants. This class of intellectual vuvuzelas are just trying hard to arm-twist the learned Jurists into creating legal convulsions in the polity, by framing imaginary ambiguities which only exists in the figment of their imaginations and illusions; not known in the laws guiding election jurisprudence, and should not only be given a deaf ears but sealed tongue.
The conscience of the Judiciary cum society which Supreme Court represents should not be dragged into partisan politics by forcing it to clear “ambiguity” where there was none. Supreme Court never sacked Senators Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah, Others, or declared their seats vacant and should maintain its stand against media pressure emanating from well-oiled propaganda machinery to influence it into granting frivolous orders. True defenders of democracy should stand shoulder to shoulder with the Apex Court to avoid being stampeded into doing the biddings of political manipulators, who want to reap where they did not cultivate at the detriment of image of our revered institutions.
In other to checkmate the desperation of the Appellants, the Defendants: Senators Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah, and Others recently secured an order from Federal High Court restraining President of the Senate, Speakers of House of Representatives and State Assembly and INEC from taking any decision injurious to the interests of the Defendants pending the clarification proactively sought from the Supreme Court by the Defendants to douse tension and clear wrong impression erroneously created by the media.
One of the Senators that hitherto were among the Defendants, Uche Ekwunife not too long ago lost her mandate to political manipulators she defeated at the polls, who took advantage of judicial loophole at the Election Petition Tribunal, which ended in Appeal Court to secure nullification of her popular mandate against the dictates of the Law, and went beyond the powers of the Tribunal to disqualify her and her then party, the PDP from participating in the rerun election through questioning her candidacy; in sharp contradictions of Judicial precedent set by the Apex Court which is backed by the laws guiding election petition adjudication in Nigeria.
If the Supreme Court in its wisdom could dismiss the appeal of PDP 2015 Governorship Candidate in Benue State, Tarzoor and that of APC candidate in Taraba State, Aisha Alhassan, respectively for lacking the locus standi to question the nomination processes of candidates that emerged from other political parties in the persons of Governors of Benue and Taraba States, respectively. Why would Appeal Court Election Petition Panel in Enugu encourage electoral mandate robbers who could not win elections at the polling units, but always resort to questioning the candidacy of the winner whenever they lose at the polling units to grab political power via the backdoor? This is height of judicial rascality and recklessness!
The same mandate snatchers are at it again to intimidate Supreme Court to nullify the candidatures of Senators Andy Ubah, Stella Oduah, and Others who are defendants in this case. Even when the Apex Court in its respected counsel, had refused to question the candidacies of the Defendants by remaining mute in this regard when the only issue of State Working Committee of the PDP in Anambra was determined by the imminent Jurists, Appellants are doing everything possible to arm-twist the honourable court into granting unscrupulous orders against the Defendants.
It is time for lovers of democracy to embrace peace in the state and give it a chance. All of us cannot be Senators, House Representatives and State Assembly members at the same time. The Apex Court being the ceiling of judicial voyage in election adjudications cum jurisprudence in the country has decided on this contentious matter once and for all. Those trying to create ambiguities where there is none should exercise patience and try their luck in 2019, which is already beckoning.
Nwobodo Chidiebere wrote in from Abuja, firstname.lastname@example.org