Mike Odeh James
Dear Justice Tanko Muhammad, As Nigeria approaches the threshold of a landmark judgment on the petition written by Alhaji Abubakar Atiku over the conduct of the 2019 Presidential election come December 2019, it is imperative that I remind that you that as the Chief Justice Of Nigeria, CJN, you have a crucial role to play.
Your actions or inactions as the CJN would decide whether Nigeria will enjoy the dividends of democracy which millions of Nigerians fought and died for since 1993 .Similarly, your actions would determine the fate of over two hundred million Nigerians, whether they will continue to wallow in poverty, penury, deprivation and deceit. And may I remind you that no single nation suffers this much and remains peaceful.
Again, the very democracy which threw you up as the CJN of the great nation is painfully at the brink of extinction except you are guided and do the right thing in the eyes of God and man. The hopes and aspirations of about two hundred million plus Nigerians rest squarely on your shoulders and those you will allow to decide or adjudicate in the case between Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammad Buhari. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Supreme Court may stick to precedence set in 1979, 1983, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011 and may by next week unveil the 7 man list of justices based on seniority to listen to Atiku’s Appeal. Today is day 28 since
Atiku filed his Appeal at the supreme court as the CJN, you will be facing serious pressure from Aso Rock I learnt that pressure on you pressure from the Aso Rock cabals is for you to alter the list of Judges who would decide the final lapse of the appeal, but unconfirmed story has it that you have been so far adamant, trying to prove a tough guy. That’s the reason why we are experiencing delay with just 33 days to new Nigeria with the Wazirin Adamawa. Now, the question is: Will you as CJN bow to pressure from the Aso Rock cabals and accept a cooked list from the villa? The truth remains that any list other than the senior justices viz: Tanko, Rhodes-Vivour, Ngwuta, Odili, Olukayode, Datijo and Akaahs will be vehemently rejected by Nigerians.
However, let me remind you of how many Nigerians before you forsook their personal interests and loyalties to make sure Nigeria became what it is today. It was in 1959 during the first Republic that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe found himself in a precarious situation as you are in today. Azikiwe was one of the leading candidates in the 1958 elections and favoured to become the Prime Minister of Nigeria then. However, he choose to spurn the call by another candidate, Chief Obafemi Awolowo to form a coalition government which would have excluded the Northern People’s Congress, NPC, and by extension the Northern region . Azikiwe, a Southerner and a Christian ignored the call by his fellow Southerner and Christian like himself and formed a coalition government with the NPC where his party became the junior partner. Today, Nnamdi Azikiwe is immortalized in every part of Nigeria and internationally. You can do the same sir.
Let us go further than the sixties to the seventies when Gen Olusegun Obasanjo defied all temptations, conducted a free and fair election and handed over power to a civilian government. By and large, Gen Obasanjo became the first military Head of State in Africa to willingly relinquish power to a civilian. Not only that, he chooses not to favour his kinsman, he did not allow tribal or religious consideration to becloud his sense of judgment. He ignored subtle calls to favour the Yorubas by handing over to Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Gen Olusegun Obasanjo conducted free and fair polls which led to a Northerner, Alhaji Shehu Shagari becoming the President. Years later, history would smile favorably on General Obasanjo as he would later be dubbed the father modern day democracy in Nigeria .Further, he would be elected and reelected as Nigeria’s president twice a feat that no one else have achieved.
In 1992, a young astute politician from the North would sacrifice his ambition of becoming the President of Nigeria for another Nigerian from the South. Alhaji Abubakar Atiku decided that the unity of Nigeria and it’s progress matters more than his personal ambition. He therefore decided to step down as one of the Presidential aspirant under the Social Democratic Party, SDP for Chief Moshood Abiola. That was despite the fact that he was a hot favourite for the post. Atiku would later become the Vice President of Nigeria and one of the foremost politicians of his time.
Lastly, President Goodluck Jonathan, appointed Prof Attahiru Jega, gave him a free hand to conduct free and fair election which he Goodluck was a contestant, the result is well-known. Today, nonetheless, Goodluck is greater and bigger in defeat than the incumbent President. Dear, Chief Justice of Nigeria, my reasons for giving you this brief history of men who had made sure Nigeria succeeded by forsaking their religious, regional and personal interests is to make sure that you take the right decision considering the nature of your ascendancy to the post you currently occupy. There are insinuations in many quarters that Justice Walter Onnoghen was removed by the Presidency so as to facilitate a rigging process which will be challenged at the court. The notion is that if you, the beneficiary of the removal of Justice Onnoghen sit at the apex court, you may want to favour the man that helped you get to the post of CJN However, in spite of such insinuations, sir, you can make a landmark difference which would change the course of history in Nigeria forever and for good.
The case before you and your fellow judges is quite simple and very glaring. I will briefly summarize them here. The issue of forgery of certificate by the incumbent President is one issue. The second issue is lying under oath by the same person the third and equally as important is the manipulation of votes and subverting the democratic wishes of Nigerians. The issue of where and how did the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC got the final Presidential results before announcing the winner is another issue Where is the server that billions of naira were voted for? Did INEC transmit results to a central server? These and many more questions you and your colleagues are expected to unravel, but it is not much of a problem as the answers are already in the open What is expected of you and your colleagues is that, you are all expected be honest, bold and brave by making a landmark decision by declaring Atiku as the winner of the 2019 election.
- SANI ADAMU