Justice and Peace: The Travesty In The Last Kogi Governorship Controversy In Focus

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To Build A Nation Where Justice And Peace Reign. Can Nigeria and Nigerians Build A Nation Where Peace And Justice Reign?

The Kogi state governorship election controversy has come and gone with the Supreme Court judgment anointing Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the elected governor of Kogi state against all odds. The leadership of our great party, All Progressive Congress (APC) nominated Alhaji Yahaya Bello in substitution to Prince Abubakar Audu the party’s flag bearer in the governorship election who died when the election results were been declared. As at the time Prince Abubakar Audu died, All Progressive Congress had already garnered 240,867 votes while the People Democratic Party (P.D.P) the closest rival had 199,154 votes.

The substitution of Prince Abubakar Audu with Alhaji Yahaya Bello by the leadership of All Progressive Congress (APC) was hotly objected and contested at the party level on so many solid grounds but as it were, the leadership of the party had its way. The nomination of Alhaji Yahaya Bello was challenged at the Kogi state governorship election tribunal in Lokoja and inspite of the sprawling evidence provided by the challengers, the party leadership and Alhaji Yahaya Bello had their way. And at both the appeal court and Supreme Court, the party and Alhaji Yahaya Bello had their way against all odds and today, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is the governor of Kogi state. Now that we could not get justice at the party level and judiciary, we have no choice other than coming to people’s court. At the people’s court, we are not seeking redress or reversion of the judgement, rather the matter is tabled bare before the people to know what actually transpired for posterity.

The whole episode started late July 2015 when our great party All Progressive Congress (APC) called for the purchase of Kogi state governorship nomination forms and at the end of the exercise, twenty nine (29) of us bought nomination forms for the Governorship primary election scheduled for the 29th August, 2015.

The twenty nine (29) aspirants were subjected to screening at Bolingo hotel Abuja and the whole of us were certified qualified for the party’s governorship primary election. Four days to the party governorship primary election, the whole aspirants were invited to the party Headquarters Abuja where we were all made to sign a code of conduct.

The impulse of this codeof conduct was for all the aspirants to support and work with whoever emerged as the party’s flag bearer  to ensure the success of the party at the poll. It was equally specified in the code of conduct that whoever among the aspirants that failed to support and work with our flag bearer will be disciplined. Alhaji Yahaya Bello signed that code of conduct along with other aspirants. It will be recalled that, Before the A.P.C presidential primary in Lagos, all the presidential aspirants were made to ascribe to a code of conduct to ensure the unity of the party after the primary and to ensure all aspirant team up with the flag bearer to ensure there was no division.In the case of Kogi state disobedience was handsomely rewarded.

On the 29th of August, 2015, the Kogi state All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship primary election was held at the Lokoja township stadium and in a seemingly free, fair, credible and transparent election, Prince Abubukar Audu, emerged as the winner of the election and thus the party’s flag bearer.

With the emergency of a flag bearer for the party, preparation for the campaign started in earnest with series of meetings leading to the setting up of election campaign committees. Inspite of invitation and entreaties made to him, Alhaji Yahaya Bello never attended any of those meetings. We started the campaign and held rallies in the three senatorial districts of the state and Alhaji Yahaya Bello did not attend any. After the zonal campaigns, came the state campaign flag off at the lokoja township stadium which the vice president Prof Yemi Osibanjo and the national chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Chief John Odigie Oyegun attended along with other national officers of the party. Alhaji Yahaya Bello did not attend this important rally.From day one to the end of the rallies that led to the governorship election, Alhaji Yahaya Bello did not attend any All Progressive Congress party campaign and did not attend any of the party’s meetings all through. The information at our disposal was that he was busy working for the rival political party, the People Democratic Party (PDP) in his local government area, Okene and other places in the central senatorial district. As a confirmation of this, All Progressive Congress lost at the polling unit Alhaji Yahaya Bello would have voted if he was a registered voter, the party lostin his ward and lost in his local government, Okene in kogi state governorship election of 21st November 2015.

After the election and while the collation was almost concluded with our great party A.P.C leading with 240,867 votes against P.D.P’s 199,514 votes, the unexpected happened. Our flag bearer Prince Abubakar Audu  died and there was confusion everywhere. Some of us were seeing the corpse of our hero with disbelief and yet it was real.

After the death of our flag bearer, the leadership of our great party under Chief John Odigie Oyegun did not deem it necessary to call a meeting of the party stake holders from the state who made the victory of the party at the poll possible to condole and console them and then look for a way forward. Instead John Odigie Oyegun led national leadership of the party unilaterally choose Alhaji Yahaya Bello to replace Prince Abubakar Audu knowing fully well that he did not take part in the campaign or any other related activities that produced the electoral victory. Our national chairman chief John Odigie Oyegun knows too well that Alhaji Yahaya Bello did not take part in the party’s campaigns or other party related activities. The national chairman attended three very important rallies in the course of our electioneering campaign. He attended the state campaign flag off at the Lokoja township stadium along with the vice president Prof Yemi Osibanjo, Alhaji Yahaya Bello was not there. The national chairman attended another rally along with the vice president in Okene the home town of Alhaji Yahaya Bello and yet Alhaji Yahaya Bello was not there and then came the grand finale at Lokoja township stadium which the national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, the vice president Prof Yemi Osibanjo, some national officers of the party and other party stalwarts throughout the country attended and in which Alhaji Yahaya Bello was never seen. Given this back ground, can the national chairman claim that he was not aware of Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s anti party activities? in flagrant disregard to the code of conduct we all signed before the primary election to support whoever emerged as the party’s  flag bearer Alhaji Yahaya Bello refused to participate in the campaign or any campaign related activities. As a matter of fact there was no iota of support from Alhaji Yahaya Bello throughout the campaign to the party. Rather, he was busy working for the rival party, the P.D.P. and instead of subjecting him to party discipline for anti party activities, the national leadership of the party under Chief John Odigie Oyegun rewarded him by making him to inherit the votes he did not work for.

Even though we are not accusing our great party’s national leadership of corruption, Nigerians should read the entire episode between the lines to determine if such miscarriage of justice of this magnitude,impurity,misdeed and this level of compromise can be carried out without some strings attached to it. That is our case, Nigerians. Our contention is that, Alhaji Yahaya Bello should not have been nominated by the national leadership of our great party as a substitute to Prince Abubakar Audu in the first place given the circumstances as enumerated above. Our position is solidly supported by section 141 of the electoral Act 2010 as amended.  This section goes thus;“Effect of non participation in an election”  “An election tribunal or court shall not under any circumstance declare any person a winner at an election in which such a person has not fully participated in all stages of the said election”

This section of the electoral act is made of simple, non technical and non ambiguous English language. The section provides three important ingredients.

  1. shall not under any circumstance
  2. has not fully participated
  3. All the stages of the said election.

What are the stages of the election as far as the kogi state governorship election was concerned?

  • Party primary election.
  • Campaign—rallies

While it is true that Alhaji Yahaya Bello participated in the A.P.C governorship primary election of 29 August, 2015, he did not take part in the campaign that led to the party’s victory at the poll and he did not vote at the election as he was not a registered voter in Kogi state.

Given this circumstance, has Alhaji Yahaya Bello fully participated in the election he is now declared the winner?  Our respected chairman Chief John Odigie Oyegun, the chairman of the ruling party cannot claim ignorance of the very important provision of the electoral Act.

All these facts amongst all others were presented before the kogi state governorship election petition tribunal and yet the tribunal would not see any reason to disqualify Alhaji Yahaya Bello. All the facts were presented before justices of the court of Appeal and Supreme Court, yet there was no ground for Alhaji Yahaya Bello to be disqualified. Was Alhaji Yahaya Bello qualified to contest the governorship election in the first place?  Is one qualified to contest an election in a place where one is not a registered voter? Enlighten us Nigerians.

Even in the case of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the issue of being duly or deemed to have been duly elected as expressed under section 179 of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria as amended does not arise as he was not a candidate in the election. And at the stage he was smuggled in, he was no longer covered by section 141 of the electoral Act as amended.

Let me ask our eminent lawyers and Nigerians; is there any spiritual interpretation to this section 141 of the electoral Act that is not known to ordinary person? In some cases, our judges would be looking for technical grounds to justify their iniquities. Or how do we come to terms with the appeal court saying James Abiodun Faleke has no locus standi to institute the case against Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is that not laughable? Even an ordinary voter in any part of kogi state has locus standi to institute a case against Alhaji Yahaya Bello.  How can someone who did not come to ask for my vote or who was not part of those that came to ask for my vote be made my governor and you are saying I do not have the locus standi  to question it, Nigerians here we are

The nomination of Alhaji Yahaya Bello by the national leadership of All Progressive Congress to replace late Prince Abubakar Audu to inherit the vote or the result of election he did not work forwas premised on the belief that our judiciary is always a commodity that can be sold and bought and the highest bidder always have it, and that was what happened.  Justice of the Supreme Court told Nigerians that the case of James Abiodun Faleke was not supported by any law. Ah-ah, our respected justices, what of section 141 of the electoral Act, 2010 as amendedthat was severally referred to in the case. Does this section also not support the case? if Hon James Abiodun Falake cannot be declared the governor of kogi state, is that section not enough for the court to disqualify Alhaji Yahaya Bello and either order for fresh election or ask the All Progressives Congress (APC) to nominate another candidate who took part in the party primary election and worked for the victory of the party at the poll since votes garnered at an election are said to belong to political parties. The truth of the matter is that, for kogi state governorship election petition from the tribunal to the Supreme Court, justice was sold and bought. Thepractice by the Supreme Court these days is to give judgment on a day and search reasons for the judgment later. After giving their perverted judgment, they would now go panel beating to justify their decision Rather than creating peace, judicial decisions these days create tension. Today, everybody has lost confidence in the judicial system and the saying that judiciary is the last hope of the common man has been completely eroded. The judiciary has become the backbone of the fraudulent and the criminally rich and cunning Nigerians. As a matter of fact, some Supreme Court judgement today cannot be sighted as precedence because of the obvious lack of justice inherits in them. Very sad and unfortunate. It is time we reviewed and revisit our traditional method of adjudication where the truth would be said as it is.

Giving account of what happened in kogi state, the leadership of our great party All Progressive Congress (APC) did not exhibit the needed leadership quality and capability expected of a great party like the All Progressive Congress (APC).In other words, the leadership of the party under chief John Odigie Oyegun did not live up to expectation in their choice of Alhaji Yahaya Bello especially as all members of the national executive committee of the party are aware of the role of Alhaji Yahaya Bello in the election whose result he was made to inherit to become the governor of Kogi state. The nomination of Alhaji Yahaya Bello was the hand work of some cabal in the party against all odds and the leadership of the party compromised for reasons best known to them. This accounts for the reason the party could not discipline him for his anti party activities and instead, he wascompensated for disregarding the party’s code of conduct, a situation that clearly shows lack of discipline in the party. The leadership of our great party as of today is not focused, committed and determined to lead the party to achieve result. The leadership appears to lack the necessary and needed integrity to lead the party to the next level. Selfishness is the order of the day.

Inept and lack of purposeful leadership has caused our great party some terrible losses. We lost Bayelsa state governorship election due to lack of purposeful leadership. Bayelsa state Government house was openly yawning for All Progressive Congress occupation but as the leadership of our great party could not rise to the occasion, we lost out. The party could not stand firmly to call spade a spade during the primary election and after the primary election, what happened? People who would have made it possible for the party to make impact in the election decamped en-mass to the rival party and the result was what we all saw of the governorship election in Bayelsa state.

In Edo state, if not because of the strength and firmness of Governor Adams Oshiomohle and the state party chairman, maybe the result of the election would have been different as there were to be some interference from the National leadership.

In kogi state today, more than ninety percent (90%) members of our great party, All Progressive Congress have lost confidence in the National leadership of the party as a result of the way and manner the party handled the affairs of the kogi state chapter of the party after the death of Prince Abubakar Audu, our flag bearer.

My pain is that the president who is the leader of the party is so occupied with National Issues that he does not have enough time to oversee the activities of the party and checkmate members of the National executive of the party who are not  doing all that are necessary to strengthen and grow the party. President Muhammed Buhari should devote part of his time to the party and be concerned with the affairs of the party

Our great party is being strangled to death. The HEN that laid the golden egg is being slaughtered and it is most sad and disheartening.

In Kogi state today, it is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that is ruling. Alhaji Yahaya Bello who is the governor today campaigned for P.D.P. and his deputy, Simon Achuba purportedly decamped to All Progressive Congress ten (10) days to the governorship election during the party’s rally in Ibaji local government area of the state and was never known to have taken part in any other party activities before the election. Both the governor and his deputy are APC in body and PDP in spirit. Mostof the people he appoints to his cabinet are not known to have worked for our party. Those who committed their time, energy and resources to ensure the success of the party at the polls right from the presidential, National Assembly and the state governorship elections are today alienated, abandoned and ignored from the entire affairs at both National and State. The party prefers at all level to patronise idle and politically worthless charlatans that parade their offices daily at the expense of those that devoted their time, energy and resources for the success of the party. When we were campaigning for presidential and National Assembly elections in the early months of 2015, we held series of meetings in Lokoja and other places but Alhaji Yahaya Bello was never sighted at such meetings. What then is his commitment to the party? The behavior of the National leadership of our great party could be likened to a proverbial man who has many crocodile infested rivers to cross and who after crossing one of suchrivers would start casting aspersion on crocodiles, forgetting that there are still many rivers with crocodiles to cross.The end is always tragic. The bottom line of these is that, All Progressive Congress APC  as apolitical party and organization does not have strong and effective leadership—leadership that is focus, transparent, courageous ,sincere and determined—to reposition  the party for future political struggle. While the charisma of President Muhammadu Buhari will be a major factor in the party’s future political struggle, such factor need to be supported with focused party leadership which is currently lacking in our great party.

As a matter of fact, what Chief John Odigie Oyegun led National leadership of our great party did by nominating Alhaji Yahaya Bello without reference to the party stake holders in the state cannot happen in the worst military dictatorship and yet we are in a democracy. Taking such a vital decision of replacing our flag bearer and making somebody who had no stake in our project to inherit the votes we assiduously worked for without stake holders in that project is the greatest act of travesty of justice and unbridled act of impurity. Even for Alhaji Yahaya Bello to have lobbied the National leadership of the party with whatever means to inherit the product of a project he was not part of shows his moral character. He is a man who lacks moral character and integrity. Alhaji Yahaya Bello belongs to the generation of Nigerians who will ever aspire to reap where they did not sow—the practice that has brought Nigerians to where we are today. Such a person has no business with leadership in whatever capacity and level. And here we are, as a result of the rots in our body politics, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is the governor of kogi state today.

Nigerians that is our situation, Can this lead us to building a Nation where peace and justices reign?

Can there be peace and justice in the face of thisrobust injustice and impunity?

We can now see that, because Alhaji Yahaya Bello did not work for the mandate he is holding, he does not know its value. Governance is something else in Kogi state. In the history of Kogi sate, the quantum of funds availed Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s Government had never been enjoyed by any Government in the state from the governments of Prince Abubakar Audu in 1999 to Capt. Idris Wada. And yet nothing is working in the state. Workers at all levels are being owned sixteen months’ salary. Sprawling infrastructural decay, poverty hunger and dejectedness are what we see in the state today. The level of poverty, hunger and frustration in the entire citizenry is indescribable. People die daily as a result of poverty and hunger and yet Alhaji Yahaya Bello does not care.

All tertiary institutions in the state have been closed for over six months as the academic and non-academicstaff of the institutions are not paid their salaries and allowances. Our children, the students of these tertiary institutions are exposed to moral danger as idle minds are devils workshop. The future of our children are being jeopardized and mortgaged by Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s Government.

The question is where are the monies collected from the federal government coffer by Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s government? Maybe at the appropriate time, he would account for them. For the funds belongs to the people of Kogi state. (Our common wealth). It is rather unfortunate that Kogites are going through these terrible ordeals. Alhaji Yahaya Bello has been made to acquire power and as we can see, he does not know the use of the power so acquired and the people are paying dearly for this power misplacement.

To all the people who in one way or the other contributed or facilitated this great injustice and impunity on the people who toiled days and nights to ensure the victory of our great party at the polls in the kogi state governorship election of 21st November, 2015 and who are today deprived of the benefits of their struggle, I say ALLAH YA YISA.  I do know that all the people involved in this shameful plot don’t have a conscience but they should know that any river that forgets its source flows to extinction. POSTERITYmust definitely Judge them harshly. Expecting reactions from conscienceless charlatans who are reaping from where they did not sow.



 Suleiman Ejeh Abutu

Assistant Commissioner of Police (rtd)

08035857788, 08057467369

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