The Supreme Court took a right decision last week to bring forward the date for the determination of the suit filled by Governor Ohakim seeking to know if the Appeal Court has jurisdiction in adjudicating in the case brought by Chief Martin Agbaso, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) against the decision of the Maurice Iwu-led INEC to annul the April 14, Imo State governorship election, which he was believed to have won. Earlier in May, and after preliminary hearing of the Ohakim case, the court had surprisingly adjourned the case to September 29th in a move that was seen as a clear attempt to compromise the importance of the case to not only Agbaso, Imo people but the country's badly manipulated electoral system. Again, not a few people believed that by that unnecessarily long adjournment, the Supreme Court served notice to Agbaso and all those that hoped that the abracadabra Iwu committed in Imo State to force his hireling on the state would be undone because it is wrong and does not have any sympathy with the laws of the land, that it won't really do justice to the case.

Whoever has taken time to study the factors behind the funny cancellation of the April 14 election on the flimsy ground of unknown violence affecting the governorship election while sparing the state assembly elections cast in the same ballot box, will know that Ohakim is sitting on shifting grounds. Whoever knows the undercurrents of the case will know that allowing Iwu to get away with this perfidy will introduce a dangerous precedent in the conduct of elections in this country. This will place elections at the mercies of the wild whims and idiocies of whoever is empowered to conduct elections. He will therefore treat the wills of the people with such flimsy and lackadaisical attitude as Iwu did on April 14th 2007 just because his choice hireling and brother was not made the governor. Because Ohakim has a very weak case and because his emergence was through the most horrendous means; to satisfy the personal desires of Iwu, for which he reaps handsomely from Imo State today, there is every reason that his mandate will not survive any legal challenge from Agbaso. This is why Ohakim knows that his best bet is to play with time, with the hope that Agbaso's case will drag to eternity and even if legally resolved, will ensure that he already expends the illegal mandate before he is legally removed from office.

So in granting that unduly long adjournment, many Imo people felt frustrated that the Supreme Court has bought into Ohakim's known tactics of sparing no funds to buy whatever reprieve he wants from the rotten Nigerian system. Why the Supreme Court, with its known antecedent to deliver landmark rulings en route the charade that brought about the present mangled order, will succumb to such laundered lucre escaped many people that happened on this belief. When therefore it corrected itself and brought the case forward to June 23rd, the Supreme Court was sending enough message that it is bent on doing justice in the Agbaso case because such justice will certainly unleash a positive influence on not only the electoral system, which the Supreme Court has done so much to put right, but also the loud and clear demand for electoral reform. It is expected the Supreme Court will rule on the case on that date and set in motion the instruments for the effective determination of a case that stands to impact tremendously on the electoral process of the country.

With this positive signal from the Supreme Court, it is expected that Ohakim and the press mobsters he had assembled with funds that would otherwise have bettered the lots of Imo people, will further their traditional media hysteria. It is expected that a rash of jobbers will step up the cash-and-carry pilgrimages to the salubrious Imo government house where cash speaks and no one walks away from those empty enterprises empty handed. We should expect a shameless cabal of political liabilities, jobbers and never-do-wells, masquerading as either Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe Elders indulging in well financed revelries in Owerri government house, with a mandate to chastise Agbaso and praise the 'clean and green messiah' that is picking the bills for their elephantine greed presently.

We shall all expect a well-oiled and well fed cartel of columnists and opinionists infesting the national news space with tales of how Ohakim has become the knight in shinning Armour Imo people have been waiting for and how any thought of bringing him to account for his illegal mandate will translate to a heresy. Agbaso will be the principal target of these paid opinions and we shall witness as several newspaper pages are bought by faceless groups such as one that passes as Imo League of Professionals, which is no more than a praise singer in Ohakim's government who was writing a fiery column in a national newspaper before Ohakim recruited him. We shall see several features in the Nigerian newspapers lauding Ohakim and saying how Agbaso has become a devil incarnate. One common streak in these features is that the fat media mobsters in Ohakim's cabinet pen them and sell them with several non-existing pseudonyms. We shall witness several paid groups pontificating on how Agbaso will be violating an unknown and unseen power pact that stands out for how it cheats Owerri zone and rewards other zones and how the governorship has suddenly become the birth right of Ohakim and his Mbano clan. Traditional touts will flood government house Owerri, in their funny apparels to lend their compromised voices to the fraud that produced Ohakim. Religious charlants will follow suit and tell Ohakim that God has decreed that he will rule Imo State forever.

The intent of these efforts of jobbers, media hackers and hirelings will be to twist the hands of the Supreme Court to rule that the Appeal Court has no power to adjudicate on the annulment of an election that was successfully concluded. The intent would be to retain the troubled government in Owerri and continue sustaining such cheap roguery that produced Ohakim just because Iwu, Ohakim and Udenwa must chop. The intendment will be to ensure the source of free meal they enjoy at present, is not rocked. Appointees and other forms of eunuchs that feel they have arrived with the present dispensation will go suicidal with their intent to kill to ensure that Ohakim is not relieved of his tainted mandate. One of them, a known literary scavenger that was looking for what to eat but who have suddenly become an adviser to Ohakim is threatening to march on any person who will write anything against his principal.

At the end of the day however, one hopes the Supreme Court would be guided by the need to not only do justice to all but also right the twisted and crooked paths of the electoral process, which Iwu mishandled so badly in April 2007. fact is that nowhere in the electoral process was Iwu or any person whatsoever mandated to abort an election that had been virtually concluded. The truth is that the April 14 election was concluded and it produced Agbaso with all the state assembly members who were allowed to go with their own victories. The truth is that there is no way the Supreme Court will allow Agbaso to be punished just because Iwu wanted to satisfy his base interests by all means. The truth is that the electoral process must be a sacrosanct institution that should withstand the primitive interests of a few characters and this fact, the Supreme Court must affirm or else we would have a parody that could be twisted at will to meet pre-determined interests of a few.

We expectantly look forward to the Supreme Court to do what is right on the Imo State governorship issue and we expect a quick resolution of the main issue so that we don't have a case of pyrrhic victory in our hands. We expect the entire judiciary to do justice to the case brought before it on whether or not concluded elections should be placed on the whims and caprices of some people to do, as they want so long as it satisfies whatever interest they have. That is the kernel of Agbaso's case and how the Supreme Court decides will say so much on how future elections will be conducted in this country.

Stephen Nwahiri.
Mushin Lagos.

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