By Jamila Musa
From the first day that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, made that spectacular pronouncement empowering INEC to call on the All Progressives Congress (APC) to provide a substitute candidate, a proclamation which many of us decried as hasty and therefore political rather than administrative, strange things have happened and many of us have become more bewildered and disillusioned by the way things are turning out.
In the beginning, a great percentage of political or judicial analysts who ventured opinions on the matter were skeptical about the unsustainability of the AGF’s proclamation and considered both INEC’s decision to render the election inconclusive and the APC forwarding of Yahaya Bello’s name as its substitute candidate for the remainder of the elections erroneous and ill-advised.
However, the two verdicts so far given at the level of the election petitions’ tribunal and the Appeal Court manifested differently. The absurdity of the rulings at the tribunal and the Appeal Court is the ‘no case’ verdict preferred against the petitioner, Mr Faleke. Judging from the convergence tendencies of the rulings, one is tempted to conclude that rather than premeditated, the need for survival has conditioned judicial reflexes to conform to the social moods and mores that prevailed following the AGF historic proclamation.
It was Thomas Paine who pointed out that society was created by our wants and government by our wickedness.
There is the serious need to draw a clear line between the interpretation of the law and the constitution on the one hand, and the issuing of executive orders on the other hand.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, my thoughts hover around more basic yet fundamental issues. In the course of this matter, we have heard Faleke-Audu sympathizers allege various forms of court compromise and manipulations. Of course, in litigations, such accusations are commonplace but since no one has ever come out to repudiate or substantiate the allegations, it’s no use giving it any percentage. Nevertheless, recent revelations, mostly unsubstantiated as yet but quite seemly to be ignored are the conspiracy theories angle.
The theory sequenced developments from Audu’s death to the outcomes of the courts’ proceedings. Prince Audu died like all mortals and naturally life should go on but greed, vaulting ambition, and selfishness have catalyzed the intrigues, scheming, power plays, and maneuverings that we have seen in the evolution of the Faleke case.
Point to point analyses would lead us to the convenient inference that for all his effort, including material, mental and physical exertions, Faleke is pushing on because it’s worth the struggle. But when one reflects on the initial actions of Mr Mohammed Audu, the late Prince Audu’s eldest son who upon seeing that his father had died immediately put calls to Senator Dino Melaye and about five Northern State Governors among whom was Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna state, the question of whether he acted out of naivety or as a stratagem of self-preservation becomes relevant. Mr Audu’s commitment to the struggle during his father’s lifetime and especially when Faleke became the principal leaves a lot to be desired. In any case, it has never been clear where his interests lay or what his target is for the struggle. Whether it was mischief or mistake, Mohammed Audu’s action paved the way for far greater ambitions and more devious plots.
However, the actions that followed suggest that the plot to get INEC to declare the election inconclusive might have been hatched at one nocturnal meeting. As has become more prevalent in many APC matters, the need to check the spread of Tinubu’s influence became a priority. Generally seen as Tinubu’s protégé, Faleke’s emergence as the Governor of Kogi State by the circumstances of Audu’s death would mean an incursion of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s political tentacles into the North Central, and such could spell misery for some individuals who are already uncomfortable with whatever confidence they thought Tinubu enjoys with the presidency.
An expedient decision needed to be taken and INEC was cornered into declaring the election inconclusive after it had already announced results with the APC candidates leading in 18 Local Government Areas of the State.
Without hesitation in letting it be known that there was a pact between the late Audu and the Okuns for power shift from the majority Igala-speaking people to the Okuns, Senator Dino Melaye has somehow managed to condition his mind into believing that he is the Okun man to become next Governor of Kogi State. So, struggling against Faleke aura, Dino developed antipathy towards Tinubu and is today uninhibitedly enacting the scenario of one who bites the finger that fed him.
Aside other things that might have contributed to the intricacies and intrigues of the Faleke case, Dino’s role is the most tragic, irrational and ridiculous because it is driven by a false sense of self-worth. Dino’s subtle attempt to diminish the significance of Faleke’s struggle and disparage his person at meetings of Okun elders which have been held at General Oshanupin’s house where he was said to have told the elders that it was he who told the INEC returning officer not to announce the result of the election. He also predicted that Faleke’s case at the Court of Appeal will go the same way as the tribunal.
As far as conspiracy theories come, the malignity with which Tinubu’s detractors try to undercut him coupled with the indignity with which some elements within the system conspired to treat him fearing that otherwise he becomes all too powerful makes Faleke a collateral damage but it is about time that consciences began to prick.
Frankly, Mr Faleke is not to be envied in the unique situation he finds himself but I sincerely salute his courage and determination to see the whole matter through to the end. Indeed, in a land of too many laws and too little justice, if you lose at one stage, you double the stakes and approach the higher stage. So, I guess the man is at liberty to shout.
– Musa writes from Lokoja