The Nigeria’s presidential elections for 2019 seem to have been concluded and the winner announced but it is not yet over.
By rejecting the results and heading for court, Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate has extended the presidential contest which result could be in his favour.
This time around, only the judiciary, especially the justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria will “elect” or determine who shall become the substantive Nigeria’s president.
Nigerians should refresh their minds on how, the current chieftains of All Progressive Congress (APC) especially, Rotimi Amaechi dethroned Celestine Omehia in Rivers State, how Aregbesola replaced Prince Oyinlola in Osun State, and how Adams Oshiomhole had to take the governorship seat from Prof. Osunbor in Edo State.
The above named APC politicians achieved their electoral victories through the courts many months after the winners who they unseated became eventual losers, were sworn in. All these happened in the last 16 years when PDP was in power and had all apparatuses of power under their armpit.
I am sure that President Buhari and some leaders of APC have realised that there is a rattle snake in their presidential roof going by the judicial pronouncements in the cases of Oshiomhole versus Osunbor (Edo) and Aregbesola versus Oyinlola (Osun) where irrefutable proofs of rigging, noncompliance with electoral guidelines and proven cases of election violence would lead to a judicial cancellation of the results and re-computation of remaining valid votes and thereafter announce the winner.
PDP and some observers claim that the use of card readers in the south disenfranchised many voters while manual voting was allowed in the extreme north. The implications of such lapse in the use of card readers across board seem to have favoured the winners.
In his acceptance speech, Buhari had cautioned his supporters not to gloat and deride the losers even though Adams Oshiomhole would not hear of that. He has been gloating and ridiculing Saraki over his loss.
Buhari who is an experienced presidential election results contestant in court knows that the final verdict is yet to be given on his re-election bid. Anything is possible.
Shebi APC people call Atiku a thief? They will see his awesome skills in court.
With the vigilance of a thief, Atiku who had a prior knowledge of rigging plot against him wired his agents and undercover observers with secret cameras aided with satellite photography which were warehoused in the cloud out of reach of evidence destroyers.
Atiku had invested heavily in surveillance technology and has been able to record all the electoral malfeasance committed in the areas where APC won the big numbers. He anticipated it and he was prepared for it. His evidence in court would be tortuous, painstaking and irrefutable. And he has good lawyers who had handled such cases before. Nigeria may see the best of Wole Olanikpekun, Kanu Agabi and Onyechi Ikpeazụ assisted by the best technical and forensic experts money can buy. He knows how to assemble a crack team. He also knows that this is his best opportunity to win the presidency.
Atiku knows that our laws had been amended to allow deposition of electronic evidence and he will gleefully tender more than sufficient amount of evidence to prove his case to annul the votes in areas of interest. It would be an earthquake. It is going to be the mother of all presidential contests which judgement shall be a reference material for the students and teachers of law in Nigeria and beyond.
Has any of those gloating over Buhari’s victory even looked at the INEC’s electoral guidelines, particularly the one that insisted that no vote would count unless the voter was accredited using a card reader?
Even though the Supreme Court had ruled that the use of card readers was unknown to the electoral act but INEC adhoc officers’ insistence on card readers usage in some areas and not using same in some areas where jumbo figures were recorded for Buhari will make the honourable Justices decide to cancel the results in those areas affected in favour of equity and good conscience. If this happens, Atiku would be announced the winner.
I expect Atiku’s legal team to keep it simple. I believe that they would select those states that gave Buhari huge votes and apply for their invalidation based on incontrovertible evidence for noncompliance with INEC’s guidelines to which other voters were subjected. Borno, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano and Bauchi would make an interesting challenge. When material discrepancies are proven, Atiku would be announced the winner.
Another perspective that should give the APC and President Buhari goose pimples is that our anti-corruption President and his executives shall be at the mercy of the judiciary.
The executive has submitted its neck on the chopping table of the Judiciary they have humiliated since 2015 and deemed corrupt. It is this same Judiciary that the executive have decapitated and subjected their head and other ranking members to ridicule, would rely on to survive. Who will feed or arm an enemy?
Judiciary is like a cult and they understand the meaning of revenge or Omerta and like wounded souls carry out their revenge in a legal way. They have now presented to them by fate a once in a lifetime’s opportunity to end their pains, mindless indictment and harassment.
It is a matter of self preservation for the new electors especially some of them who made mistakes in their assets declarations. They, by now, would be laughing at anti-corruption crusaders as Obasanjo laughed Atiku in 2011.
My pain in this Atiku’s decision to challenge his loss in court is that a huge uncertainty has been created in the polity.
Many local and foreign investors in Nigeria would have to await for the judicial pronouncement of who will be Nigeria’s president. For now, foreign direct investments would continue to be short term until the haze is cleared.
Even though I had congratulated President Buhari on his victory but, with the decision of Atiku to contest his loss in court, I am being tempted to continue aticulating, albeit in a muted form, until our Lord Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria conduct their own finite election between Atiku and Buhari.
Credit: Anayo M. Nwosu