APC As Judiciary’s New Friend, By Lere Olayinka


While growing up in Okemesi-Ekiti, one of the stories my grandfather told me was that of a certain bird. This bird, according to grandfather will sing “hun o kuo ngbo yi” (I must leave this forest) whenever it was hungry and could not find anything to eat. However, the moment it was able to feed sufficiently, it will sing “Igbo yi dun pupo” (this forest is very sweet).
The story of this double-speak bird came to my mind when I read a statement by the APC, accusing the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of launching out on large-scale smear campaign on the Nigerian judiciary.
The APC went on to say that the PDP was “casting aspersions on the integrity of respected members of the bench whose only offence is that their meticulous and balanced judgments have exposed PDP’s fraudulent and violent escapades during the 2015 general elections.”
This, coming from a party that once accused judges of collecting N3 billion bribe to give judgment in favour of PDP cannot but be laughable.
On December 19, 2014, the APC in Ekiti State, while rejecting the tribunal judgment validating the election of Governor Ayodele Fayose and casting aspersion on the integrity of the judiciary, said; "It is worrisome that the judiciary appears not ready to tackle the flagrant abuse of the courts by desperate politicians.”
In the double-faced political dictionary of the APC, saying that the judiciary was not ready to tackle flagrant abuse of the courts would be complimentary while the PDP complaints about miscarriage of justice on Rivers and Akwa Ibom States would be derogatory.
In the past, APC in its desperation for power, did not only threaten war against the judiciary, the party also threatened to turn Nigerians to refugees in their own country with possible return of Operation wetie witnessed in the Western Region in the mid-sixties.
A day to the June 21, 2014 Ekiti State Governorship election, APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, at a press conference in Lagos threatened war if the election was rigged and of course, the only election that is not rigged is the one in which the APC emerges the winner.
At the press conference attended by APC chieftains such as Rotimi Amaechi, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator Osita Izunaso (National Organising Secretary), Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Chief (Mrs.) Kemi Nelson (APC Women Leader), Alhaji Lai Mohammed (the party’s spokesperson), among others, the party openly called for war against the people of Ekiti State.
Chief Oyegun warned that the road being charted by the Federal Government in handling today’s Ekiti State governorship poll, among others, can lead to a repeat of Operation wetie in the Western Region and would make every Nigerian a refugee if care is not taken.
When APC was known as Action Congress (AC) and later Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the judiciary was openly blackmailed, ridiculed and some cases compromised by the party in the Southwest.
For instance, when the Justice Hamma Barka-led tribunal in Ekiti State gave its majority judgment in favour of the PDP in 2010, the ACN used one of its agents of media terrorism, Sahara Reporters to accuse the judges of receiving N3 billion bribe. The N3 billion cash was claimed to have been transported to Ogere Toll Gate, Lagos-Ibadan expressway where it was changed to dollars!
On May 5, 2010, Prof Itse Sagay, a notable apologist of the APC described the judgment of the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as a disgrace.
He said; “The verdict is a disgrace. I watched part of the tribunal’s proceedings on television, when I saw the way the judge was going, puncturing the case of the petitioner, it was clear to me that the Action Congress would not get justice.”
In June 2010, Sunday Akere, who was then the Osun State ACN Director of Research and Strategy reacted to the State governorship election tribunal judgment saying; “We, the Osun AC, came to seek equity at the tribunal with clean hands. But what we got is a shame and a blot on the integrity of the Nigerian judiciary. It is shameful that a panel of five judges could sit down and write such an incoherent judgment.”
In his own reaction to the judgment, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who was the ACN governorship candidate said; “The judgment is dubious,” meaning that the tribunal judges were themselves dubious because only dubious judges could give dubious judgments.
Instead of robbing themselves in the garment of sainthood and presenting themselves as defenders of the judiciary, the APC and its multiple-mouth leaders should rather concentrate on their dubious use of a section of the judiciary to manipulate themselves to power as they have done before; and leave posterity to judge who the real friend of our judiciary is.
Olayinka is the Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media to the Ekiti State Governor.