Imo Judicial Abracadabra & Illegalization of Amotekun Are Linked
By Farooq A. Kperogi
The bewilderingly illogical and indefensible Supreme Court judgement that handed over the governorship of Imo State to APC’s Hope Uzodinma— who came fourth in the actual election— may appear to have no connection with the Federal Government’s January 4 declaration of Amotekun as “illegal.” But they are both parts of a well-rehearsed political choreography.
The Machiavellian political hawks around Muhammadu Buhari are not prepared to allow the presidency to rotate to their informal coalition partners in the Southwest in 2023—contrary to the gentleman’s agreement they reached in 2014. What to do? Dissolve the coalition with the Southwest and build a new one with the Southeast.
Northern politicians who want to retain power in the region are now actively courting Southeast politicians to be junior partners in a 2023 coalition—like the Southwest has been since 2015. The brazenly immoral capture of Imo State for APC using the instrumentality of the Supreme Court, which is now indistinguishable from the Buhari Presidency, is part of this plan.
The judgement was, of course, predetermined. It didn’t even pretend to be fair and just. It was merely the acting of a script that was written in the Presidential Villa. Notice that since Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad was illegally imposed as Chief Justice of Nigeria, most, if not all, Supreme Court and Appeals Court judgments regarding elections have been “unanimous.” There’re no longer dissenting opinions or minority judgments.
In his interview with AriseTV in January 2019, Buhari confessed that he rewarded 84-year-old retired Justice of the Court of Appeal Sylvanus Nsofor with appointment as Nigeria’s ambassador to the US because he wrote a “minority report” in his favor when he challenged his loss at the polls in a previous election. Now, Buhari doesn’t want even minority reports or dissenting opinions in favor of his opponents from judges.
We have an unprecedentedly total fascist takeover of the judiciary, the kind that compelled the Supreme Court to award nullified rigged votes to APC’s Hope Uzodinma even if by doing so the Supreme Court created an astonishing numerical incongruity where the Supreme Court’s final vote tally is now greater than the number of people INEC accredited to vote!
Brazenly pre-planned electoral heists are now the new normal, which honchos of the regime had foretold before now. Recall that Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha had on January 12, 2019 assured his audience in Gombe State during a campaign speech that APC had already “won” the election that hadn’t yet taken place. “We are only waiting for the announcement of the results,” he said.
That wasn’t rhetorical hyperbole; it was a classic Freudian slip, the type APC chairman Adams Oshiomhole committed when he said, in the aftermath of APC’s INEC-assisted rigging in Osun State, that democracy could only thrive when the opposition is ready to “accept the pain of rigging.”
The Imo Supreme Court judicial rascality was a well-practiced plot by the regime’s henchmen to make incursions into the Southeast in preparation for 2023. And it might well work if Nigeria survives till 2023. People in the Southeast— and in the South-south— are so aroused to deep resentment by the Southwest’s support for Buhari in 2015 and 2019 that they might be willing to be strategic underlings of an opportunistic political partnership with the North if only to spite the Southwest.
And Amotekun has provided an opportune moment for the cabal to dissolve its crisis-plagued political marriage with the Southwest. There are few things into which Southwest politicians and electorates alike have invested enormous emotional energy in recent times as Amotekun. And it’s easy to see why. It’s about life and death. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.
It’s irrelevant if Amotekun is constitutional or unconstitutional. You need to be alive to read the constitution. Only the living debate legality and constitutionality. The seemingly never-ending widening and deepening of the theaters of bloodshed in the country, occasioned by the unrestrained sanguinary fury of homicidal marauders, in the face of the inability or unwillingness of federal security forces to protect lives has made Amotekun an issue on which most people in the Southwest won’t compromise.
The Buhari cabal loves this because heads or tails the Southwest politicians will lose. If they come out strongly to support it, as Governors Fayemi, Akeredolu, and Makinde are doing, they will be framed as regional bigots who can’t be trusted to lead the country (never mind that members of the cabal have themselves elevated retrograde regional chauvinism to an art).
And Southwest politicians who oppose, are indifferent to, or choose to speak from both sides of their mouth about, Amotekun will automatically be cast as traitorous bastards by their people. A Southwest politician who is rejected by his own people can’t be in contention for the presidency in 2023 since Northern Christians, the Igbo, and ethnic minorities from the South are unlikely to support a Yoruba candidate in 2023—if that Yoruba candidate supported Buhari in 2019.
This is different from former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s case in 1999. His rejection by the Southwest actually aggrandized his pan-Nigerian credentials and caused him to be accepted by other parts of the country. A Southwest politician who is seen as a betrayer by his own people and who, in addition, worked to install Buhari, easily the most divisive figure in Nigeria’s history, would be a political burden in ways Obasanjo wasn’t in 1999.
As I pointed out in a December 22, 2019 social media update, the cabal is toying with Bola Tinubu like a yo-yo—and he is naively, if gingerly, playing along— in readiness for his eventual political incineration by or before 2023. And the cabal is being ruthlessly Machiavellian about it.
Tinubu has been given a fake promissory note that he’ll be APC’s presidential torchbearer in 2023. On the strength of this worthless promissory note, they’ve sought his permission to destroy some of his most trusted foot soldiers.
With his consent, they’ve consigned Yemi Osinbajo to symbolic Aso Rock jail. Tinubu endorsed Tunde Fowler’s replacement at the FIRS and is in on his impending trial for corruption. He also stamped his imprimatur to Muiz Banire’s unceremonious ouster from AMCON. He’s giddily approving everything the cabal tells him it wants to do to his “constituents” and foot soldiers.
Also notice that he was summoned to the Presidential Villa just a few days before Abubakar Malami declared Amotekun “illegal” and “unconstitutional.” It won’t surprise me if it emerges that he endorsed Malami’s statement. After all, he once asked “where are the cows?” when a prominent Yoruba politician’s daughter was murdered last year.
He has now fallen out of favor with almost all Southwest governors except his dutiful stooge in Lagos and his nephew in Osun. Of course, he is a bête noire to Afenifere. At this rate, Tinubu would divorce his wife and disown his children if the cabal tells him to do so—just because he’s told that he’d be president.
This is a strategic, Machiavellian demobilization of his base, but one in which he is a willing participant, using the illusory promise of APC presidential nomination. When he is eventually denied the APC presidential slot, he would have no one of political consequence in his natal region to fall back to for counterattack other than his battering rams in the Lagos media.
Before his eventual political annihilation, he would be thoroughly unpopular in the Southwest. His fate would elicit no mass sympathy from the region when the cabal finally bares its fangs publicly and devours him.
To be sure, Tinubu is sensing danger, as we can tell from the newfound, unaccustomed critical commentaries in his paper, but he is like a moth that is irresistibly and fatally attracted to the flame that will eventually burn it alive. The flame is the promise of the presidency.
Once he is politically crushed, and his opponents are cast as provincial champions who can’t be trusted with the presidency, the cabal would be justified to seek new collaborators from the Southeast—and the South-south. In essence, the cabal would revive the North’s First Republic and Second Republic alliances with the Igbo and Southern ethnic minorities and return the Southwest back to opposition.
Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.