By Segun Olulade
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”, so said Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists that ever lived.
Saturday the 21st November 2015, like June12th 1993 has symbolically become an important day in the history of our democracy. There is no denying the fact that the biggest puzzle that remains unsolved by our current electoral body is the one that will remain a point of reference for so long in the land. Unfortunately, the puzzle was created by same electoral body that is saddled with the responsibility to untie the electoral bottleneck that characterised our electoral system before the advent of Attahiru Jega.
Where is justice? What becomes of a nation if the Rule of Law is carelessly sacrificed for selfish political interests whereby the electoral body is involved as a party in the rape of justice? What precedence is the current scenario laying for our political future?
The people of Kogi woke up on the fateful day hoping for liberation by sunset from misrule of Idris Wada of the Peoples’ Democratic Party. That wish was expressed widely via Abubakar Audu/Abiodun Faleke ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress. The people of Kogi saw freedom coming, but the ancient North Central state was openly gagged by the declaration of an already won and lost election inconclusive, following the death that struck the bearer of the hope, Prince Abubakar Audu.
But all was not lost for Kogi people because the bearer of the torch of hope passed the baton silently to the heir apparel of the mandate (moral and constitutional successor), James Abiodun Faleke. Silently while passing on, the Prince of Igala Land whispered for justice, handed a trust to Faleke and departed.
It soon became a funny escapade that INEC suddenly declared that election inconclusive, to submit to a cabal who would produce their anointed candidate to conclude a process he was never part of. We should have passed this indecency. Robbing a dead man is un-African; robbing off the popular wishes of the people is inhumane; and robbing peace and conscience of people that were thirsty of good governance is ungodly.
Various schools of thoughts have argued for and against INEC’s decision but none of the arguments have defeated the underlying truth of the matter – that a Faleke under the law remains the most senior bearer of APC’s flag in the race, and as long as he is alive, he was supposed to step into Audu’s position for completion of the exercise.
For justice to prevail, according to Edmund Burke, good men must act otherwise the evil will prevail.
For many years, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, dominated with cabals, toyed with internal democracy; they rob Peter to pay Paul many times, daring peoples’ feelings and grievance. In the end, the people spoke and opted for a CHANGE. As the ruling party in her 6th month, can we allow interests of masked few to dominate peoples’ strong desire and throw caution into the winds? Can we pass the integrity test as model for building a new Nigeria we envisaged?Can we dare to just do it right by doing the right thing even in the face of a political temptation?
In words of wisdom, Faleke subtly reminded the party against setting it on a path of destruction through impunity and injustice, adding that APC should learn from what happened to the PDP. He said further that the present struggle was a complex one and beyond him as he was not willing to betray the trust late Abubakar Audu bestowed on him concerning the emancipation of the people and the future of the state.
Obviously, after said and done, the total number of votes recorded in the supplementary election was a pointer to a mischievous plan which has been daringly executed through political instruments and agents in the system. In the end, I hope the court will excavate justice wherever it might have been buried.
Abubakar Audu had responsibility to enable power change in Kogi politics which he upheld until his death. For anyone who does not understand the moral right referred to by James Abiodun Faleke in the public address that followed INEC’s decision, a view of the bond between German spies in the 2nd World War in a film titled ‘Operation Daybreak’ tells it all. Trust is never a trust until it was upheld by its custodian after demise of the bond partner.
There is a great lesson to be learnt from Audu/Faleke scenario though the entire message cannot unfold immediately. The road that leads to justice is laden with difficulties and trial of patience. According to Martin Luther King Jr, human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertion and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
The other scene of the matter is about those who constantly see Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as architect of everything that happens in the political space in Nigeria. Tinubu once said that his name is a selling brand even for the media, now I can’t but agree with Jagaban Bogu.
In the wake of announcement of Audu’s death, a group in Kogi took to the media to issue release linking Asiwaju with the death of Abubakar Audu. The Jagaban was reduced to a murder that poisoned Audu so that Faleke could be Governor. No current living political icon has attained the standard and heroic status Asiwaju represents in today’s Nigeria’s political space. Asiwaju is a liberator of the deprived and devastated who remained hopeless until the then ruling party, PDP, was brought to its kneel. Bola Tinubu risked all he has, his life inclusive, to set Nigeria free. He upholds the cause of justice concerning everyone even the person he has never met. A deeper study into Tinubuism will reveal that it will take long years before Nigeria can have another hero of Tinubu’s measure.
For Faleke, I think the walk to justice can be long and rough like the great Mandela once said, but the truth is that in the end, victory is foreseen not just for Faleke but the people of Kogi who are first victims in this circumstance.
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe”, so said Frederick Douglas.
The rest is left for our Judiciary, the last hope of common man, to do justice to this anomaly and blatant miscarriage of justice. If we must make sense out of our democracy, the Judiciary has a role to play in this trying moment!
Mr. Olulade is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Epe Constituency II