by Michael Orodare
Just as I’m looking forward to a day INEC will conduct an election that will never be contested by any party at the tribunal, so also I’m looking forward to a day a free and credible election like we had in Ondo state last year…
If you are a lover of Nollywood and you were present or followed the Ondo State election petitions tribunal sitting through the 178 days, you will never wish the sitting ended after the 178 days. It was a period of drama, not a tragic neither was it a tragicomedy drama, it was 178 days of comedy from the candidates and parties challenging the re-election of Olusegun Mimiko as Governor of Ondo state.
How best could you describe if not as drama, where 17 political parties contested an election and the party which came 17th in the election also filed a petition to challenge the winner at the tribunal. Or how best would you describe a political party whose candidate never applied to INEC to contest in the election, but the candidate was also seen with petitions at the tribunal. One of the political parties could not poll 2,000 out of about 500,000 total votes returned, a political party which won only two out of eighteen local governments, and there they were all at the tribunal challenging and seeking the nullification of the emergence of Mimiko, who won 13 out of 18 local governments in the election.
No doubt it is the right of any party to go seek redress at the tribunal when an election is neither free nor fair, marred by malpractice and violence, like we use to have in the bad old days between 1999 and 2007. But in a case where the election has been described by the majority of the populace, international and local observers, as free, fair and credible, devoid of violence and malpractice.
According to the Chairman of the panel, Justice Andovar Kaka’an, none of the candidates were able to substantiate their claim of injection of names, alleged multiple voting and ballot snatching among other allegations. The gospel truth is, the candidates and their parties are driven by desperation and not vision for the state.
It’s also so interesting to watch the two arch-rival opposition parties in Nigeria, ACN and PDP collide to be in one accord in Ondo state in their quest to unseat the incumbent, they are both fighting for one goal, so their strange romance was understandable, at the national level their leaders cry fowl at each other, in Ondo state they enjoyed a partnership, of whatever it takes’ even if dining with the devil will make them achieve their aim, they are ready to go any length ‘to destroy every good works,’ we all watched with keen interest and humour how the PDP at the Ondo tribunal volunteered to donate to the ACN, part of the days allocated to it to argue its petitions and call its witnesses for cross-examination, even why the latter didn’t ask for such ‘favour’ from PDP. Maybe you’re wondering why they did that? It cannot be far from the fact that they were both on a revenge mission. The ACN publicly declared to us at one of its rallies preceding the governorship election last year why they were in the race, not because the incumbent had not performed, but because they want to avenge ‘the billion of pounds’ they claim to have spent on him in 2007. The PDP on the other hand wants to avenge the ousting of their do-nothing ‘principal’ who had the opportunity to turn the fortune of the state around in six years but never did, rather it became power-drunk, spending state resources like tomorrow will never come.
They were bent on mortgaging the future of the unborn generation with their recklessness in handling state resources. Awarding contracts to family, friends and associates who never executed any of the projects, no doubt those six years was a period of harvest for them. Now they want to take us back to those days, promising to be on a ‘rescue mission’, the mission they never had in their six years in office, now they’ve got missions, funny!
It’s also so embarrassing and a big blow to law profession to listen to a candidate who was once a National Legal Adviser of his party, claiming before the tribunal sitting that on the day of the election he saw what happened in over 1000 polling units across the state, how could that be possible? Only him could answer that, but we know quite well that he is not an omni-present being, no wonder his witnesses were described by the Chairman as ‘bundle of primary and secondary hearsays’ which are definitely not permissible in law.
Just as I’m looking forward to a day INEC will conduct an election that will never be contested by any party at the tribunal, so also I’m looking forward to a day a free and credible election like we had in Ondo state last year will be conducted and candidates will accept the results in good fate without litigations. The 2015 elections will serve as another litmus test for the electoral umpire-INEC to see if it can leverage on its success in the conduct of the Edo and Ondo 2012 governorship elections.
Michael Olanrewaju Orodare has worked in the Office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Ondo State Governor as a Media Assistant. He has garnered experience writing in the The Nation Newspaper working with the paper’s Sunday Desk. He leans towards the Labour Party. He blogs at www.michaelorodare.blogspot.com and tweets from @MichaelOrodare
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija