Election Riggers Must Allow The Rigged To Seek Judicial Justice & Avoid Pushing Them To Violence In Nigeria
(SBCHROs, Onitsha Nigeria: 6th March 2019)-Election riggers or those credibly accused of same, especially the masterminds of the rigged 2019 Presidential Poll in Nigeria must stop sponsoring or inducing public interest groups or associations and individuals against the bold and courageous decision of the rigged and their teeming followers to seek judicial justice in Nigeria. By threatening and intimidating the rigged (Atiku, Obi, PDP and majority of Nigerians) from seeking judicial justice, they are being encouraged to resort to another insurgency or violent uprising in the country or any part thereof.
Time has also come for the above named “senior comrades” to disrobe their human rights cassocks, take a glorious bow and leave the epicenter of social conscience in Nigeria. They are now speaking in tongues very difficult to be understood by their colleagues and other concerned Nigerians; which are clearly alien and strange to modern day doctrines of human rights, rule of law, constitutionalism and democracy. Their probative and reprobative utterances and opinions have risen to an apogee or highest point of toleration and saturation.
Alternative to judicial justice over a conscience hurt dispute anywhere in the world is express resort to reprisal radicalism including militancy or insurgency. Unaddressed value crises such as electoral injustice and suppression of rights to ethnic and religious identities have been responsible for most armed or violent uprisings around the world. The Nigerian central Government and its apologists must, therefore, tread with caution and avoid causing creating and heightening political tensions including political suppression and intimidation capable of sliding the country into precipice. Aggrieved parties must not only be encouraged to resort to judicial justice but also be commended and supported by Nigerians for doing so.
It is therefore shocking and surprising that the same central Government of Nigeria that undemocratically and unconstitutionally suspended the Chief Justice of the country and appointed his next in command who hurriedly inaugurated the 2019 Nigerian General Elections Petitions’ Tribunals and swore in their judges including members of the Presidential Election Tribunal, could turn around to sponsor or induce groups and individuals; using the Southwest dominated print and electronic media outfits to dissuade the rigged from seeking justice through same judicial means. It is so disheartening and shocking to the extent that petitions have been sent by the central ruling party to members of the international community urging them to prevail on the rigged to back off and accept the crooked poll against their conscience. This is unheard of in the history of democracy in Nigeria.
Those directly accused of massively rigging the 2019 Presidential Poll in Nigeria are the trio of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the APC led Federal Government and the country’s security forces particularly the Nigerian Army. The sympathizers or apologists of the rigging are all groups or associations and individuals including lawyers, labor unions, religious leaders, opposition party candidates and members of the diplomatic community (i.e. foreign observers and international congratulatory messengers) that have allied themselves or joined forces with the APC led central Government of Nigeria to dissuade, condemn or threaten the rigged from seeking judicial justice. Their joint silence and refusal to speak or rise in condemnation of the armada of poll rigging is also conspiratorial.
Our Past Roles Against In Election Rigging In Nigeria
It must be stated that our advocacy activities against poll rigging, riggers and supporters of rigging in the country have always gone beyond political party lines or affiliations. Any established poll rigging has always attracted national or sub national attention of ours not minding the political party or candidate that was rigged. Poll riggers and their sympathizers deserve no apologies or sympathies until they are compelled judicially to surrender their stolen mandate. In the instant case, therefore, our locus is affirmed having played a role as leading pre 2019 Presidential Poll and its Election Day watchdog in the just concluded Poll.
We are therefore not new to anti election rigging campaigns in Nigeria; not minding the political party or person rigged or manipulated. We had in the past years under the aegis of the Coalition for Democracy and Good Governance in Anambra State (CODEGG) aligned ourselves with APGA and its governorship candidate, Peter Obi, which lasted for over three years until their stolen mandate was judicially restored in March 2006.
We had specifically sided with the trio of Senator Joy Emordi and Dr. Christian Okeke of PDP in 2003-2005 and Hon Chukwuma Umeoji of the Labor Party in 2007 until their stolen mandates were restored. These are just to mention but few. CODEGG then was pioneered by the trio of Anambra CLO, Barr Chuka, obele-Chuka and Emeka Umeagbalasi. Today, CODEGG is the forefather of Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Democracy Organizations.
Why Agbakoba, Falana, Osinbajo, Keyamo & Ors Should Disrobe Their Rights Cassocks & Leave
Without prejudice to the rights of the above named “senior comrades” to their freedom of expression and association including personal legal and political opinions and membership of Nigerian political industry; biases inherent in their exercise of such rights must always be highlighted and condemned especially if found to be grossly inconsistent with languages, signs, symbols and guidelines of the modern day doctrines of human rights, rule of law, constitutionalism and democracy. The utterances of the named in recent times especially in matters of the named doctrines in Nigeria are nothing to write home about; especially when done using “human rights” as a cover.
It is a settled saying that inconsistency of a man is the worst crime against his conscience and true conscience of a man is greater than the iron bars of the prison. It is also an immortal Igbo adage that when a big masquerade stays too long at entertainment arena without leaving, then he leaves kids and women with no option than to visit him with jest making and pouring of sands; having overstayed his welcome. As a Coalition, we are deeply concerned and worried that the murky waters of Nigerian politics is about to destroy or consumed, if not already destroyed or consumed what these “senior comrades” labored for their lifetime to build and hold for themselves and after their lifetimes.
As a matter of fact, they are now speaking in tongues very difficult to be understood by focused and unblemished others especially their junior colleagues in the social struggle, those who joined them after the military’s inglorious epoch and those that joined lately; jostling to carry on or takeover from them. They, too, can no longer be understood by most Nigerians. From the look of things, they appeared to have reached the saturation point of their stay and relevance in the Nigerian epicenter of social conscience and, therefore, should take a glorious bow and leave; so as to retire fully into Nigerian political trading market and other murky vocations of their own choice.
In other words, they should denounce their human rights involvement, disrobe their human rights cassocks, publicly bid farewell to their former comrades and announce their formal retirement into Nigeria’s political trading market and others. The truth is that the Nigerian epicenter of social conscience is no longer receptive of the “human rights languages”, signs, symbols and opinions of the named. It has gone so bad that their colleagues and most Nigerians now see their position on issues of “human rights” as apologetic to the oppressors and their oppressive policies and conducts; to the extent that what they now call or see as “rule of law” are rules of the might; and what they now call or see as doctrines of Nigerian “democracy” are transformative embryos of tyranny and totalitarianism. These they have continued doing unchecked, causing heart breeding and psychological traumas to millions who look up to them as social saints and savers of democracy.
Why We Are Deeply Worried & Concerned
Nigerians have expected the named to, as “human rights lawyers”, “democracy icons” and “senior defenders” of the Nigerian Judiciary or “SANs” to speak out boldly or rise in strong condemnation of the widespread rigging and violence that characterized the 2019 Presidential Poll. These they have not only refused to do but also turned around and risen against the seekers of judicial justice over the armada of the electoral fraud. To the greatest surprise of most, if not all Nigerians and lovers of democracy and rule of law, the named have gone further to rise in strong defense of the poll riggers including invocation of psychological warfare through coordinated campaigns against those seeking judicial justice and avoiding resort to violent uprising or insurgency.
The named, particularly the duo of Agbakoba and Falana had also in 2016 mounted fierce media campaigns against the Executive Gov of Abia State; Okezie Ikpeazu, urging him to “vacate office with utter immediacy” following a civil judgment by a Fed High Court over alleged complicity of the Gov in tax fraud. This was even when they knew as senior lawyers and “human rights icons” that the Gov constitutionally has right of appeal even to Supreme Court and had not declined to exercise same.
The Gov not only refused to be intimidated by their campaigns but also appealed and won at appellate court and in April 2018, the Supreme Court went further and dismissed the appeal of his challenger. Today, Gov Ikpeazu still remains the Abia Gov. Despite the fact that Gov Ikpeazu is in the black book of the Southeast Rights Coalition and Intersociety for his conspiracy in the military massacre of hundreds of unarmed and defenseless citizens of Igbo Nation, but he must not be ousted or disgraced out of office through the backdoor; a position we have maintained till date. We therefore call on the named to as a matter of uttermost immediacy, wear off their human rights cassocks and adorn themselves with new sacks of the Nigerian murky politics.
For purpose of putting the records straight, Mr. Agbakoba, SAN, had then said, “by law, Gov Ikpeazu is no longer the Abia Gov and should leave office immediately” (http://dailypost.ng/2016/07/02/by-law-ikpeazu-is-no-longer-abia-governor-agbakoba/) and http://dailypost.ng/2016/07/02/by-law-ikpeazu-is-no-longer-abia-governor-agbakoba/.
Mr. Femi Falana, too, toed the same line via: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2016/07/02/ikpeazu-no-longer-abia-governor-by-law-says-agbakoba-falana/. The Nigerian Supreme Court said otherwise on 12th April 2018 via: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/04/abia-s-court-declines-sack-gov-ikpeazu-awards-n4m-cost-appellant/
Again, following the armada of electoral fraud that massively characterized the 2019 Presidential Poll, same Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Yemi Osinbajo and Festus Keyamo; all SANs and acclaimed “human rights lawyers” and “democracy icons” not only kept mum but also turned round and launched media campaigns against the rigged, telling them not to go to court or how their case had already been lost. Such utterances are nothing short of lending support to poll rigging and riggers in Nigeria; particularly the riggers or manipulators of the 2019 Presidential Poll.
To Agbakoba, “Atiku’s court case is a waste of time”: http://dailypost.ng/2019/03/03/atiku-cant-prove-case-court-agbakoba/ andhttps://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/03/olisa-agbakoba-insists-atiku-going-to-court-is-waste-of-time/.
To Falana, “Atiku’s chances of winning in court are tough, etc”: https://thenigerialawyer.com/atikus-chances-of-winning-in-court-are-tough-falana-san/
To Osinbajo, “Buhari (Buhari Government) did not rig the poll but won based on his outstanding achievements in the past three years and more”: https://punchng.com/poll-results-osinbajo-justifies-apcs-victory/.
To some Buhari Campaign Organizations, “we petitioned EU, US, UK, others against Atiku/PDP to call them to order, advise them to concede and congratulate the “winner” and stop them from going to court”.
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Democracy Organizations (SBCHROs)
· Emeka Umeagbalasi-08174090052
· Aloysius Emeka Attah-08035090548
· Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD- 08035372962
· Prof Justice Chidi-08039100804
· Chidinma Udegbunam Evan, Esq.-08103244902
Groups In The Coalition:
1. Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Onitsha), 2. CLO, Southeast Zone (Enugu), 3. CLO, Anambra State Branch (Onitsha), 4. Forum for Promotion of National Ethos & Values (Enugu), 5. Igbo Ekunie Initiative (United Kingdom), 6. Int’l Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (Enugu), 7. Foundation for Environmental Rights, 8. Advocacy & Dev (Aba), 9. Society for Economic Rights & Social Justice (Aba), 10. Human Rights Organization of Nigeria (Onitsha), 11. Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (Onitsha), 12. Southeast Good Governance Forum (Awka), 13. Society Watch & Advocacy Project (of Intersociety) (Onitsha), 14. Initiative for Ideal Dev & Emancipatory Leadership in Nigeria (Aba), 15. Igbo National Council (Owerri), 16. Anambra Human Rights Forum (Awka), 17. Voice of the Voiceless Int’l (Awka), 18. Easy Life Initiative for Rural Youths (Aba), 19. Community Empowerment Network (Aba), 20. Southeast Movement against Transactional Politics & Profligacy (Awka), 21. Prof Justice Chidi (Southeast Academia) and 22. Neighborhood Environmental Watch Foundation (Abakiliki) and 23. Citizens for Righteousness & Social Justice (Owerri).