KOGI : *Wadaro vs Bellonoja, All Eyes On the Judiciary –*
*_Usman Okai Austin_* .
As we await the pronouncement of Kogi State Election Tribunal’s final verdict, the worst guber election in Nigeria, Engr. Musa Wada’s camp and the PDP are only looking unto God to guide the judiciary for justice. For the sake of contempt of the Court, I wouldn’t say Wada has won already but nobody relies on God and get defeated. It is not just about Wada or the PDP, it’s a battle between the suffering people of Kogi State and a man who imposed himself on the people.
The judiciary being the last hope of the common man is the only place to run to in times like this and we count on them to deliver justice to the people of Kogi State. The decision of Wada/Aro to approach the temple of justice to seek redress through the learned silk, J.S. Okutepa can not be over emphasized, judging from the obvious dastard acts during the election. We can’t afford to allow oppression and impunity to thrive in our society. Okupepa, SAN, is a man who sees oppression as a sin.
Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, (‘The Constitution’), provides for the right to fair hearing and stipulates that judges shall hear and determine matters before them ‘within a reasonable time”. A component of this legal norm as established in the famous English case of R V. Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy (1924) 1KB,254 is the principle that judges owe an obligation to ensure that not only must justice be done, but must be seen to have been done in all cases.
Section 285(5) of the Constitution stipulates that every election petition shall be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of result of the election. By subsection (6) of S. 285, the tribunal is bound to deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of the filing of the petition, while by subsection (7) of same section, an appeal arising therefrom shall be concluded within 60 days of the delivery of the judgment of the tribunal or court of appeal. Similar provisions on time limit for pre–election cases are enshrined under S. 285(8), (11), (12), (14) of the 1999 Constitution as amended by the 4th Alteration Act, 2017.
Engr Musa Wada, the political orphan who has no godfather, abandoned by those who benefited largely from the same party he flew the flag, strongly believes that with God all things are possible. While traitors stand aloof to watch, God has taken over the battle already and it would end in praises.
After receiving mammoth support from the Kogites, though shortchanged by electoral robbers, Wada’s hope is very much alive. Even foreign observers confirmed the high level of irregularities that marred the Kogi State gubernatorial election.
The world knows what happened on the 16th November 2019, where the mandate that was freely given to Engr. Musa Wada and Sam Aro was forcefully taken through bullets, arson and high scale rigging never witnessed in any election. It involved the deployment of helicopter to aide the rigging machinery, a developement that was new in Nigeria and a setback in the anal of our democratic experience. The people of Kogi State are looking unto God for justice and we are rest assured that God won’t let the people down.
It is true that the judiciary in Nigeria has a great role to play in correcting the injustice created in Kogi State by INEC under the leadership of Professor Yakubu, and the good people of the State only prays that this truth would continue to exist without subversion. We therefore, believe that only the truth shall the judiciary speak for the restoration of the stolen mandate to ensure victory for Kogites.