Opinion: Can Supreme Court Disentangle Kogi Paradox?

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When the Appeal Court returned judgement unanimously in favour of Governor Yahaya Bello on August 4, there was no rejoicing anywhere in Kogi State except inside the State House in Lokoja. In less than six months since the governor assumed office, Kogites had become thoroughly disenchanted with and exhausted by the governor’s immature and predatory approach to governance. Petitions are being written against his financial management style, workers are downcast and dejected, and the people are horrified to imagine that Mr Bello could by some legal artifices remain in office for four years. They had held faint hope that the Appeal Court would overturn the tribunal’s judgement, which incredulously upheld Mr Bello’s strange election, and that the Supreme Court would deliver the coup de grace.

Now, Kogites are left walking on thin ice. They are caught between court judgements that rely on anything but the law on the one hand, and the fear of punishment the Bello government would inflict on them for the next three years and more should he win the third legal battle. Their only remaining hope is the Supreme Court. They are anxious to see whether the apex court’s judgement would be based on law or on politics, on the illogic that drove the tribunal to give its strange, delusional judgement, or on the apoplectic suppositions that stretched the judgement of the Appeal Court to breaking point. Twice the courts had embraced sophistry; now Kogites are not sure whether they can find any court left to embrace law. It is, however, reassuring that James Abiodun Faleke decided to fight the case rather than submit to the irreparable and dishonourable option of joining Mr Bello’s farcical ticket. Should he lose in the Supreme Court, he will still keep his honour rather than forfeit it in the governor’s sewer, and history will deal very kindly with him.

This column will not revisit the judgements of June and August. Everything the public needs to know was copiously addressed in this place when the tribunal went off on a tangent unknown to law last June. Whatever else should be said will be kept unsaid until after the Supreme Court has had its final say. Good or bad, even if the judgement is finally based on law, not politics as has been the case, the outcome will have far-reaching impact now and in the future. The justices presiding over the case have a historic burden thrust on their shoulders, and the eminent and powerful politicians interested in tailoring the case to suit their own whims also have a fateful date with history. Both must know of course that posterity is the cruelest judge ever. It will talk, and it will voice its opinion with thunder; for after all, ‘conscience is an open wound that only truth can heal.’

– Idowu Akinlotan

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