QuickRead: Osun tribunal’s sack of Adeleke. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter
The Osun State election petitions tribunal last week nullified the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke in the July 16, 2022 election in the state.
This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.
1. Osun tribunal’s sack of Adeleke
On January 27, a three-man panel led by Justice Tertse Kume sacked Adeleke as governor of Osun State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had last year declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate as the winner of the election after he scored 403,371 votes while former governor Gboyega Oyetola polled 375,027 votes.
Kume, who read the judgement, said: “After the panel deducted the observed over-voting from the votes cast, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola scored the majority lawful votes of 314,931 against Senator Ademola Adeleke’s 219,666.
“ Therefore, the panel held that Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, is the duly elected governor of Osun State.
“ The Independent National Electoral Commission should with withdraw the certificate of return presented to Senator Ademola Adeleke and issued the same to Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola as the duly elected winner of the Osun State governorship election held on July 16, 2022.”
Why it matters
If the ruling stands, the judgment, without a doubt, would be a major lift for the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and recent initiatives by INEC to improve the sanctity of the country’s electoral process.
It would also signal to corrupt INEC officials and their collaborators, including desperate politicians, that the era of inflated vote counts and other forms of electoral irregularities is gradually giving way to a new period of transparent process where the votes of Nigerians will begin to count in their choice of leaders.
Although there is still room for improvement, recent events, including the Osun ruling, has shown that the introduction of technology in the electoral process will surely bode well for a growing democracy like Nigeria and strengthen our leadership recruitment process.
2. Akwa Ibom APC crisis
A crisis hit the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa State last week over the purported expulsion of a former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, from the party.
The APC executive committee in Akwa Ibom State had on January 25 announced the expulsion of Enang for alleged anti-party activities.
But in a statement issued 24 hours later the APC chairman in Ibiono Ibom local government area of the state, Umoh Ekop, dismissed the expulsion of the ex-presidential aide from the party. Enang was defeated in the APC governorship primary held on May 27 last year by Akanimo Udofia.
The chairman said: “For the sake of the public, who may be misled to believe this lies from the pit of hell, we want to put the record straight, that Senator Ita Enang is still a member of All Progressives Congress, Eastern Ward 2, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
“We have not received any news or petition from the Ward Chairman of Eastern Ward 2 against Senator Ita Enang at any time.
“Senator Ita Enang is the only light and voice of the party at the local level as well as the known voice in Akwa Ibom State that has always been speaking for the party.”
Why it matters
The furore generated by Enang’s purported sack from APC is a subtle reminder that politics is an interest-driven game, and
speaks to the inability of the party leaders and their followers to learn from past debacles in their pursuit of individual goals.
Unless all the parties put aside their differences and forge a united front, the party’s hopes of picking one of the states it has coveted since 1999 might have gone up in smokes.
3. US visa ban on Nigerian politicians
The United States government on January 25 slammed a visa ban on some Nigerians and their family members for undermining the country’s democracy.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who announced this in a statement, said the move was part of Washington’s move to advance democracy and tackle corruption in Nigeria.
He said: “We are committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Nigeria and around the world. Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian election.
‘’Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.”
Why it matters
Foreign interests in the conduct of elections in Nigeria emphasize, among others, their desire for the enthronement of credible and sustainable leadership recruitment processes anchored on fairness, equity, and justice in the country.
READ ALSO:QuickRead: ICPC’s scorecard on MDAs. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter
The US move, though not guaranteed a total restraining order against desperate people politicians, holds the prospect of dissuading all individuals from undermining Nigeria’s democratic process while ensuring that people’s votes count in next month’s and future elections.
4. PDP’s Jandor decries attacks on campaign team
The PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Adediran, alias Jandor, on January 25 decried the constant attacks on his campaign vehicle by suspected political thugs in the state.
He made the call two days before thugs loyal to APC and PDP clashed in the Aguda area of Surulere, Lagos.
Jandor, who spoke during a campaign tour of the Kosofe local government area of the state, said: “What is happening, we do not want it again. It is not good for democracy, but despite the attacks, we are moving and still motivated to rescue our people.
“I know it is only God that can give and take, if God gives you, no one can take it.”
Why it matters
The upsurge in the violent clashes between supporters of the two major political parties in the state suggests the reluctance of the political class to wean themselves of the win-at-all syndrome that is deeply ingrained in our society.
The solution to this problem rests on the re-orientation of players in the political space to see elections as an opportunity to test their strength and popularity through the ballot and not through bullets or other forms of violence.
5. IPOB’s fresh alarm on Kanu
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) claimed on January 27 that the Federal Government has concluded plans to kill its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, in custody.
In a statement issued in Owerri, Imo State, by its Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, the group said the Department of State Services (DSS) has been starving Kanu of food.
The statement read: “For the first time, we have seen Nnamdi KANU complain for his life. He complained very sadly that he was dying slowly. He also complained bitterly that the DSS had subjected him to drug abuse as medication required for two weeks is provided for only eight days.
“He complained that he hadn’t been allowed to see any doctor since the second week of December 2022, and DSS has refused to take him to the doctor despite his deteriorating health. He says his internal organs are badly affected, yet the DSS has refused to take him to a hospital.”
Why it matters
The import of Kanu’s continued stay in prison is that it stokes further tension in a region that is gaining global attention for the wrong reasons.
The recent claim by the group on its incarcerated leader as well as concern exhibited by top Nigerians on the security situation in the South-East reinforce the call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to consider appeals for the unconditional release of Kanu as well as explore a political solution to IPOB’s agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra.
By Hamed Shobiye
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