- By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
WHERE is the celebration that is supposed to accompany the victory of the President? Did his supporters understand the verdict? Are they in such shock that they won that they could not celebrate? Something is wrong, especially with the hinging of all the things about elections on “substantial compliance”.
After labouring through words that sounded so disjointed, oh they were, in 13 hours, the panel birthed “substantial compliance”. The election had been won, as the court pleases.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, added to the gloom with its two-day warning strike that left the country in darkness. What a day this 6 September 2023! A day to remember in a different September.
Nobody is sure what people were expecting from the judgment which benumbed many. Did that include the supporters of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was at a summit in India where we were told investors were tumbling over each other to grab part of the economic package that he shared with the international community?
It was on record that more people slept in court than ever witnessed during a trial. They slept through most of the judgement. The scene was as disturbing as the incoherence of the Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Panel, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, who stumbled through the scripts with startling unfamiliarity. He cut a pitiable sight in his labour.
In a way, the scenes epitomised where Nigeria is. Nobody is bothered any longer with what Nigeria is. Is it a long-lost ambition? We are heading to nowhere. There is no sign of the conclusion of matters that could lead to the improvement of the nation, our people, our communities.
The despondency is obvious. Our songs are dirges. Our poems are elegies. They are rendered in silence expanding the reaches of the depth of the silence.
Lyrics of Sound of Silence, the 1964 classic by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel relate to 6 September.
_Hello darkness, my old friend_
_I have come to talk with you again_
_Because of a vision softly creeping_
_Left its seeds while I was sleeping_
_And the vision that was planted in my brain_
_Within the sound of silence_
Simon wrote that song at 21. He was as youthful as our younger populations who made their best investments in the 2023 election. I commend them for taking the result, which the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar has called, “judgement, not justice”, in their stride. The adoption of peace while waiting for the final decision at the Supreme Court is commendable.
All we hear is a dirge of despair and depression about the future. We have moved backward in unimaginable ways. How do we dismiss a national expenditure of N355 billion on BVAS for the election and roll all that back?
Dreams that are in our heads. What do we do with the dreams?
The judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Tinubu despite evidence of irregularities, manipulation, and violence, raises considerable concerns for the future of law and order. Not left out is the place of justice in our laws. The people expected to get justice at the tribunal.
It was not available. The tribunal could not provide plausible explanations except that it found relief in technicalities that have rendered the Constitution and the Electoral Act ineffectual. It drilled into it.
Are we to believe that all the assurances that INEC gave about the elections meant nothing? The panel expertly shredded all the submissions about the infractions in the elections. INEC, a public institution, would not provide electoral materials that the candidates needed for an effective challenge to the poor conduct of the elections.
What is left for us to do in the circumstances? Do we have any recourses? Those are the questions that hurt and haunt Nigerians. They find no satisfying answers.
People have lost hope. Things are so bad that people do not believe the Supreme Court can give a different verdict.
Our laws are the cause of these issues. How does a country operate on “substantial compliance”? What does “substantial compliance” really mean? How can a country run on no standards?
If a country is unable to establish firm standards on which to make its decisions, the country will have lost a foundation on which to exist on a sustainable basis.
“Substantial compliance” means whatever the tribunal says is it. There are no details of what the compliance is.
Violence, suppression of votes, vote buying, and all manners of rigging, are now permitted. What the candidates just have to do is ensure that all these are done in “substantial compliance”.
Nigeria’s adoption of “substantial compliance” as a national standard remains the enthronement of minimalisation of standards, and approval of a country where standards are the least consideration.
NYESOM Wike has complained about the inflation of contracts. Are Nigerians impressed? We are used to these talks. Wike rounded off his angst with the disclosure that he would pay N3 billion monthly over two years – that is N72 billion – to complete the construction of the Millennium Tower in Abuja. We would probably borrow the money for the Tower.
WHATEVER the decision of the tribunals has not been reflected in any concrete efforts at managing the hunger in the land. Do the authorities feel what the people feel?
One of the States that took an early lead in providing palliatives is Nasarawa. There is no happy ending to the story – security agents are in markets arresting those selling the items that the state government bought to ameliorate the suffering of the people. It was not stated if the suspects would be charged in court.
BEYOND talking, about what are governments doing about the impending flood. Last year’s flood was enough notice to governments except that they don’t care.
*Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues
Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.
In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.
Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”
“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.
“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.
“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”
Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”
Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life
Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.
Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”
Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.
The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.
While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.
According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.
The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.
“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.
“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”
Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.
Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.
The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.
Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).
Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks
The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.
The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.
Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.
CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.
Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.
DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.
She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.
Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.
Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.
Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.
ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.
CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.
CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.
The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.
CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.
- Source: Independent