By Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma
In normal parlance, the sun sets late in the evening. It is by then that the fowls go home to roost. Man retires from the day’s work. All daylight activities cease while night activities begin. At the proper time, all living things including human beings, animals and trees go to bed. Only nocturnal animals operate in the dark hours.
Those human beings who keep vigil prayers, battle with nature to keep awake all through the night. The night security agents swim against the current. They fight against visible and invisible forces.
In the early morning few days ago, as soon as I came out of my house, a domestic hen surprisingly started pursuing me. I did not take chances. I ran away with all my strength because I did not know whether it developed teeth at night. A frog does not run during the daytime for nothing.
An animal that runs out of its hole at the time of its rest must have been invaded by an enemy force. The cunning tortoise travelled to an unknown place and instructed his relations to look for him if and only if something unusual happened. He was trying to evade the burial expenses of his mother who was terminally ill. Eventually, his mother died. The relations looked for him with an unusual report that a man was pregnant and a palm tree fruit grew at the apex of its leaves.
The tortoise hurried with the reporters back home to see the two abominations. Two weeks ago, I excused myself to go into the desert to pray and rest as we await the impending boon or doom in our Nigerian Political Scene. I intended to rest my body and my thinking faculty throughout the month of September. This means that my brain would cease to think academically temporarily and my hand would not hold any pen for writing during this period of rest. In other words, I am on my annual one month leave. Leave means you leave everything behind including place of abode.
However, the lion was suddenly awoken from slumber by the powers that be. In fact, I couldn’t remain silent in the face of abomination being committed in the land. Injustice was enthroned on the seat of power while justice was dismissed on flimsy political jargons. Indeed an elder does not sit at home while a pregnant goat gives birth tethered.
What it takes for evil to triumph in the society is that good people keep silent. From my resting abode, I jerked when I heard that the unheard of has happened in the nation’s democratic setting. The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has given a controversial judgment. I stood up sharply and shouted, “Tufiakwa! It cannot be true!” Hence I took up my pen to speak and to write.
On 25 February 2023, the long suffering Nigerian electorates went to the polls to cast their votes for the political messiah who would deliver them from harsh economic and political bondage. By the mode of voting, the presumed winner was known.
Unfortunately the devil and his agents ceased the ballot boxes nationwide, manipulated the votes and counted them manually in favour of a particular presidential candidate. The electronic transmission of results as stipulated by the 2022 Electoral Act was jettisoned.
The Constitutional requirement that any presidential candidate must get 25% votes in the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) was set aside during the collation of the results. As Nigerians were sleeping at night, the partial political umpire announced the result of the selection. Thus the billions of Naira spent and the votes cast became a waste, when the citizens are dying of hunger.
After the nocturnal announcement of the presidential selection result, the unjust announcer asked the aggrieved presidential candidates to go to court. How can you snatch someone’s property and ask him or her to go to court?
Before now, the Court was believed to be the last hope of the common man. Unfortunately, today, things have fallen apart and the center can no longer hold. The last hope of the common man has been trashed by corruption and political rascality. The incorruptible judges have been corrupted. The 5-man Panel of Judges in a twinkle of an eye upturned justice.
The Electoral Act and the Constitution have been abused. The Federal Capital Territory was pronounced by the corruptible judges to become a State like the 36 States of the Federation. In essence we now have 37 States. Hence, there is nothing like Federal Capital Territory again. Therefore, it must be administered by a governor and not a minister. It must also produce three Senators. Forgery of certificate, age falsification, drug peddling, money laundering, perjury, double registration, dual citizenship, election rigging and subversion of the wishes of the people are no longer crimes.
How did we arrive at this stage of retrogression? Indeed, the Presidential Election Tribunal Judgment is the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau. Are the five judges really learned men? Were they compromised by the powers that be? Did money exchange hands during the writing of the partial judgment? It seems that Corruption personified was present during the writing and pronouncement of the black judgment.
If the contents of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Judgment are upheld, then it means goodbye to elections and welcome to selections. It also entails throwing away the Constitution and Electoral Act. It means going back to the State of Nature where might is power and the survival of the fittest reigns supreme. Our democracy is in real trouble. Autocracy has been enthroned. The Presidency is henceforth the right of the highest bidder. It is now taken turn by turn.
Earthquake is about to take place in Nigeria for the first time because the earth has been profaned. The heavens are angry. The Judiciary has failed us woefully. Now, the aggrieved presidential candidates are heading to the Supreme Court for appeal. Will the Supreme Court maintain its supremacy by adjudicating for justice or will it also compromise? If it fails us also, then justice will be buried mournfully.
According to a political analyst, if the Supreme Court upholds the judgment as delivered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, then it will be impossible to file election petitions again. Also, it will be a mission impossible to prove infractions in Election Petition Tribunal. The use of technology will be banned permanently in Nigeria. The qualification of candidates will no longer be pre – or post- election issues. Electoral Act 2022 will be effectively repealed in practice. Electoral violence will be the order of the day.
It will be the survival of the fittest. INEC’s press statements will no longer be tolerated. The Federal Capital Territory will not be superior or inferior to any other state. Indeed, we are at the state of political confusion. If the Supreme Court does not stand its ground and clear the confusion, then, it means to your tents, oh Nigerians! God forbid! The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria during her just concluded Plenary meeting at Abuja said that the fate of Nigeria is hanging on a balance. In other words, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun powder, which can explode at any time.
All eyes are now on the Almighty God for his urgent divine intervention to restore hope in Nigerian Polity. The God of justice, where are you? Please do not keep silent in the face of injustice. Arise and act! The evil that men do lives with them and no longer after them. The elders have eaten unripe fruits and the children’s teeth are set on edge. My people do not despair! There is hope in hopelessness. Let us remain prayerful. Since the black hen could lay white eggs, there is hope.