Whenever the 2019 was mentioned before its arrival, what came to the minds of many Nigerians was the 2019 General Elections particularly the presidential election wherein it will be decided whether the Nigerian electorates will renew President Muhammadu Buhari’ s tenancy at the ASO ROCK VILLA for another four years or they will send him packing.
Since PMB has indicated interest in the renewal of the tenancy, the Nigerian people who are the real landlords will determine his fate. PMB is not the only one interested in the occupation of the ASO ROCK VILLA, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku , former Vice President to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007 is equally interested.
There is no doubt in my mind that this year presidential election is going to be one of the most interesting presidential races in the history of this country. From 1999 when the country returned to democracy, People Democratic Party (PDP) was in power and boasted that it would be there for 60 years. This was not to be as it suffered a defeat in the hands of political parties that came together to form All Progressive Congress (APC) for the 2015 General Elections. Before the defeat of PDP, it witnessed a great exodus of some of its prominent members to the then newly formed political party. By the time the result of that presidential election was released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with General Muhammadu Buhari of APC scoring 15,424,921 votes while Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of PDP scored 12,853,162, the ruling PDP was already sent packing from power and found itself in the opposition. The 2015 election result reminds us of the controversial FEDECO’s 1979 Presidential election result where Alhaji Shehu Shagari of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) scored 5,688,657 while Chief Obafemi Awolwo of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) scored 4,916,651. Unlike the late Chief Awolowo that went to court to challenge the election result, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan did the rare thing in African politics by accepting the defeat.
With the exodus of the PDP politicians to the APC and its subsequent victory over the PDP, the struggle for power and supremacy among the estranged politicians who found themselves in the same ship became an issue .The voyage was never a comfortable one and some had to disembark. Like what happened when the PDP was in power with the emergence of the New PDP (nPDP) so was the emergence the Renewed All Progressive Congress (rAPC) when APC is in power and control. In African politics, most times politics is not about service to the people but service to the politicians’ selfish interest. To politicians in Africa, politics is the most lucrative business and if one political party seems not to be protecting his interest why must he continuing staying in that party? That is a typical African politician for you.
PDP having not be comfortable being in the opposition for close to four years is now determined to wrestle power for the ruling APC. To show its seriousness, it paraded the highest number of the presidential aspirants that contested in its party’s primary election. Virtually all its prominent members that had earlier abandoned it for APC found their way back to the PDP. The battle to pick the PDP flag bearer for the 2019 presidential election was fought for by nearly 20 aspirants with Atiku scoring 1532 votes, Tambuwal 693, Saraki 317 Kwakwaso 158 and Dankwabo 111 . With the emergence of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku as the PDP flag bearer for the presidential election, he is now to lock horns on with President Muhammadu Buhari the sole presidential candidate of the APC.
With the countdown to the general elections, the stage is now set for the great electoral battle between Atiku of PDP and Buhari of APC. Unlike other previous presidential elections in the country, this particular one will be very interesting in the sense that the two candidates apart from being from the North are equally both Muslims. Unlike for instance the 1979 and 2015 presidential elections when a Northern ran the race against a Southern, this time around, it is going to be a Northern running the race against another Northern. Atiku having kicked off his presidential campaign in Sokoto State and Buhari in the Akwa Ibom State, the stage is now set for the big electoral race of all times.
We must at this stage advise the politicians that in go about their political campaign they need to display the highest sense of maturity and not to see the race as do or die affairs .To borrow from the words of one of our great late Supreme Court Jurists, Hon. Justice Pat-Acholonu in the case BUHARI Vs. OBASANJO (2005) ALLFWLR (Pt 273) Pg. 203:
“Politics in Nigeria should not be a do or die affair. Anyone without profession except politics must have nothing to do with politics in whatever form. Above all let the budding politicians should leave jobless people who now turn into thugs as supporters alone, so that more harm will not be done to the electoral processes.”
We unfortunate live in the part of the world where politics is seen as a do or die affairs. Rather than politicians addressing issues on how they intend to improve on the welfare of the electorates when they get to power, they will resort to character assassinations during their campaigns or political rallies. A lot of predictions have been flying on here and there specially on the social media on who will win or lose the elections. My personal attitude to those kinds of predictions is that those soothsayers should allow us to wait for the outcome of the elections. Predicting the winner or loser before the election is like trying to play God, the Omniscience.
Whether Buhari will succeed in retaining the ASO ROCK VILLA’s key or will be sacked and sent packing by the electorates for Atiku in the forthcoming presidential election is the question to be answered to the Nigerian electorates with the permanent voter cards. Whichever way the election result goes the loser must display the spirit of sportsmanship by congratulating the winner as done by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan after the 2015 presidential election. God bless Nigeria.
LEARNED SILK’S ENDLESS ARGUMENT
Chief Mike Ozekhome, a learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria has been very passionate about arguing his point against the validity of the Section 396 (7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. The learned silk has so far done series of articles on this subject raging from parts one to three .On the last count , I discovered that the argument is yet to come to an end. In two different articles titled SITTING OF JUDGES: DISAGREEING WITH A LEARNED SENIOR ADVOCATE and ELEVATED JUDGES: WHAT IS THE ARGUMENT ON THE OTHER SIDE? I have done a rebuttal to the issue in question. What prompted this present reaction is that upon reading the part three of the learned silk’s argument, I observed that this issue is being blown out of proportion and over flogged. Chief Ozekhome’s school of thought is still trying to convince us that the said provision is unconstitutional citing several case authorities that am of the view are grossly misconceived and irrelevant to the issue at stake. This is a very good instance where one will even appreciate the intervention of the Supreme Court when the occasion arises so that the issue can be put to rest once and for all.
Any court of law particularly the Apex Court in the land decides cases base on the facts and the laws in existence. The question we need to ask is that : why are the existing Laws or Rules of courts being amended? Let us take for instance the Tenancy Law of Lagos State 2011 where it is now the law by Section 13 (4) that in the absence of express agreement between the landlord and the tenant a Notice to Quit does not necessarily need to determine or terminate a yearly tenancy at the anniversary or current term of the tenancy. This is a clear deviation from the celebrated case of AFRICAN PETROLEUM LTD Vs. OWODUNNI (1991) 8 NWLR where the Supreme Court held that yearly tenancy should terminate at the anniversary of the tenancy. What brought about the change in Lagos State? In tenancy matter in the past, this Supreme Court authority was used as an instrument to frustrate several tenancy matters as any Writ of Summon for Possession whose accompanying Notice to quit did not determine the yearly tenancy at its anniversary then was a dead case at the end of the trial. Section 13 (4) of Tenancy Law of Lagos State 2011 as it is today has changed the situation. Any lawyer in Lagos State now trying to argue against this Section on the authority of AFRICAN PETROLEUM LTD Vs. OWODUNNI (supra) will only be chasing shadow.
Why changing the Rules of courts? Lagos State as our case study in 2004 introduced frontloading regime to the civil litigation practice procedure and same was embraced by other courts in the Federation. About eight years later the Rules was amended to become 2012 Rules and now 2019 Rules is in the pipeline. Other courts are equally amending their Rules from time to time with the view to checkmate the incessant delay in the dispensation of justice. The 1999 Constitution itself is undergoing series of amendment. As we have said before, arguing against Section 396 (7) of the ACJA as it is presently is tantamount to clamouring for the retention of the old order that has not add value to the quick dispensation of criminal justice as well as revolting against genuine innovation and revolution. If you as a lawyer is convinced by the argument of the Chief Ozekhome’s school of thought, their argument does not appeal to me in the least as by their contention, the law should stand still while the rest of the world goes on. To me that will be bad for our criminal judicial system. The law must continue to develop rather than being static. In this age of technology, should we allow to be dragged back to the Stone Age?
REMARKABLE PRONOUNCEMENT ON DETERMINATION OF TENANCY
“I would wish to make an observation. The defendant’s employment with the plaintiff was terminated on the 24th of November, 1977. Since then, that is for a period of fourteen years, the defendant has remained in possession of the premises he occupied essentially by reason of his employment with the plaintiff. The plaintiff has all through, by itself and through its counsel, tried to get him out of the premises. But he still lives there. Since counsel came into the matter some twelve years ago, eight different notices to quit or of intention to go to court have been issued and on two occasions notices issued and served have been cancelled apparently to enable counsel to begin properly. But once more the plaintiff must fail again because of its failure to serve correct and proper notices. This is sad. The law, it has been said, is an ass. And the unruly ass must keep galloping along so long as litigants refuse to follow simple rules clearly laid down by statute. This is of the very nature of justice according to law; and the courts must take the blame! Be that as it may, the two courts below were right to have held the defendant’s tenancy had not been determined according to law, and that the defendant would remain in possession until that is done.”
Per NNAEMEKA – AGU, JSC in African Petroleum Ltd Vs. Owodunni (2004) ALL FWLR (Pt. 208) Pgs. 798-799 Paras H, A – B
THE SETTLED PRINCIPLE OF LAW
On what is required in the determination of election winner
“The position of the law is now clear that where the principal issue is the determination of who between the petitioner and the respondent scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the election, that issue is not one that requires a proof beyond reasonable doubt, but proof on the balance of convenience is sufficient in such cases.”
See Alalade Vs. Adewoyin (1999) 5 NWLR (Pt. 604) 529 at 537-538; Omoboriowo Vs. Ajasin (1984) 1 SCNJ 108 at 121-122; HASHIDU Vs. GOJE (2004) ALL FWLR (Pt. 228) Pg. 685 Paras B-C
For more SettledPronouncements fromd Remarkable Pronouncements from our Supreme Court Jurists from 1956-2016, obtain or order for your copies of LAW PRACTICE KIT and LEGAL LUMINARIES. Call or text 08055476823, 08164683735 or email:email@example.com. Your library is incomplete without these books.