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Osun guber election: Why it’s illegal for a Governor-elect to question a sitting Governor

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By KOLA OLABISI

There’s nothing that Akpan will not witness at the gate of his master!  The series of the latest horrendous happenings in Osun State political sphere today where the governorship election has just been lost and won are scary, strange, disheartening and primitive.  The subset of the nation is becoming a geographical expression where the tail is trying to wag the dog instead of the situation to be otherwise.

I have strangely been observing how the Governor-elect Ademola Adeleke has been reeling out policy statements against the sitting Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his administration.  I kept on asking through soliloquy if the nation’s constitution has been amended to the extent of giving any definite function to a governor-elect.

My express knowledge of the constitution avails me the opportunity of the fact that there is no iota of function for any governor-elect. Any attempt by any governor-elect to reel out any policy statement can better be described as an overreaching tendency which has no constitutional backing whatsoever.

If the Osun governor-elect in question is lacking in the understanding of the expectations of his new office, one expects his chaperons to be guiding him aright by educating him that there cannot be two governors in a state and that a governor-elect cannot perform the constitutional roles of the substantive governor.

The governor-elect should also know that if at all, it is the wish of God Almighty that he will govern  Osun State, the duly elected Governor Oyetola in the 2018 governorship election is not only in charge but he is in absolute control of the administration of the state till November 27, 2022 which is not even sacrosanct as the last process of the election which is the Supreme Court would be the final arbiter.

This is the ground on which Adeleke should tread softly and inform his lieutenants who have been reeling out needless compositions targeted at painting Oyetola and his administration black, to put on their thinking cap by changing over a new leaf as their ventures are unprofitable but monumentally destructive.

One need not be a lawyer to know that Oyetola is constitutionally vested with the statutory powers to run the affairs of the state until the expiration of his tenure. Running and shouting up and down and feeding the innocent members of the public with fallacies about the focused administration of Governor Oyetola by the desperate and bellicose-looking  members of the Adeleke team would only be counter-productive.

The way and manner that the Adeleke team is going about the campaign of calumny after election like a man with one scrotum goes a long way to suspect, observe and conclude that they are bereft of the workings of the government.

It is an indication that, may God forbid bad thing to be the lot of Osun, if perchance they get there,  the State of the Virtues is in for a big time calamity because of their flagrantly exhibited actions and inactions which expressly qualify them as political vampires.

As I write, there is no provision of the constitution  that says that a subsisting governor should be operating at the whims and caprices of the governor-elect. For God sake, the deafening hoopla from the Adeleke end has been worrisome, disturbing and mind-boggling which has no place in the contemporary politics of our time. It has been one composition, one day, from the Adeleke Ede country home which surprisingly, has no iota of substance or an element of truth therein.

Governor Oyetola has the latitude and statutory backing to continue in his usual efforts to give qualitative governance to the people of Osun State.  The first of the fallacious propaganda statement effected through stratagem from Adeleke was that Oyetola borrowed N8 billion to fund the last election which was found out to be false as no dime of the state fund was part of the money spent on the election.

If it was true that Oyetola borrowed the money, where is the proof? Or was it that the governor just approached the bank where the said money was borrowed and negotiated orally without signing any verifiable document? This is bullshit and balderdash which corroborated the overburdened saying ‘that talk is indeed very cheap’. It is a simple principle of law that whoever alleges must prove.

Another of the needless outbursts from the Adeleke camp is that Oyetola’s administration is trying to conduct a local government election in the state. Must Oyetola put his government in a state of inertia because someone is parading a proverbial dead sparrow as a certificate of return of a governor-elect?

If I may ask Mr Governor-elect, what brings about the hues and cries on this?  Does Ademola Adeleke want to teach Oyetola how to run his government?  I beg, this posture amounts to needlessly poking one’s nose in an affair that doesn’t concern one.

If God says he will occupy the seat of a substantive governor in Osun State, Adeleke must patiently wait for his turn as his name as the governor-elect is currently written in pencil.  It is a truism that  he still has series of judicial hurdles to scale through before he can realize his ambition if it pleases God.

A kite was also flown by the Osun PDP handlers on Wednesday that Oyetola was trying to integrate 10,000  O’YES cadets into the state work force.  Assuming but not conceding the veracity and authenticity of the allegation, what is the fear of the governor-elect who had, during the campaign, promised to have sufficient naira, dollar, euro and pound sterling to turn round the state?  If it is true that Oyetola is trying to absorb the O’YES cadets, are they not Osun State indigenes?

Don’t they have the inalienable right to be partakers in the eating of the state cake through being legitimate employees of the Osun State government?

Doesn’t Adeleke’s promised Midas touch in government during the campaign not capable of taking care of the state workforce? Why is  he pungently jittery?  The proverbial head of an elephant is a difficult load for a political Lilliputian!

It would also be recalled that the same Adeleke has been alleging Oyetola of plundering the state since after the governorship election. This allegation succeeded in doing a monumental irredeemable damage to the Adeleke camp as it is seen and interpreted by discerning minds as nothing but an alibi for the imminent failure of his administration, if God destines him to be there.

The rapidity of the turnout of mere compositions against Oyetola and his government by Adeleke has made nonsense of its ulterior motive which has fallen flat due to its metaphorical clay-footedness.

If Adeleke should be taken serious, why has he not been commending the various ongoing road construction projects across the state?  An example is Lameco-Ilobu-Ifon  rehabilitation/asphalting road where work is progressing both day and night despite the pyrrhic victory of the governorship-elect?  No one needs tell a blind man that it is raining, when a drop of it touches his body, he will pick race.

The illegal provocative siren-blaring of the convoy of the governor-elect shortly after the inauguration of his transition team in Osogbo on Wednesday succeeded in exposing him as someone who is only interested in the glamour of the office of the governor at the detriment of the development of the state. If I may ask, what qualifies Governor-elect Adeleke to be using a siren when it’s obvious that such cadre is not known among those legally allowed to do so in this country?  This is nothing but the display of a high level of a culture of impunity!

I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that God is assiduously working in the current political plight of Osun State which necessitates my faith in strongly and stoutly believing that it’s not over until it’s over. Adeleke should learn how to wait patiently for his time if it pleases God to manifest.

OLABISI is the Media Adviser to the Osun State APC chairman

Opinion

In the interest of justice

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By Bola Bolawole

One question which has always agitated my mind was answered last Monday, 15th April, 2024  by retired Justice Andrew Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye in a keynote address he delivered at the 2024 Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association, Warri Branch, whose theme was “Emerging trends in legal practice and administration of justice: Challenges and prospects.” Justice Omolaye-Ajileye’s paper was titled “Tomorrow’s legal profession today: Today’s legal profession tomorrow”

I have always wondered if two sets of referees pursuing the same goal(s) can act in the same manner and still achieve the same result. The first is an official refereeing a football match and the second is a judge adjudicating in a matter between litigants. What is expected of both is impartiality, fairness, thoroughness, and even-handedness so that one side is not given undue advantage and unmerited edge over the other. So that, in the course of maintaining an even keel, the cause of justice can be served.

Now, a football referee that (repeatedly or in strategic moments) makes decisions that favour one team against another is said to have stepped into the field or ring. He is deemed to be biased and the cause of justice cannot in that way be served. But can a judge afford to maintain similar aloofness and neutrality in all instances and still serve the cause of justice?

In my 39 years in the journalism profession, I have seen cases lost not because the litigant did not have a good case but because of poor handling by counsel; sometimes deliberately so contrived for varying reasons. Uncountable number of cases get dismissed or get lost (and won) for lack of diligent prosecution; again, sometimes deliberately and in some others because of incompetence or carelessness of the prosecution or counsel.

In that instance, the innocent may suffer and the cause of justice may not have been served. Should a judge step into the ring in certain situations to avert the miscarriage of justice?  Oftentimes, we hear judges lambast counsel and bemoan the miscarriage of justice for lack of brilliance or diligent prosecution of cases. In that situation, can a judge step into the ring?

There was a time in this country when some of its brightest judges like Kayode Esho, Akinola Aguda, and Chukwudifu Oputa were not only described as philosopher-judges but also were well respected for what some have called their judicial activism. Yes, judges interpret the law but in interpreting laws, cerebral and conscious judges also make laws! Some even make statements.

Judges, when they are in their court, especially when reading their judgments, enjoy immunity, like the members of the Legislature when those ones, too, are in their hallowed chamber. Judges and the lawyers appearing before them are referred to as officers in the temple of justice, meaning that their primary obligation, even when lawyers represent opposing sides or views, is that justice is served, and not miscarried.

As such, even counsel not directly involved in a matter can chip in something as “amicus curiae,” that is, an impartial adviser to a court of law in a particular case or matter. This being so, are there instances that allow or, better still, is it incumbent on the judicial umpire to step into the ring to ensure that justice is not miscarried? Or should he or she simply maintain aloofness and rely only on the evidence brought before him or her to make a ruling?

Nowhere does this intrigue me more than in election matters and other cases that are as controversial or that have attracted a lot of public discourse and controversy. Judges, too, are members of the society. They read newspapers. They listen to the radio. They watch television. They may also be active on social media. They may or may not visit pubs and listen to gossip but they have friends and family members. Therefore, they must be aware, if I may so put it, of the merits and demerits of some of the cases coming before them before the arrival of such cases. Should they discountenance such information and only limit themselves to the evidence presented before them?

Omolaye-Ajileye provided what I consider to be an answer when he said, “I want to comment on a change of culture we can bring about in the way justice is administered. Administration of justice must shift from the orthodox adversarial approach to more collaboration between lawyers, parties and the court with the focus being an earnest effort to isolate the real issues in a dispute from a maze of ill-digested causes of action and defences.

“The judge’s role must be transformed from the traditional umpire role to that of active case manager. By this, I mean we must introduce in our Rule of Court situations where judges must take an active part – together with learned counsel – in identifying at an early stage of the proceedings what is the real dispute between the parties and, working together with the parties, charting a course that will result in the adjudication of the dispute as speedily as possible and at minimum costs. That is now the system of judicial case management that is taking hold in many jurisdictions across the world. We must move with the world in this regard.

“The days of over-pleading, raising as many issues that you can muster in the hope that one might just stick, should be something of the past. Courts should decide only the real disputes between the parties. In that way, the court’s time is saved and judges can dispose of more cases. Litigation should be limited to what is truly in dispute between the parties and not to obfuscate and terrorize the other side”

That is the answer I have been searching for! If the main objective is to serve the cause of justice at minimal costs and in record time, this is the way to go. I have watched such a system in operation in other climes and it is fun to watch, is not elaborate, is not long-drawn, adversarial and costly as the system we operate here.

Besides, the new system advocated by Omolaye-Ajileye will remove tension, enmity and bitterness amongst litigants. Our people have a saying, based on the adversarial system of administration of justice that we operate at the moment, that people who drag each other to court do not return from there to still be friends. We must change that narrative because it poisons the good health of our society.

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye may not have known or meant it; but he, like the Kayode Eshos, Akinola Agudas and Chukwudifu Oputas before him, is also seen by many as a fearless but even-handed judicial activist and icon. The judgments he delivered while on the Bench of the Kogi State judiciary testify to that. When he was retiring on 15 February, 2023, the outcry was much, as leading members of the Bar and others made a case that he be promoted to the higher Bench, which he eminently deserved, so that the Judiciary might still retain his services for an additional five years at the least. His pioneering work on the emerging field of electronic evidence stands him out as a leading authority in that field.

In the paper he delivered at Warri, the retired judge advocated what he described as “paradigm shift” in the practice of law and the administration of justice in the country “in order to secure tomorrow’s legal profession today”. He said: “The advocacy here is that our conservatism should not make us resist change. We live in a changing world. It is a great momentous and exciting time. Change is happening around us in ways that we had not imagined just a few years ago. All aspects of human endeavour are changing. The legal sector – to be precise, the practice of law and the administration of justice – is not spared. We must be amenable to change. As lawyers and judges, we must constantly adapt and innovate or be prepared to be pushed aside and become irrelevant.”

He advocated that lawyers and judges must imbibe technology because “we are in the middle of a technological revolution of a great magnitude, scale, scope, and complexity…To maintain relevance and remain competitive in any industry, profession or endeavour, one needs to understand the impact of emerging technologies on the future. Indeed, we need to go beyond the acquisition of knowledge. We must be prepared to integrate modern innovations strategically in our work to increase efficiency and productivity and improve our paradigms.”

Chief Consultant, Forensic Electronic and Digital Law Consultancy, Omolaye-Ajileye is also a visiting professor at the National Open University of Nigeria. To corroborate what he said, I recall here a personal experience of how technology can make hitherto indispensable hands redundant and surplus to requirement: When I was editor of PUNCH newspapers, the advent of computers displaced compugraphic machines and cut-and-paste artists had to be sent for training to plan pages on computer. Ironically, one of our best cut-and-past artists, much sought-after by everyone, could not cope with the new technology and had to be sent away!

Those who have ears, let them hear what Omolaye-Ajileye is saying to the Bar and Bench!

Bolawole is a former Editor of PUNCH newspapers and public affairs analyst on radio and television.

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Opinion

Ten years since Chibok, Nigeria will no longer pay the price

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By Bola Tinubu, President of Nigeria

Ten years ago today, 276 girls were abducted in the night from their school in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria. The attack by Boko Haram pricked the conscience of the world. From London to Washington, protesters held placards reading #BringBackOurGirls—the hashtag the girls’ families had posted to pressure their idle government into action. It would take almost three weeks for then-Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan even to make a public announcement. Critical time had been lost.

When this March, 137 children were tragically taken from a school in Kaduna, northwestern Nigeria, the shadow of Chibok lay ever present. Why, Nigerians and the world asked, after the passage of a decade was such an atrocity still happening?

This time, unlike Chibok, the girls and boys were brought back a fortnight later, the security and intelligence agencies deployed immediately to rescue them. Nevertheless, legitimate concerns over kidnappings persist in Africa’s most populous country. Success in Kaduna has brought families relief and praise for the military, yet the government bears no illusions: The scourge of kidnappings must be routed once and for all.

It begins with recognising the changing nature of the threat. Boko Haram translates to “Western Education is Forbidden” and reflects an ideological impetus as jihadi insurgents opposed to the very idea of a Nigerian state. Today, Boko Haram are splintered, and mass abductions are primarily the work of criminal gangs. There is no ideology here: kidnapping has become an illegal industry rewarded with ransoms. Within days of the Kaduna attack, the abductors were demanding 1 billion naira ($600,000).

Nothing was paid. As president, I have been clear that ransoms stop. Resolution through payment only perpetuates the wider problem. This extortion racket must be squeezed out of existence. Meanwhile, the costs for perpetrators must be raised: They will receive not a dime, and instead security services’ counter action.

But compressing the kidnap for ransom market only addresses the pull factors. If we are to avoid funneling the same people into other crimes that cause normal Nigerians to feel insecure, we must address the push factors: poverty, inequality, and a paucity of opportunity. Criminal gangs can find easy recruits among those without either a job, or the prospect of one.

Some 63 percent of Nigerians are multidimensionally poor. They are bearing the economic consequences of a failure by successive governments to get to grip with the Nigerian economy. Fiscal and monetary albatrosses have grounded the country’s flight, when surging demographics demand high economic growth to just maintain current standards of living.

A decades-old fuel subsidy was exhausting paltry public finances. By 2022, the cost had ballooned to $10 billion—more than the government’s combined spending on education, health care, and infrastructure in a budget of $40 billion. Currency controls that artificially propped up the naira deterred investment and led to shortages of foreign exchange. For decades we have been financially ransoming ourselves. When my government took office last May, we faced a pile of debt obligations.

Just as with kidnappers, we had to be tough with the economy. Unsustainable market distortions had to be removed. As expected, floating the naira caused it to plunge. Given Nigeria is a net food importer, the average shopping basket has consequently risen in price. The removal of the fuel subsidy, in a country where many businesses and households rely on generators for power, has also had far reaching effects. These reforms have caused pain across Nigeria; they are still painful. Yet there is no better alternative: These and other difficult reforms are necessary to arrest the economic rot that lies at the heart of insecurity.

Green shoots are now visible. In the first quarter of this year, foreign currency inflows have almost matched those for the whole of last year. A multi-billion forex backlog at the central bank has been cleared, giving foreign investors’ confidence to invest in Africa’s largest economy, safe in the knowledge they can repatriate earnings. The naira has begun to stabilize after its initial downward trend and has made huge gains against the dollar.

Talk of macroeconomics might seem remote from the challenge of insecurity. But without the fundamentals in place, it is impossible for an enabling environment where the private sector thrives, jobs are created, and opportunity is spread across the country. It is how we ensure children can go to school without fear.

For any who may have doubted our direction, it should now be clear. There will be no more ransoms paid—not to kidnappers, nor toward those policies which have trapped our people economically. Nigerians, and their economy, will be liberated.

Bola Tinubu is President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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NIMASA in Blue Economy: Tinubu’s brainchild-ministry promoting Nigeria’s bilateral relations

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By Dr. Jimoh Olorede

Some deliberate initiatives taken by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, upon his election and assumption of office in May 2023, did not only show the President was innovative, decisive and proactive, but also showed he came prepared and ready for a serious business of governance. One of the products of Tinubu’s innovative ingenuity is the creation of the novel Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, which has been applauded by many national and international stakeholders.

This new Ministry, for a reason of its great economic potentials, is now a cynosure and centre of economic attraction to many countries of the world. The creation of the new ministry out of the preexisting Ministry of Transportation, seemed to have broadened and widened our economic perspectives and horizons in relation to increasing Nigeria’s economic growth through the sustainable use and maximization of its maritime vast resources, as against merely generating revenues from marine transport.

Recently, the newly appointed Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dayo Mobereola, received, in Lagos, the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Juan Ignacio Sell, on an inspection of two additional Bulletproof Security Boats from Spain, purposely built for NIMASA by Aresa, a Spanish company. Sell, as reported by the press, said: “We got the message with the creation of Maritime and Blue Economy Ministry by the Federal Government of Nigeria, and knowing there are lots of things to harness from the sea, we also want to be partners in that process”, adding Spanish government has pledged to support Nigeria through NIMASA on maritime security. Similarly, earlier in November 2023, the Spanish Navy was also in the country for collaboration in personnel training and ship building in a bid to curbing maritime crimes.

The viability, uniqueness, and resource-potentials of the then-old-but-now-new agencies (at least, now being under a new ministry) like NIMASA, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSP) among others, which hitherto were under the Ministry of Transportation, are now being appreciated for their revenue generation potentials, economic contributions to the growth of the nation and socio-utility, especially as causative of the administrative experience and fiscal expertise of the Minister, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, who is now steadily turning an eyesore of the inherited agencies as evident in the dilapidated infrastructure of the nation’s ports and others, into a cynosure of economic attraction to some countries of the world.

President Tinubu’s commendable innovative initiatives would not only boost the economic stamina of Africa’s most populous country, ensure security in the maritime sector, but also simultaneously increase and strengthen Nigeria’s bilateral ties with other countries. For instance, the President in March 2024 received the Special Envoy of the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in Abuja, according to a Release by The State House, during which he reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to enhancing maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Gulf of Guinea is central to maritime activities because is a great inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the western African coast whose tributaries are the Volta and Niger rivers with offshore oil deposits and metal ore deposits as its natural resources (Britannica), and via which about 80 percent of the trade with Nigeria goes.

Also in February this year, the Nigerian Navy led by the Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Zakariyyah Muhammed met with the U.S. Navy in Naples, Italy, hosted by the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Admiral Stuart Munsch, with a view to improving regional cooperation, information-sharing practices, and maritime interdiction expertise aimed at countering sea-based illicit activities.

More so, Nigerian and Indian Navies, in October 2023, strengthened bilateral ties between the two countries to ensure maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea aiming at maintaining its sea lanes as a conduit of international trade. The visit led by Indian Defence attache° to Nigeria, Col. Romi Singh Legha was said to have recorded positive results on collaborative training against piracy and other maritime criminalities in the region.

Suffice to add was the arrival in Nigeria of the Chinese team and vessels earlier in July 2023, with the Chinese Ambassador to the country, Mr. Chi Jian Chun saying the visit, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), “was to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and enhance maritime security within West Africa.” The above narrative shows the rate at which President Tinubu’s ingenious brainchild-ministry is attracting partnership-attention, engendering Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), and promoting bilateral relations with other nations.

Dr. Olorede, Head, Department of Strategic Communication and Media Studies at The Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State, writes via

[email protected]/08111841887.

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