Ik Muo, PhD.
First they rig the elections in order to get the opportunity to rig the courts with judges ready to help them validate the rigged elections- Prof Chidi Odinkalu
Four months ago, I deepened and broadened the concept of COURTocracy and described it rightly as the final stage of Nigeria’s Democracy (BusinessDay,25/5/23; https://muoigbo.blogspot.com/2023/05/courtocracy-final-stage-og-nigerias.html).The tsunami from Tsammani et al on 6/9/23, the longest judgement in Nigeria’s judicial history, which was so exciting that it cast a sleeping-spell on the audience, including the SANS and petitioners, has overshadowed the happenings in the ‘lower’ realms. But all in all, it is COURTocracy in practice and as a full Spirit and full man, I assure all of us that we aint seen nothing yet; it is just morning on creation day. All the parties have tasted the sour grapes of COURTocracy and this has led to the strange scenario in which people who are rejoicing on some judgements are also agonising over some judgements, and most often, those judgements were based on the same grounds. It is the typical osondi-owendi moment (apologies to the legendary Osita Osadebe) , and in tandem with the Wikerian chart-buster: ‘as e de sweet us, e de pain dem’( also in reverse)! And for both those who are celebrating and those who are weeping, the judicial system is either the best thing that happened since creation of the world or the worst thing that happened since the emergence of the current genre of African Leaders.
Sleeping Competition, ‘Bandits, cultists and terrorists’ Justice Akintan-Osadebe
On the lower realms, the star case for COURTocracy is that of Plateau State where ALL the candidates elected on the platform of PDP were axed because the Party was not eligible to sponsor candidates for the election. This is consequent to their disobedience of a Court-Order on the constitution of their executives and as such, the primaries were conducted by a fake executive committee (fakery appears to have legalised in this new Nigeria). In 2019, it was the turn of APC in Zamfara State to kiss the dust due to impunity; today it is the turn of PDP in Plateau. The APC governorship of Kano State, Malam Gawuna has just been COURTed in while the incumbent Governor, Yusuff was COURted out but in doing this, they have most likely COURted trouble walking on ALL FOURS as the combustible Kano mob will soon show the stuff they are made of. The lead Judge, Justice Akintan-Osadebe who accused some unknown people of attempted inducement, delivered her judgement via zoom. May be the new governor will rule via zoom if and when it comes to becomes. She did the right thing because our people say that life is supreme and that one should do anything to preserve his life since it has no duplicate. But the tribunal sat all through in Kano without any incident. So, what happened between the last day of sitting and the day of judgement? And how come one of the judges descended into the arena by calling NNPP people as red-cap wearing bandits, terrorists and cultists? In Enugu they COURTed in Mbah arguing amongst others that the NYSC Certificate was of no effect since he was already qualified, even without it! Gombe speaker, Luggerewo was also COURTed out But in tandem with the principles of COURTocracy, we have not heard the last of these matters.
In my award-winning treatise on the theory of COURTocracy,( Award-winning? Yes;I gave myself the award and if you don’t like it, Go to COURT!!!) I had argued that the advent and maturity of COURTocracy was because the parties, politicians, and candidates do not obey the laws of their parties, which they made themselves, they do no abide by the laws of the country and they do not even abide by the laws of God or the laws of the various oracles. This is because of impunity facilitated by disdain for internal democracy, money-answereth-ALL-things mentality, and avalanche godfathers in high places. Sure, what we have is pretend-democracy; democracy without democrats and without democratic ethos’. My prophetic credentials have been extolled once again, though sadly, this does not provide money for fuel. The court has also bloodied the nose of APC in Kogi State by upholding Natasha of PDP as the winner. This is a special case because of the names involved and the desperate strategies deployed by Yahaya Bello to checkmate the beautiful damsel. In Abia State, the LP household ( 2 people tweeting or X-ing from a room) lost 3 House of Reps members. Sure, in tandem with the dictates of the latest political philosophy in town, ‘The court has become the institution of first resort( rather than the last). That is why electoral victors are now advised to wait until the court speaks. The courts do not just determine who wins, they also determine who contests because they are now the author and finisher ( Hebrew 12:2) of the nomination processes; they anoint and de-anoint contestants and candidates, and even the winners, with reckless abandon’!
However, my main focus today is on the tsunami by Tsamanni. My beloved is so OBIfied that she is called the GO of the Obidient Movement in Igbo-Ukwu and even beyond. The morning after, a close family friend called to enquire of her wellbeing because he felt that the judgment had thrown her under the bus. She however explained that there were no surprises because of the indecent haste and highhandedness with which this administration decapacitated mere billboards(All eyes on the Judiciary), and the inglorious and patronising utterances by Mary Odili, which had prepared her for what was to come. And I dare add, the threat by DSS, the militarisation of Abuja, the prophecy by Pst. Kumuyi that God would redeem Nigeria through BATiocracy, the unsought advice by Pst. Adefarasin that it was time to move on and the boastful dispositions of the BATists just before the judgement. However, back to the historical September 6 judgement and I start by declaring upfront that I am not learned even though I am educated and have taught many lawyers. My knowledge of law is limited to the courses in commercial, business or mercantile law, which I took at ABU Zaria and the Chartered Institute of Bankers(London/Nigeria) examinations. As we all know, the PEPT knocked out all the reliefs( I hope I got it right) sought by the petitioners, accused the litigants of shoddy preparations, rejected most of the witnesses, and bad-mouthed the opposition lawyers, including the very senior ones. They did not even respect the lawyer named Otaokpukpu (Bone-Cracker)!
The conflicting rulings by various tribunals have also complicated matters for non-lawyers like me. Just after the PEPT had authoritatively ruled that certificate forgery and nomination issues are preelection matters, another set of Judges in other tribunals, nullified Hon Chinda’s election in Kastina State for certificate forgery and that of Ikenga Imo on grounds of invalid nomination!
Confused Confusion Unintentional murder
As I just admitted, ‘I no be loya’. However, I went into ‘confused confusion’ when I read the comments from many learned folks on the judgement as well as the implications of the judgement going forward. The Chief Atikulator called the judgement a mockery of justice; the Commander in Chief of the OBIdients saw it as a travesty of justice, the Chief BATist described it as a win for democracy but Apapa( you still remember him?) gladly welcomed the judgement. Robert Clarke, an aged master in the game described it as the best judgement so far but got me confused later when he averred that judgements are based on law, not on facts. Yemi Osinbajo, who has since gone off the radar described the same judgement as a great victory for constitutional democracy. My good friend. Liboros Oshoma declared unequivocally that judgements are based on facts, not sentiments and that the Supreme Court would not say anything different but Nwokobia saw the Judges as dishonourable and accused them of descending into the arena of conflict and acting as lawyers for APC, Tinubu and High-Neck. Monday Ubani declared that the ruling on subpoenaed witnesses would make it IMPOSSIBLE for any legal electoral challenge to succeed and that the PEPT should have said ‘something’ about INEC reneging on its compact with Nigerian people( IREV et al). Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, expressed concern over the rulings on witness testimonies and electronic transmission while Kenneth Andy Okonkwo saw the 800pp document as being contrary to law and reason! Inehbe Effiong asked a very pertinent question: If INEC is not bound to use IREV, How can it transmit results directly from the polling unit as stated in the act?
The Common Sense Senator Murray Bruce believed that it would be selfish of Obi and Atiku to pursue the case further while Reno Omokiri said Obi would never smell Aso-Rock as long as he lived. For the Big Tent, it was an alarming judgement that displayed scant regard for the law but PANDEF went to the extent of demanding apologies from the litigants because of their shoddy showing at the PEPT. Paul Onwubiko was alarmed that the judgement has created the impression that the law, rather than identify the truth, was invented and designed to favour hardened criminals and crass manipulators, encourage criminal mindset and satanic logic. Sonnie Ekwuwosi saw it as an iniquitous and vulcanised judgement and once more accused the PEPT of descending into the arena of conflict and constituted itself as the counsel for the defendants, acted like hired assassins and decapitated the petitioners petition. Casmir Igbokwe on the other hand described it as a judicial coup that depended on technicalities, which the lead-judge warned against, and sustained a wobbling democracy! Kalu Okoronkwo saw it as a judicial heist which eroded the trust Nigerians had in the system while Chimamanda Adichie described it as shabby, shoddy and incredibly lacking in thoughts (Grammar!) NADECO-USA sees the judgement as Illogical, especially as it affected drugs and certificate related matters, IREV and the status of Abuja while Shehu Sani describes Hon Lar et al from in Plateau State as one of the most tragic and comical rulings in this season of Judicial magic! Rahman Owonikaran, the Ag SW Chairman of PDP averred that the judgement killed the hope of Nigerians on future elections, just as Ikeachukwu Amaechi described the Judiciary as undertakers of Nigeria’s democracy. Me? I no say anything except that these judgements appear to be suffering from CAC-Syndrome! ( CAC? Cash-&-Carry)
Beyond blaming the parties and politicians for the emergence of COURtocracy, I had also harped on the failings of INEC, which ‘fails to abide by its own guidelines or by the constitution. The electoral act stipulated electronic transmission of results and INEC assured that it was non-negotiable. INEC then failed to do so and a court in Lagos ordered it to comply with its guidelines but APC, which was not a party to the case, applied for leave to go on appeal. INEC also applies different benchmarks for similar cases in different places’. If you now recall that the electoral transmission was a key issue at the PEPT, you know why APC protested a court order on INEC to transmit electorally. You also wonder why all the efforts to pass the Electoral Act of 2022 and the nationwide jubilation that followed its passage.
Sure, it was different strokes for different folks but the greatest challenge is the implications for elections, electoral petitions and governance going forward. Now, the Abujarians( indigenes of Abuja) are rumoured to be preparing to ‘go to court’ to assert their rights to inter alia elect their governors, 3 Senators, Reps and State Assembly members! So how do people obtain justice where electorates were openly threatened and the threat enforced, heads and limbs were broken, results mutilated, polling units attacked, votes openly bought, and power acquired by people who snatch and run with it? How POssible is it for a petitioner to produce 176974 witnesses from the various PUs across the country? What should people and political parties do when security and INEC officials brazenly become agents of political parties. Has the Nigerian constitution turned a blind eye to issues of character, integrity, perjury, forgeries, drug-related offences, double citizenship and how can it be ruled that a legal infraction was of no effect because it was unintentional? How can people forced by the Tribunal to give witnesses be expected to provide their evidence on oath within 21 days, when they might not even been subpoenaed by then? What kind of society are we building when government agencies refuse to abide by guidelines, which they had voluntarily issued and promoted? Funny enough, some matters are determined on the basis of the guideline while in some cases, the guidelines are of no effect!
Paradoxically, INEC is not bound to prove that it did the right thing while the person so-declared is also not bound to prove that it won. So, the strategy is just declare me the winner! That was why INEC acted like a thief in the night( Matthew, 24:42) by declaring the results while we slept(Mt,13:24+). That was why the ‘winners’ sing-song became GO To Court. INEC has also wasted a princely sum of N300bn+ spent on technology and against all common and uncommon sense, taken us back to days of manual operations even when its offices are automated! As it has turned out, INEC seduced us with IREV and we allowed ourselves to be seduced( Jeremiah,20:7); they raised our hopes to high heavens, assuring us of effective and efficient ICT-driven process and after we had been fully suckered, they roughly and unapologetically crashed our hopes into smithers. Will the courts, which have been declared as the last hope of the common man, ever offer justice, including in electoral matters, to the poor? And if the courts offer us ONLY laws, who or what will offer us justice? However, in all these matters, the lawyers( certainly),the judges( probably) and their agents are the winners; they are not complaining!
As I concluded in first treatise on COURTocracy, we all know the right thing but while we await for that right time to do those right things, when the ballot will determine our fate and future, we must continue to manage and finetune COURTocracy. After all, what is purpose of our voting when the judiciary determines the eventual winners? I have therefore, as a part of my community service and contribution to national development, designed this ingenious method of optimising COURtocracy and it works like this; those who want to occupy any position (because it is their turn, because they have something or nothing to offer, because they can do it or because their people or religion are underrepresented) should just declare themselves as occupants of the given position. The declaration will be something like: I, Otunba Olaniyi, Otigbuinyna1 and Alhaji Gburugburu, D.Sc Hons, PTD 419 Special Class, convict extraordinary, serial customer of EFCC, with triple citizenship, hereby declare myself as the President, Governor of XYZ state or Senator. He or better she (remember the Adamawa experience) will file the declaration with the appropriate tribunal. Others will do the same and the tribunals will then determine the authentic occupant of the position, which will depend on the wizardry and witchery of the lawyers, and the depth of the pocket of the declarants!
Lady of justice being wooed… fell flat in distress
As usual, Nigerians who can make a joke even about their deaths( they can mock death and joke with their last breaths) have turned their attention to these strange tribunal pronouncements. A thief who was caught red-handed with the evidence( the cock he had just stollen) was discharged and acquitted because the complainant could not provide the name of the cock, its date of birth, the name of the parents and the maternity where it was born. A murderer was set free because he pulled the trigger unintentionally while a fellow who drunk AND drove was discharged because the AND no longer has any constitutional relevance. There was also the case of Okonkwo who caught Ikeogu with his missing mkpara and reported him to the elders. Ikeogu however visited the elders at night with special-grade agbado and when the case came up for hearing, they advised Okonkwo to allow Ikeogu to take care of it for him. That was after they had asked him what those witnesses, who saw Ikeogu stealing the item, were doing around his house then! The only ‘but’ with this last story was when the author stated that it was from Things Fall Apart!
Another depicted a picture of the lady of justice, who was being wooed and who eventually who fell flat on the ground on 6/9/23. If you recall she had been in distress and was supported with a piece of wood all along! I hope you have seen this Breaking News or Happening Now: a woman has just secured an injunction stopping her husband from conducting DNA tests on their three children because the outcome would cause her severe and irreparable damages!!! Asuquo B(26/9/23) has also shown that the justices are now competing for business with native doctors as they are being consulted by desperate politicians with cowries et al. It may also be that native doctors are now acting on behalf of the justices!
The war for and against COURTocracy has gone beyond our shores and is raging especially in the US where the judiciary protects democracy and good governance( in Nigeria, it is mostly the other way). By a uncanny twist of fate, everything about BAT, at least since his teenage years upwards started in the US: forfeiture, certificate, identity theft, perjury . These will also most likely end in the US because it is unimaginable that the US judiciary will be a part of this opacity.. However this CSU dingdong is getting curiouser and curiouser . On 22/3. Judge Maldonado ordered the stay of an order earlier given by Jeffery Gilbert ( 6/9/23)ordering Chicago State University to release the academic details of BAT. This is because the Chief BATist argued that the release of such documents would cause severe and irreparable damage to him.
Was he not the one saying Go To Court? How can he now beg the court NOT to do the needful? They thought that the court was limited to Nigeria! Let’s how the US system can tolerate all these magomago, which they cannot tolerate at home. If they dealt with TRUMPU, and Bidens son how can they cover up the Chief Priest of BATiocracy We await to see the elasticity of their tolerance for such shenanigans outside US. Chicago State University, which appears to have been used to such controversies is once more on trial. By the way, how can one who boldly displayed his certification by INEC be reluctant to display the CSU certification, which was a prelude to that from INEC?
Meanwhile, and despite of all efforts to dim the movement, all eyes are still on the judiciary. Justice Chukwudifu Oputa had declared with juristic finality that everything comes to a halt when the judge ( and the judiciary) is corrupt because if the legislature is corrupt, you go to the judiciary for redress; if the executive is corrupt, you go to the judiciary for remedy (but) if the judiciary is corrupt, where do you go from there? God whom you do not see? To history which is past? Or to the future which hasn’t come? This is in tandem with the question which the Psalmist asked the judges of his days How much longer will you give unjust judgments and uphold the prestige of the wicked? (Psalm82:2-4). Zecharia also reminded the Judges of their responsibilities: ‘These are the things you must do: Administer fair judgement conducive for peace; do not love perjury( Zecharia, 8: 16-17). As if he had us in mind, he even warned against perjury!
As I was tidying up this piece, fire gutted some parts of the supreme court. I hope this is an ordinary fire but even then, we have been assured that it will not adversely affect the process of COURTocracy. It also reminded me of the fire that finished Igbosere High Court in 2020. Some mischief-makers even reproduced one of the key headlines of those days about how some court papers related to BAT & Alfa Beta were burnt in the inferno, trying to create the impression that the papers were burnt at Supreme Court! Nigerians!!!
Anyway, COURTocracy is progressing and being finetuned and… we aint seen nothing yet!
A season of celebrations
Times are hard and Nigerians have NEVER had it so rough but life must go on. However, some of us still have enough reasons to be grateful to God and I join in sharing their joys. After all, we are admonished to rejoice with those who rejoice( Romans,12:15) Azeez Adepoju,who described himself as a career pump attendant and who was in 2004 described as the most illiterate, successfully defended his PhD thesis on14/9/23 and thus qualifies to be addressed as Azeez Adepoju, PhD, Business Administration, from Olabisi Onabanjo University. To the glory of God, I was the lead supervisor. In the picture above, he is flanked by Professor Oladele, the External Examiner and the son of man. My daughter (actually my niece) Munachi ‘Uzoahia’ Muo, made the family proud as she emerged the best graduating science student at Lagos State Senior Model College Ojo for the last academic session. We wish the medical-doctor to be success in her future endeavours and also congratulate the proud parents, Francisco and Lois Muo.
Azzez et al Munachi Egwuonwu Nwaogalanya et al
I also wish to felicitate with my senior friend (there are levels of friends!) Nze PE Egwuonwu who, on Saturday 23/9/23, received the St Thomas Moore Medal from the Archbishop of Lagos. This is in recognition of his commitment to the Catholic Church, including being a role model to the upcoming generations. PE Egwuonwu, a highly principled and humble gentleman has been my friend for the past three decades, a friendship that started when he was the CEO of ADIC Insurance PLC. I also rejoice with Ebele Nwaogalanya Umeweni who was installed as the 3rd Ide of Umuezemuli, Igboukwu on 4/8/23. He is flanked by Prof MC Muo & the son of man. As I rejoice with him, I also wish to remind him that the bigger the head, the bigger the headache! As we are rejoicing with them, may our own celebrations continue to flow.
Ik Muo, PhD. FCIB. Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye. 08033026624