No man has a right to rule another without his consent
The judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal delivered on Wednesday 21 October 2015 is gratifying to me personally for a number of reasons. One of the reasons has already been well canvassed by the leadership of the APC nationwide. The reason, as upheld by the tribunal, is that Mr Udom Emmanuel did not meet the legal requirement to be declared winner of the election of 11 April 2014. His declaration by INEC was therefore illegal and unconstitutional; an assault on the right of Akwa Ibom people to choose their leader, an affront to justice.
This point has been well stressed by Akwa Ibom APC chairman, Dr Amadu Attai; Deputy National Chairman of the APC, Mr Segun Oni; Akwa Ibom State APC governorship candidate for the election, Mr Umana Okon Umana.
The point that Udom did not meet the legal requirement to be governor was the summary of the petitioner’s argument before the tribunal, that the governorship election did not substantially comply with the provision of the law and the electoral guidelines. This came out well in the verdict that the tribunal handed down, which said unambiguously that election did not take place in 58.1 per cent or 18 out of the 31 of the local government areas in the state.
This review isn’t going to talk about the puzzling gaps, incredible detours and all the hesitations in the judgment. Those concerns will be taken up at another forum. The point of this writing is to stay within the judgment as delivered.
With this judgment, our categorisation of Udom Emmanuel right from day one as an illegitimate governor has been confirmed by a court of competent jurisdiction. When we so described the impostor based on our very intimate and infallible knowledge of what happened on Election Day, many of the illegitimate governor’s hounds, among them Essien Ndueso, Pastor Anietie Ukpe, upbraided and called us names. They owe me and others they insulted an apology, because we were right, Udom is illegitimate.
Having said this, I will like to go to political philosophy to bring context and meaning to all of this business of governor without mandate. The context and meaning to this is in a political commonsense made popular by Abraham Lincoln, the first American president, who had uttered the following immortal line at a moment of grave political crisis such as Akwa Ibom people are going through now: “No man has a right to rule another without his consent.” We are hereby acknowledging a debt to Lincoln for the rider to this article.
We have come full circle now. Let’s go. Udom in is power without the consent of Akwa Ibom people. The most fundamental political philosophy holds that he has no right to rule because Akwa Ibom people did not make him a ruler over them. As things stand, Udom is the product of a coup, staged by ex-governor Godswill Akpabio. Udom is thus an impostor, holding onto a mandate he stole in broad day light. He should quit now if he has a sense of honour left in him.
Mr Paul Ekpo, Akwa Ibom State PDP chairman, said he is happy the tribunal did not sack Udom from his illegitimate power. This shows how bereft of any sense of decency these people are. A party chairman with a sense of propriety ought to have advised his man hanging onto illegitimate power to quit and stop further exposure of the PDP to ridicule as the very manifestation of impunity and uncommon fraud.
Yes, there is no denying that the tribunal did not ask Udom to leave office, after having agreed with the petitioner that the PDP candidate was not validly elected—one of the gaps and hesitations and puzzles we had earlier referred to in the judgment. Yes, if the tribunal had made a pronouncement ordering Udom out of the Hilltop Mansion, it would have given psychological balm to APC supporters in the state. But it would not have had immediate practical effect of throwing Udom out of the Hilltop Mansion. Why? Udom has a right to appeal and would certainly have appealed, obtained a stay of execution and stayed put till he exhausted all his appeals.
I note without any surprise that PDP members are gloating over the fact that Udom remains in illegitimate power. Not surprised because the entire resort to unconstitutional means to capture power is about Akwa Ibom resources. The longer Udom stays in illegitimate power, the better for their continuous access to public funds. But day of accountability will come.
Let me end by restating the issue. Udom is in power without mandate. The governorship tribunal has said he was not elected by Akwa Ibom people to rule them. Since no man has a right to rule another without his consent, Udom lacks the authority to remain in office as governor of Akwa Ibom State. He was not elected to that office. He must quit. Now.
Posted by: Iboro Otongaran <firstname.lastname@example.org>