(Opinion) Why Dapo Abiodun is looking for a Rerun – S.F. Lubega
A few days ago I wrote a piece “Dapo Abiodun: Guilty or Not Guilty” about the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal where I tried to situate some fundamental requirements for Justice and I tried to differentiate between “judgement and justice”.
I have received several calls from a lot of people right from Ogun State and beyond, asking what I think will or can be the possible verdict of the process in Abeokuta the Ogun State capital. Many of those calls actually referenced the confidence which they claimed is being exuded by Tunde Oladunjoye, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Ogun State alluding to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) judgement in Abuja, a judgement which they hope that Mr. Abiodun can benefit from.
This, I can say is a fallacy because “Facts” of the matter as well as evidence and the circumstances are different on both the Presidential Court and the Ogun State Governorship Tribunal. Mr. Abiodun cannot also not hope to reap from a judgement delivered after all Final Written addresses and all legal authorities cited.
Like I said in my earlier piece, I am not a judge, neither am I a party nor a direct beneficiary in the matter, but looking at the logic of law especially as they relate to Justice.
Part of the persuasion I noticed that is being peddled from Mr. Dapo Abiodun’s circuit especially those who appear to be optimistic among them is what they call “The Law of Evidence”, they gloat so much about this that they are already celebrating imaginary victory.
This is understandable because it is a season of appointments and many people have to keep hope alive, in fact they are struggling to outdo one another in the “show” of loyalty. They are therefore citing the Evidence Law as it relates to technicalities while ignoring the same Law as it concerns the “Weight of Evidence”.
Unlike the Presidential Election Court, 94 Witnesses were called by the Petitioners in Ogun State. This is what the weight of evidence is all about. Granted, the admisability of evidence is at the discretion of the lord justices; but they forgot that the eminent jurists are not Dapo Abiodun to be thinking for him on what he wants.
Are we saying the judges will discount the entire 200,000 documents and the witnesses. The learned judges are going to treat evidence before them and which supported what they already know and which was never disputed by all the Respondents in the matter
It is inconceivable for Mr. Abiodun to assume a thought process for and on behalf of the justices to deliberately ignore those items of stolen mandate brazenly done and pitch with the alleged “thief”.
Mr. Abiodun’s posture is like standing before the judges to say, “Yes, I stole the mandate, I ticked and ink ballot papers, but my lord justices, there is nothing you can do about it because the other party does not know how to present the proofs before you”.
That is the Law of Evidence according to the letters in Mr. Abiodun’s Constitution. The next few days will tell whether Mr. Abiodun law supersedes that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, as against the public show and grandstanding by his supporters to keep hope alive, it is on record that Mr. Abiodun has bowed to the force and weight of evidence and is on his own looking for a soft landing.
He is looking for a rerun of the election more than anything else because this is the most magnanimous legal charity he could procure in the circumstance. Mr. Abiodun is not looking for a rerun, not because he thought that would eventually give him a victory but because theia would have prolonged the life of his administration by another five months during which he can serve as an Undertaker of the state’s common patrimony, a period of cleaning up and cleansing.
A good watcher of politics in Ogun State should be able to deduce this from the kind of visibility and new posturing of availability that the Governor has embarked upon lately. He has directed the payment of one billion naira gratuities, a gesture which he has denied the state pensioners for the past four years; his constant visits to traditional rulers especially in Ijebu and Remo areas where most of the rerun will likely take place and the personal flag off of the palliatives to citizens especially in those areas likely to hold the rerun in the event that he is able to procure his way into that judgement side.
Another side of this legal battle however that was not envisaged by Mr Abiodun and his supporters is the fact that should he be going into a rerun (his wish for a lifeline) with a 27,000 votes deficit against 49,000 outstanding votes (according to the Petitioners) and a rerun may only be possible only if the learned judges agree to the Petitioners’ claims.
But INEC is admitting to only 8,000 outstanding votes, so if the learned justices should go the way of INEC then Ogun State should start singing the dirge and Nunc Dimittis to Dapo Abiodun’s bad and wicked leadership through stolen mandate.
The wild celebrations, especially among civil servants which would herald Abiodun’s exit from Oke Mosan will force him to abandon a vibrant appeal, he might not resume to the office for the two months out of fears of the environment and most likely might enter into a depression occasioned by potential substance support.
Then, the people’s hope will be rekindled.
Lubega is a Public Affairs Analyst.