Monday, February 25, 2008

Although some Nigerian newspapers claim that Nigeria's stance on AFRICOM is the reason why Bush changed his itinerary and didn't visit Abuja during this trip, I posit that the real reason behind this change is the fact that the Nigerian Election Tribunal will issue its ruling on the validity of the last Presidential election this Tuesday the 26th of February.
It would be quite embarrassing for an American President to visit a President whose political legitimacy is in question and could possibly lose his position in a few days time. Bush is a lame duck President that cannot afford too many more political mistakes in the last few months of office. That, and not any semantic differences over AFRICOM, is the real reason why Bush did not visit Aso Rock.

I have been waiting for the Tribunal to issue its decision for a long time, especially since Yardy initially announced that he would honor the decision of the Tribunal whatever it might be. He has since stated that he will challenge any unfavorable Tribunal ruling in the nation's Supreme Court. Whatever the result may be, I hope that peace will prevail.


Someone recently told me that if Yardy's election were scrapped, it would spell disaster for Nigeria. In his opinion, the judicial invalidation of the President would create political instability which would in turn lead to social instability and violence in a country that arguably sits on the precipice.Fellow blogger, Chxta, even opined that he hopes "that the verdict doesn't kick Yar'Adua out and plunge Nigeria into a period of chaos".

I cannot say that I completely disagree with this analysis. It is more than possible that the invalidation of Yardy's election could lead to instability and violence. After all, one need only look to Kogi state to see the incredible violence that resulted when a Governor's election was declared invalid. The question then becomes, assuming the Court has evidence to show that the election was fraudulent, is that enough to risk potential chaos?

I abhor violence and detest unnecessary death. But, at the same time, I strongly believe in doing the right things at the right time. If evidence requires the invalidation of the last Presidential elections, then that is what must happen. Yar'Adua, who champions the 'Rule of Law' will then have the responsibility of discouraging violence and taking advantage of other legal avenues to challenge the decision. This could cause some instability, but it does not have to. With the proper planning by the Federal, State and local governments, any possible violence can be avoided. However, in a country where many politicians pay area boys and so-called 'militants' to fight their political battles for them, I have little faith that things will be done right, if the Tribunal were to void the elections. People who have power will do almost anything to maintain it.


If the elections are declared valid, I will congratulate Yardy. In fact, I will encourage everyone I know to congratulate Yar'Adua. Such a decision would help to lessen the questions about his legitimacy and would hopefully allow his administration to continue with the nation's business. Any possible violence would come from anti-Yardy or anti-PDP supporters, but somehow, I just don't see too much violence erupting in response to such a decision. Again, an adequate contingency plan would prevent significant violence, while allowing peaceful expression of discontent if such were to happen at all.

Okay, I lied. I would have congratulated Yardy, but I discovered from Ijebuman that the Chairman of the Presidential Elections Tribunals, Justice James Ogebe was nominated as a Supreme Court judge a few days ago. The powers that be have a vested interest in ensuring that Yardy remains President by any means possible. And, they will do what they can to maintain the status quo. Those that benefit form the status quo will continue to get rich and the rest of us on the outside will simply watch them get richer. Or, maybe some people will do something about it. Oh, well, Nigeria never quite seems to change.

All we can do is wait and see what will happen and hope for the best. Doing the right thing is usually the hardest thing to do. But the difficulty involved does not change the need to do the right thing. The world is watching, Nigeria.
Congratulations are in order for Zanzibar which has virtually eliminated malaria! It wasn't magic, but the commitment to proven methods that have transformed this small island's future. Hopefully, the rest of us can follow Zanzibar's lead and eradicate this killer disease that has continuously ravaged our wonderful continent.

Further Reading:
- 'Soiled Hands' & Strategy: What Nigeria Says About Democracy

- Who Will Fight For Nigeria? (AFRICOM PT. 1)
- AFRICOM... The Dotted Line Has Been Signed
- A Bush In Africa
- Nigerian Presidential Elections Back In The Spotlight

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7 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Atutupoyoyo said...

Ah so cynical yet sadly every word of the truth.

This is (yet another) watershed moment in Nigerian history. If they screw this thing up then the impact is likely to be felt for years. A rare opportunity for those that be to do the right thing. Hope they seize it.

Kafo said...

i am obviously out of touch with naija politics

he has been president for what
almost half a year and now they might overturn that

why is it taking them forever to make a decision

this isn't good oo

Kafo said...

were is the new york times article

Chxta said...

Nigerians and our love for conspiracy theories. We have all forgotten that in Naija you can only be nominated to a Supreme Court position by your peers in the judiciary, the same judiciary who is hacking governors left, right and centre...

N.I.M.M.O said...

I knew you would have something up on this issue -flu or no flu. By the way, how are you doing today?

Today is Super Tuesday in Nigeria, we all await the Tribunal ruling on the Presidential election.

Without prejudice, a lot of things are against UMYA in this case not least of all is his own admission during his inauguration of the irregularities in his election.

The other candidates in the Presidential election - Atiku and Buhari - in their evidence had submitted that the elections in a whole 28 out of 36 states were irregular.

From the spate of reversals and overturning of elections we've been having lately, not many people will argue with that position.

UMYA himself was quoted to have said that he will not contest/appeal the verdict of the Tribunal if it goes against him.

Forget all that theory about chaos and anarchy; it won't happen. This is something that has been long expected and I daresay even awaited.

Even by UMYA himself. It was inevitable.

I think this time Nigeria will disappoint the Naysayers. Time to show our maturity.

We don pass Kenya tey-tey, no be today.


@ ah22: Oh, the 'C' word! I just call it as I see and feel it. There are a lot of Nigerians doing incredible things, I just wish I could say the same of many public officials.

@ Kafo: Yes, Yar'Adua has been in office for less than a year and the Tribunal is just about to announce its decision. In all fairness, it was a complex case requiring extensive legal discovery (evidence collection) and testimony from many parties and several plaintiffs. Personally, I rather they take their time and do things properly the first time, so that once the decision is rendered, we all know that there will either be an appeal, or no appeal and not an entirely new case on the issues again.

And, the NY Times article I refer to is the recent publication of alleged improper relationship between John McCain and a Washington, D.C. lobbyist. Wanted to know your thoughts, especially as I think I will put up a post on a conspiracy theory that popped into my head and am shocked that noone else is talking about...

@ Chxta: I have read your comment a couple of times and will not hold back my question - what exactly is your point? If this appointment of Obege to the Supreme Court did not look 'shady', I don't think that there would be as many people up in arms about it. And, that is putting the reaction mildly.

I also disagree with your statement on the nomination process. Yes, the National Judicial Council 'recommends' individuals for the Supreme Court. But, the National Judicial Council is a FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BODY and thus falls under the auspices of the Aso Rock. Therefore, the individuals on that council are picked by (within the limitations set by the Constitution) the President. So, when reports say that Yar'Adua nominated Ogebe to the Supreme Court, those reports are in fact correct.

When it comes to this issue, it is simply a matter of fact, not conspiracy. Sorry to disappoint you. Feel free to verify by checking the Constituions Article's 153, and the Federal Executive Bodies Section of the Constitution (around the tail end of the document) and 231(2) (which has a typo that can cause some confusion but still does not change the 'gist' of the issue when other sections of the Constitution are applied. Thanks for the comment.

@ N.I.M.M.O.: Thanks for asking after me, my voice is completely gone, and am under orders to rest, but there is never any rest for the weary and Nigerian politics keeps me on my toes, so I will rest some other time.

That being said, do you really think that people expect Yardy to be 'judicially deposed'? You are right that the evidence for this is overwhelming, but during the last OBJ election, the Tribunal ruled that yes, there were irregularities, but they weren't enough to show that OBJ would not have won anyway.

My point is that, I am open to the possibility of the Tribunal ruling either way on this. And as I now know from a quick glance at BBC, Yardy will remain President of the Federation. Off to update the site.

Jinta said...

i'm quite cynical abt the whole process but the judiciary continue to surprise me, what with david mark as well.

i dont see the election been invalidated. i pray i'm wrong

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