The 5 Stages of Political Grief

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15 months after the elections and 12 after the swearing-in of the new administration, more than enough time has passed for everyone to move on from campaign rhetoric and be more forward looking. It doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon, though, as many on either side of the fence still seem somewhat upset, for various reasons. However, both sides are more alike than each would like to admit and have been going through the same emotional/grief cycle. How, you ask, given that one side’s candidate won and the other lost? I’ll try to explain it.

 

Denial

For the Jonathanians, there was a lot of hope in the power of his incumbency and while they did expect the elections to be close, they did not anticipate his loss at the polls. They tried to point out voting irregularities like extensive underage voting in some parts of the country and a blanket failure of card readers. But it was not to be. Jonathan had lost.

 

The Buharists on the other hand, could not believe that the candidate they had sold with so much gusto was not similarly embraced by the entire country. Newspapers, in succession, both local and foreign, pointed out that he was probably as problematic a candidate as Jonathan, with his own Achilles Heel. However, they sold the candidate they imagined and hoped Buhari would be. President Buhari went on to win the election, but only by 51% of the vote to Jonathan’s 46%.

 

Anger

The Jonathanians were aggrieved at their principal’s loss and nothing is more symbolic of that anger than former Minister Orubebe’s sit-in “We will not take it” protest while the results were being announced.

 

Meanwhile, between the elections and the President’s assumption of office, information began to filter through about the wanton excesses that had occurred in President Jonathan’s government and how some officials were keen to make restitution before the axe of Buhari was imbued with the power of office and came swinging down with a vengeance. The Buharists were angry that so many were willing to consider Jonathan for re-election, and that alleged looters thought they could plea-deal their way out of consequences for their actions.

 

Bargaining

Then came all the what-ifs and if-onlys. If only Jonathan had focused on the Niger Delta and on Power. If only he’d shown a steelier spine and not been such a Johnny-come-lately, allowing everyone and everything to sway him. And if only Buhari was a bit more communicative and empathetic and did not do things that lent credence to the pre-election suspicions of the Jonathanians. What if he’d actually hit the ground running and appointed a cabinet earlier? And if only when he spoke he didn’t actually say some of the things that he was being reported to have said.

 

Depression

This is the current stage in the cycle. Both camps are losing wind and are defending their principals with a little less enthusiasm now. The profligacy of the Jonathan administration has led to the alleged uncovering of swathes of cash buried away in septic tanks and false walls in people’s homes; revelations, almost new every morning, about the EFCC’s noose tightening around some former official or the other’s neck. President Buhari has also not shown too much dexterity outside the sphere of chasing down loot, with the economy reeling from his tentativeness in addressing its issues. More than a few of his supporters, even the most ardent ones have stopped just short of renouncing their followership.

 

Acceptance

This is where we urgently need everyone to get to, especially the President’s cabinet. Looking back so frequently and pointing accusatory fingers only opens the door for them to be measured against the same yardsticks, as they are all coming to find. The supporters also need to fully accept the flaws of their respective principals with equanimity. Both have huge chinks in their armour and anyone who sticks their neck too far out in their defence will probably end up with a lot of egg on their face. We need to accept that GEJ wasn’t all bad and Buhari isn’t all good. We need to also accept that our fate, at least for the immediate future, lies in Buhari’s hands & his failure has grave implications for all of us.

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Hopefully, acceptance will mean that as supporters we can put away triumphalism, snark and I-told-you-so; and that the current administration is looking firmly forward. Let’s move on.

 

 

NB.

What about supporters of Kowa Party (and other “mushroom parties”) and those who remained on the fence in undeclared fealty?

The Lion, The Itch and The Wardrobe (or Cabinet, Whatever)

Roaring-Lions-Wallpaper-03

And it came to pass that Abushola unlooked his unlooking of the list of the members of Gambrach’s council and in accordance with the laws of the land presented them to senatii for verification, jestyculation and approval. Of the number which the senatii considered for approval, there was old King Fasholam of Gideria, old King Jekfa of Ekitilopia, Ancient of Days Ah-Oudu and fellow Ancient of Days Lah-Yi. They were quick to find favour in the eyes of the senatii and didst verily and expeditiously receive its approval.

Of their number was another man, Shittinski of Oyokolova, a man of the laws of man, as well as the laws of the beyond. Shittinski was particularly shit during his interrogation by the senatii. Whereas, the Kingdom practised a system of secularis, nevertheless Shittinski  proclaimed his inclination, if left to him, to pay clergy to implement moralatio in the Kingdom. And when asked about the pestilence that flieth by day and night in North Easteros, Shittinski declared loudly, “Shit!! Why asketh thou me this question of great fright and trepidation? Know ye not that I wish not to fall under their sword and be eternally cut off from my family whom I love so dearly? Yea, shall I hold my tongue.”

And lo, did the voice of the people of Twilistia rise against Shittinski, and the people of Social Mediana against his councilisation. “Wherefore be this the fruit of Gambrach’s quest of four months? We will not have him!” But the word of FemCallamitus had gone forth before the verificato senatii, proclaiming, “These are the beloved of Gambrach. Doubt ye not their competence, for as verily as the fulness of time is upon us, so say I to thee that these men of the council have all it takes.”

Also of their number was old King Rotamachus of Rivisinia, who had ruled for 2 quadrannia. Like Abushola, he casteth himself on exile from Padipalia and pledged fealty to the house of Apicuria, and deployeth all manner of fortification for Gambrach during electoralis. In his stead in Rivisinia ruled King Wi-Kay of Padipalia. Rotamachus had sought to bring Rivisinia into Apicuria but Wi-Kay contended mightily with him and wrested the kingdom away from his grasp. However, Rotamachus was favoured of the house of Apicuria and Gambrach desired his presence in the council.

The Rivisinian members of the senatii were disenamoured of Rotamachus, for they felt he had betrayed them (which indeed he may have) and, according to the rules of senatii as announced by Dinobetes Melitus, Rotamachus needed the blessing of 2 of the Rivisinian senateens. It looketh not good for him.

Yet, in those days came a voice from the wilderness, declaring the way of Rotamachus. It was the voice of Momodeen, praise singer to the wealthiest people in the Kingdom. Momodeen loved the fineries of the rich and was the chief chronicler of the stupendity of their wealth. Momodeen had himself sought to rule over the Kingdom in quadrannia past but, lo, was his vote for himself his solitary vote cast in his village; wherefore was the song of electoralis written by StarrusSolidus the Bard, “One Man One Vote”.

Rotamachus found such favour in the sight of Momodeen that Momodeen entered the town square in Social Mediana, declaring “All hail Rotamachus, first of his name, Lion of the World, Slayer of the Stone Men, Vanquisher of the foes of Apicuria, Sacrificial lamb of the electoralis passover, good in every goddam way! Lion of lions! With a big, sexy, furry mane to boot!”

And many followed Momodeen, chanting “All hail our beloved, indomitable Lion.” Others cried, “What manner of the kissing of the buttocks is this?” And opinion swang between the 2 camps. Just like a gaddem pendulum.

But Abushola and the senatii unlooked Lion Rotamachus. And they unlooked again. And thrice did they unlook him for verificato. And yet, “I stand by the Lion, even though he devoureth me!” remained the refrain of Momodeen and those who followed him.

And behold, in that time was yet another voice heard in Social Mediana, of the Prophetess Sar, pronouncing the Beatitudes of Coitus.

“Blessed are they who coit not though they be married in tradition but not before the spirit, but wait to coit after marriage in the temple, for they shall inherit paradise.”

Hmmm, thought the Social Medianites. And she continued.

“Blessed are they who when the itch to coit comes upon them, coit and love without the lubrication of lingerie, for this is a fetish and is displeasing to the spirit.”

And behold, did the people of Twilistia begin to gather to hear her sermon on the mount. There was a gentle grumbling, but the people listened on.

“Blessed are they who seek not inspiration to coit from images of others indulging in coitus, for this is a perversion.”

“And blessed are they, who when they itch for coitus do not coit by manner of mouth and genitals, for this is a also perversion in the sight of the spirit. For the mouth is meant only for mastication and not mastu…”

The people of Twilistia could bear it no longer and interjected “Where findeth thou these scriptures?” “And obu gini your consain with how I coit my coit?”

And lo did the rumbling rage and rage and increase in intensity until the Prophetess Sar returned. “Peace, be still yo”, she said, “thou misconstrueth my words. Played thou not ‘Simon Says’ whenst thou wert babes? Knoweth ye not that my words be not my words unless they be ending with ‘Sar Says’? Tut, tut!”

Ahhhh, came the realisation to the Twilistines.

Meanwhile, in this time also, word came from afar of Daisy-Annie. She was ill…

The List of Gerontocrates

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When Gambrach ascended to the throne of the Kingdom, it was the expectation of the people, in accordance with the custom and law of the land, that he would appoint a Council of State to assist him in the discharge of his duties. Verily, verily, due to the fervency and freneticity of the promises and postulations of the followers of Gambrach in electoralis federalis, the earnest expectation of the Kingdom was that the Councillors would be announced the day after Gambrach was crowned. But it was not so.

Gambrach voyaged to Americanawonda and it was there he bared his mind to the four ends of the earth in his first epistle. “Regard ye the Smaugic desolation of our land and the havoc wreaked as was wreaked by the hands of Padipalia. Consider how much building we must do, and that my name be not Bob. It is manifest to me that those that shall serve in the Council with me must be men of honour. I beseech thee, o ye peoples, that thou wouldst spare me until the end of September to declare my Council.”

“Trentus Septembus have you requested,” responded the people, “and until Trentus Septembus shall we leave you be.” And the first day of October became known as Green Day, because the people agreed to wake Gambrach up when September ended.

In due course, Tword reached the people that Gambrach had ordered proboscis extra magnificat on those he desired to appoint and that to his immense disappointment (which was only exceeded in immensality by his sadness) only 3 were found to be of virtue. Virtue, like its cousin Chill, had long since departed. And yet, heard the people nothing from Gambrach himself, not until he was bequestioned by the 24 of Francinia, upon which he excused the delay with the response, “Trentus Septembus is not yet upon us, and what are Councillors but clanging cymbals, after all is said and done?”

Finally, Green Day’s Eve came, and anxiety descended upon the people for Gambrach was yet unfulfilled of his promise. And Abushola, Wardsen of the Senatii, recently temporarily reprieved of Conductivitis, summoned and dismissed the senatii without any consideration of the Council of Gambrach. And yea, just as the sun was about to set on Green Day’s Eve, did the tword of Abushola go out, “Lend me your ears, oh people, I can confirm that I have received a scroll from Gambrach containing the list of the upright he has chosen to preside with him in his Council. But, for the benefit of the gratuitous high drama we are enacting and as this is the hometown of Nollywoodinia, yea shall I unlook the scroll for 4 days. You know, just because I can.”

And the spirit of speculatio descended upon the people of Social Mediana for Green Day had come but was there yet no Council. But across the padipalian-apicurean divide, there was a kumbayanic expression of hope, for Gambrach had spoken of great change. But very quickly, the time came for Abushola to break the seal upon the parchment and pronounce the names of Gambrach’s Councillors in senatii. Thus was the seal broken and the list read and all over the land there was the loud sound of air escaping from a balloon. Gambrach’s councilors were more a whiff of old socks than a breath of fresh air.

“How takest it 4 months to gather these names?” many asked, bewildered.

Very quickly, the Lovengers assembled and responded. “While this list of councilors is a list of Gerontocrates” they began, “nonetheless, Gambrach is the best list compiler the universe has ever seen, because in spite of it Gejoshaphat was not an option for us.”

And while all this transpired, word came to Twilistia that far away across the oceans in Jandinia, Gejospahat’s councilor for black oil had been apprehended by the kingdom’s soldiers. Her name was Daisy-Annie and she was very fair of face. Many said it was about to become a hard knock life for her…

Buhari Presidency: What Lawyers Expect

I was asked to do this piece as part of  a series for TheScoopNG.com. The piece was first published on their website, here.

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I did not support General Buhari’s candidacy for the 2015 elections and I am therefore wary of adding my voice to the growing list of people setting an agenda for him. However, as someone recently pointed out, he’s going to have a difficult enough time merely living up to his campaign promises without the input of this new self-appointed council of state, so I suppose this piece cannot do too much [further] harm.

The original topic I was asked to discuss was the Judiciary’s expectations of the incoming president. As I am not a judge however, I asked for latitude to discuss what I think will be the expectations of the legal profession as a whole.

Judicial Reform

There is no better person in the world to be Vice President, when it comes to the issue of judicial reforms, than Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He is the reason why the Nigerian Law School had to develop additional course material on civil procedure. During his time as Attorney-General of Lagos State, he oversaw the introduction of revised rules of court that sought to make the process of litigation a much smoother and more efficient affair. Many states have since amended their rules of civil procedure to conform more to those in Lagos State.

Unfortunately, however, even though Lagos continues to lead the country in judicial process innovation, trial times still average 2-4 years for hearing relatively uncomplicated matters. Many people do not mind being taken to court because they know immediately that the pressure to take remedial/corrective action has been lifted for a while. Many people, on the other hand, also resort to self-help because they do not have the luxury of 2 years to waste on a decision which they can’t even reasonably predict. I have previously discussed judicial reform here.

Of course, this is a matter on the Concurrent Legislative List, meaning that the Federal Government cannot dictate how States run state courts. However, the Buhari-Osinbajo regime would do well to pioneer the reform process at the Federal Courts. If they are successful, it is only a matte of time before the states follow suit. Faith must be restored in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man. There should be relative predictability of durations and outcomes. The judiciary staff, especially the support staff should become more professional and less demanding of “facilitation” to give dates or progress files.

Regulatory Certainty/Stability

This is probably the great desire of my constituency of commercial law advisers and practitioners. As it stands today, you would be hard-pressed to find legal advice with absolute certainty on all applicable taxes applicable to a business. Most advisors will only give an approximation because we have 3 tiers of tax, which get murkier as you descend down the federal ladder. Some of the taxes overlap and although successive governments have promised to address the matter, very little progress (some would even say effort) has been made.

If you add into the mix the growing number of chartered professional institutes and professional regulatory bodies all jostling for relevance and adding further barriers and hurdles to the business process, the picture becomes even cloudier.

Uncertainty is a disincentive to business and investment. It hinders proper planning and leaves avenues for businesses to be exploited by unscrupulous government officials. Of all the talk and bandying about about of the much clichéd “creating an enabling environment” for businesses, putting entrepreneurs in the position to resist the imposition of random and stealth levies ranks nearly as high, in my estimation, as ensuring stable electricity. Let everyone know what their obligation to society is and be free thereafter to pursue their interests.

There is also the uncertainty that comes about in legislating via directives. Heads of government agencies, very many times on whims, change policy or business requirements with a mere letter or an interview in the newspapers. Thankfully, a few directives have successfully been challenged (eg FRSC directive on new license plates) but a system where wide-reaching policy shifts or legal requirements don’t go through the rigorous process of law-making or being issued as gazetted regulations must be discouraged.

Rule of Law

This should not be too hard for the ex-General as his greatest asset is his reputation for abhorring corruption and corrupt practices. I would approach upholding the rule of law from 2 sides. The first, more obvious side, is that which compels government and its agencies to respect the law and be subject to due process at all times. The less popular, and less expounded side, is that which insists that there must be consequences for wrongdoing, no matter how highly placed the wrongdoer is.

Conversely, agents of government must also act within the limits of their powers. Wearing a uniform and brandishing a firearm should not become a license for trampling on the rights of citizens. Policemen should no longer be available as intimidators-for-hire to settle civil disputes (which, when you think about it, would no longer be necessary if the courts granted timely/speedy justice).

This point also extends to our orientation as a people. While it would be totally unacceptable for the country to go back to the floggings of when the General was last at the helm of affairs, we do need to be “whipped” into shape. The “Do You Know Who I Am” syndrome had to die an urgent death. People must learn to wait their turn, be orderly and show consideration for the next person. So whether it’s in the conduct of one’s business or simply driving from Point A to B, upholding the rule of law on the part of both the government and the citizenry, means everyone understands the legal and social consequences of all their actions.

The public office side probably should be higher on the priority list, however. And if they can reform the judiciary and speed up the dispensation of justice, it should no longer take 2-3 years to determine if a public official pilfered or not. There should also be no interference from the Federal Government with the various law enforcement agencies, as long as those ones also act in good faith within the scope of their enabling laws. They should be free to investigate and prosecute without let or hindrance.

To conclude, there are probably a few more areas that the profession would like to see the impact of the incoming government. However, it is my belief that achieving even one of these items would be transformational for the entire country. Achieving all three would be nothing short of earth shattering. If the government can ensure that the system works more efficiently, is fairer to those on the lower rungs of the societal ladder, and metes out commensurate punishments for crimes (no more N300,000 fines for N50bn thefts), then I am quite confident that the government will earn a veritable commendation from the legal profession.

SACKISM IS NEXT TO LAGOONISM – Philosophies of the 2015 Elections

Philosophy

These have been the most interesting times for Nigeria. Campaigns were had, tents were pitched, votes were cast and a winner was declared. The heavens were supposed to have fallen but they didn’t. It seems the world’s pillars are foundationed in Nigeria as, in spite of the world’s very best predictions of our imminent collapse, we still seem to be holding up half of the African sky.

This season witnessed the birth of new political philosophies in our country. There was Jonathanism and Buharism and fencism, fencists roundly being declared to be closet members of one side of the divide or the other. Interestingly, however, we have seen subsets of Jonathanism and Buharism evolve into unprecedented schools of political thought that would make even the member of the ancient Agora jealous. Jonathism has given way to sackism and a small faction of the Buharist school of thought propounded the theory of lagoonism. So stand back, Plato. Stand back Hobbes and Montesquieu. Stand back, Louis van Gaal. The age of new philosophy is here.

What is sackism? Sackism is the Jonathanian belief that after the fatal loss of an election, order can only be restored to society by sacking every gaddem thing and person in sight. You see a sitting head of the ports authority, feeling pretty and secure in their position, you sack them. You see the head of the police authority revelling in his unprecedented gall to ignore his mobile phones in spite of his commander-in-chief’s telephone calls, you sack his gaddem ass. In fact, one of the strongest tennets of sackism is, if you were not already on your way out after fatally losing an election, you might as well sack your gaddem self. Order must be restored, no matter the obstacles.

What is the ultimate aim of sackism, however? What do sackists ultimately believe? Is there a special heaven for sackists? Do they believe in the ultimate redemption of the sackist’s body, through imperious sackism in the last hours in office? This is not yet known. But Patience is a rite of passage for sackists. Not just patience but fakanistic patience, the sort of which a sackist must have endured prior to his fatal electoral loss. There is yet no agreement on how fakanistic the endurance of patience must be for a sackist to find true redemption but this is still a new, emerging and evolving philosophy. Not unlike lagoonism.

Lagoonism is a theory propounded by the house of kings, espousing a belief in the fatal submersion of all intransigent non-indigenes who resist the call to conformity. The pillar of this belief is that the philosophy of a king is rooted in the infallibility of the poseidonic progenity of Percy Jackson. Lagoonism is akin to baptism but only as far as it relates to submersion. Lagoonists do not believe in the emergence of the submerged body in a cleansed form or state of elevated sanctification. Lagoonism believes that the submerged body of the non-indigene must perish, travel to hades and hope to be reincarnated in the kingdom of the kings as an indigene, to find redemption.

So far, the High Priest of the Lagoon remains the philosophy’s only real proponent but the philosophy has grown a few legs and traversed the length and breadth of the country. Many have visited the temple of Lagoonism and sought in vain to propagate its gospel but their faith was insufficient to surmount the shame there. A quick note must also be made denouncing the purported and oft-pointed out similarity between Lagoonism and Coffinism, largely because philosophical thought must be expressed by known persons in order for credence to be lent to the emergence of the articulated thought as philosophy indeed.

Thankfully, these philosophies are yet to go mainstream and the believers in one are generally not far in proximity to believers in the other. The age of enlightenment is upon us and we salute the espousers of these gaddem newnesses of thought. Commit yourself to deep thinking, that ye might find, ultimately, enlightenment.

The Chronicles of Chill: The Hand of Gambrach

Chill had long since departed the land and yea, did no one expect it to return until the battle was lost and won and the hurly burly done. Lo, where there no more bants, memes or tagging of hashish.

 

And it came to pass, in the season of electoralis minora, that the house of Apicuriam held electoralis minora federalis, to choose from amongst themselves one who would contend with King Gejoshaphat for the throne of all the 37 kingdoms in the realm.

 

Now, Gejoshaphat had served for one and a half quadrannia, having succeeded Yaraz of North Centralis, who perished in kingus interruptus. And Gejoshaphat desired and purposed in his heart to rule the 37 kingdoms for one more quadrannium.

 

And lo, there was no contention in the house of Padipalia against Gejoshaphat, for Markus Antonio, head of the senatus, together with elders of the house had presented themselves to Gejoshaphat, crying, “O good king, thou of good fortune and benevolence, master of patience, do not depart from the throne, we beseech thee! We would have no king besides thee!”

 

Gejoshaphat looked upon their pleas with mercy and yielded to their requests. “Ye are my people, and I your king. Far be it from me to reject your supplication.” And thus was there no rival in the house of Padipalia, for even the son of Baluwaz, the very first King of the realm, was discombobulated out of the running. And Gejoshaphat saw it and declared that it was good.

 

In the house of Apicuriam, after a minora federalis devoid of rancour, the delegates spake and chose Gambrach the Centurion as their champion. And lo, did Gambrach find their favour from amongst his peers Atikarias, Kwankwuzaiah, Rochashem and Samuel.

 

Atikarias had served as King’s hand to King Shegolas of Owurutas, but lo did he fall from Shegolas’s grace when Shegolas sought a third quadrannium which was against the laws of the realm. Atikarias had sought to be king for 3 quadrannia in the past but the word of Shegolas continued to cry against him.

 

Atikarias had not only traversed the 37 kingdoms, yea did he even draw nigh to the prophets of blog in the land of Social Media and Twilistia and was favoured of them. Alas it came to nought.

 

Kwankwuzaiah and Rochashem were kings of Kanorasia and Imoleka, respectively, seeking higher kingship. But yea, was it not to be. Samuel was a scribe, and it was said that his workmen at the scribery had not received wages in several moons.

 

Gambrach had once been king over the realm, in the time before time, when the men of Gunn ruled. Gambrach was a severe man of Gunn, given to diligence, uprightness, correctitude and was renowned for these qualities. And Atikarias had served the realm as a sentry in the time of the men of Gunn, when Gambrach was on the throne.

 

Gambrach had also frequently sought to be king in the here and now and was unvictorious in his battles with Shegolas, Yaraz and Gejoshaphat. At the time of his defeat at the hands of Gejoshaphat, he had sworn thus, “Yea, though I live to be a thousand years, never again shall I seek the crown of the realm. For the quest is a poisoned chalice, and it has drained me of everything.”

 

But there was a clamouring from across the realm, and the people cried out for a deliverer. For many felt oppressed under the officials of Gejoshaphat. And, as did Gejoshaphat, Gambrach hearkened unto the cry of the people. Furthermore as a bringer of change, it was not so farfetched for him to change his mind.

 

And there persisted a hurricane of unchill in the land.

 

It thereafter came to pass, after Gambrach had been elected from Apicuriam, that he was required to name his Hand. The people yearned for Fasholam but Shiwajun would not hear of it. Teximachus of Port Harcula, of whom it was said had matched Atikarias shekel for shekel at the electoralis minora, was also desirous of the Handship. But it did not fall upon him.

 

Shiwajun himself was said to be covetous of the Handship but it was not to be. Ayedeeeveedov, once-Prophet of Googlam, now chronicler of Moozes, had said many words in Twilistia against Shiwajun, but it was all obscure.

 

And then in the 13th hour of the seventh day after the minora election of Gambrach, yea, was it pronounced that Osinoshin, who had served as head-pharisee under Shiwajun, when Shiwajun was king of Gideria, was the chosen Hand of Gambrach.

 

And even though there was already a hurricane of unchill in the land, officials of Medieval Meteorological Services were compelled to upgrade it to a tropical storm of gaddem unchill. For Himaza spake on Gambrach’s choice of Osinoshin. And whenever Himaza speaketh, he entereth under the skin of the people of Social Mediana, Twilistia and Digital Perusia.

 

And there persisted a tsunamic gaddem lack of  chill in the land.

 

…To Be Continued

The Chronicles of Chill: Episode VI – Lost Gods of Lavatoria

 

 

“Delegates are the principal thing. Get delegates. And in all thy getting, get nominated. Even if the votes surpass the number of delegates in the land. For this is the will of the LOL concerning you.” – Ancient Mediana Scrolls

 

 

 

From the time of the proclamation of Moozes, wherein he averred that half of Gideria shitteth publicly, chill departed from the land. The people of Twilistia, in Elite Gideria and Naijasteros did brace themselves for a season of unchill for there remaineth no gaddem way that chill would return to the land until Jegatronix pronounced an end to the season of electoralis.

 

And yea, all over Naijasteros were there held electoralis minora. In the North Easteros region of Naijastros was a man named Nuhum. Nuhum desired in his heart that he would be King of Adamantium. Though he had been persecuted by Gejoshaphat and the house of Padipalia, he pledged fealty and his sword to them and was named their champion for electoralis majora.

 

In Gideria, King Fasholam, who reigned in the stead of his forbear Shiwajun, was not in accord with him. As has been foretold, Ambsalom found favour with Shiwajun and it pleased Shiwajun greatly for Ambsalom to rule in Fasholam’s stead at the end of the quadrannum. But Fasholam favoureth Shoopor of Mumbai and lo, were there tense moments in the Giderian house of Apicuria.

 

Fasholam stood with Shoopor and impresseth upon the delegatus to name Shoopor their champion for electoralis majora. But the hearts of the delegatus were hardened towards and Fasholam and endeared to Shiwajun. And they took no heed of the Tword that Ambsalom was of Ondonia, not Gideria, and did name him their champion for electoralis majora.

 

And all was well in the Giderian house of Apicuria. And lo, did Shiwajun make proclamation after the vanquishment of Shoopor, saying, “Knowest all ye of Gideria and beyond, and takest thou heed of my words, that no divide stands between Fasholam and myself!” Yea, did a number Twilistines, Social Medianites and Digital Perusites yinmu-eth at Shiwajun, but all was largely well.

 

And it came to pass shortly afterwards, that it was time for Giderian Padipalians to hold electoralis minora for Moozes, Jimothy and Boganus, who shewed himself an Expendable on the day.

 

It was said of Moozes, by the Elders of Giderian Padipalia, that he was uncouth and of inferior breeding to Jimothy. Neither man being an animal of domestication, Moozes made bold to declare that the true man of majora would be known at the end of electoralis, and that it would not be the meister who had done nothing useful with his life beyond dispensing medicaments from a corner shop in the village square.

 

And from the moment Giderian Padipalia began electoralis minora, there was not a modicum, nay an iota, nay further a speculum of gaddem chill across the length and breadth of the venue.

 

The forces of Moozes clashed with the forces of Jimothy and yea, could Moozes not part them. And Boganus arrived electoralis wearing chain mail armor for he was fearful for his life, yet his men wore none, for they were expendable – with a small E.

 

Ayedeevedov and Himaza continued their vigil for Moozes, desirous of his coronation as king at electoralis majora. Indeed, there were assured that the gods of porcelania and lavatoria, of whose gospel Moozes was an Apostle, would grant him favour.

 

And lo, was this electoralis the longest the Twilistines had seen, for even unto the 14th hour of the day was there a census of the delegates, and yea was it determined that they were 5 gross 4 score and six in number. And then did the delegates vote.

 

It came to pass that when the delegates had finished casting their votes, Boganus in his chain armor cried out to the Centurions and Sentinels at electoralis, “Defend ye this day the votes which the delegates have cast. Suffer them not to be moved, removed or altered. Preserve ye the sanctity of electoralis, as thou and this chain armour upon my chest protecteth my life.” And lo, the Centurions and Sentinels formed a ring of fire around the ballots, that no one might impugn them.

 

When the elders of Giderian Padipalia counted the votes of the delegates, a befuddling wonderment had taken place. The votes had increased in number by2 score and 17, to six gross less 1. This miracle took place before all men at electoralis minora and none could explain it. And Ayedeevedov, who until then maintaineth good cheer, imbimbed the spirit of the Tword and he began to prophesy, though it was said that this prophecy was more akin to lamentation.

 

Upon counting, the elders declared Jimothy the Meister champion of Giderian Padipalia at electoralis majora, where he would do battle with Ambsalom of Apicuria.

 

And lo, was there scornful rejoicing in the land, with joyful derision and subsidious subotomy spaken to Himaza, Ayedeevedov, and all those who had trusted in the gods of porcelania and lavatoria. Chill had long since departed…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Tambuwal Declare His Own Seat Vacant?

If, by some tragic stroke of misfortune, President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo and Senate President David Mark all died today, Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, would be sworn in as President of Nigeria. Yet, in response to his defection to the APC, Tambuwal’s security detail has been withdrawn.

 

The Inspector General of the Nigerian Police, in the attempt to justify his withdrawal of the security detail of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, cited the following section of the constitution:

 

 

Section 68(1): A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if – (g) being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected; Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.

 

As far as the IG is concerned, it would seem that Aminu Tambuwal is not merely just no longer the Speaker – he isn’t even a legislator anymore. While former principal officers of the State still have state-provided security attached to them (and therefore cessation of office should not automatically mean withdrawal of security), the focus of this piece is the little constitutional crisis we have on our hands.

 

According to section 68(2), edited slightly for relevance, “the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall give effect to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, so however that the Speaker or a member shall first present evidence satisfactory to the House that any of the provisions of that subsection has become applicable in respect of that member.”

 

Thus, Tambuwal is required to declare Tambuwal’s seat vacant, in the absence of evidence that there is a division in the PDP.

 

Since the events at the PDP’s convention last year led to several prominent members leaving the party for the APC, it has been the contention of the PDP that the legislative seats of those who crossed over to the APC be declared vacant, going by the provisions of Section 68(1)(g). According to them, as there is no division in the PDP, all legislative defectors must lose their seats. Should they?

 

The courts have not been very helpful with the interpretation of this section. In all the recent defection cases, even where splinter groups have held parallel congresses and elected their own officials, the courts have ruled that no division existed. They have however refused to describe what situation or circumstances they would see as constituting a division. And that remains the central issue.

 

However, even if there was a division in the PDP 12 months ago, there is also the question whether or not such division still exists. The dust has pretty much settled and everyone has gotten on with life in the new party. Or does the fact that the court’s final decision on the legislative defections so far mean that the “division” (if it is eventually ruled to exist) is a continuing one? We wait to see what the court will say.

 

To complicate matters for the PDP, who have asked Tambuwal to resign his office, the constitution is quite clear on how the Speaker may leave the office. Section 50(2) says –

 

The Speaker the House of Representatives shall vacate his office –

  1. if he ceases to be a member of the House of Representatives otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives; or

  2. when the House of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of that House; or

  3. if he is removed from office by a resolution of the House of Representatives, by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of the members of that House.

 

In other words, pending the final decision of the courts, Tambuwal has to declare Tambuwal’s seat vacant or the House has to impeach him, otherwise he remains in office. PDP does not have the required numbers to carry out the impeachment. Stalemate, for now.

 

Tambuwal ought to resign. It is the moral, honourable and statesmanlike thing to do. But he is not under any legal compulsion to do so. If he is as shrewd as is reputed however, he must have prepared for the very dirty fight ahead.

GUEST POST: Kayode Adegbola (@KayodeA) – Do Commissioners Really Need to Resign Before Contesting Gubers?

With a view to resolving the issue of whether there is any legal requirement for Commissioners to resign their position before they can contest for the offices of Governor of a Nigerian State, I conducted a review of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Constitution”); The Electoral Act 2010, as amended (“Electoral Act”), as well as additional documents which include but are not limited to the constitutions of the major Nigerian Political Parties – People’s Democratic Party (“PDP”) and All Progressives Congress (“APC”).

 

The Constitution provides the following as requirements for a person to be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State[1]:

 

  1. Citizenship of Nigeria by birth;
  2. Attainment of the age of thirty-five years;
  3. Membership of a political party and sponsorship by that political party; and
  4. Education up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

 

In addition, the Constitution confers the following freedom on all persons:

 

Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.[2]

 

This freedom as stated above may be restricted by “any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society a) in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons[3]”.

 

However, and quite importantly, according to the Constitution, no person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if “being a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State, he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days to the date of the election”[4]. In addition, the Interpretation, Citation and Commencement Section of the Constitution defines “public service of a State” as follows[5]:

 

“public service of a State’ means the service of the State in any capacity in respect of the Government of the State (emphasis mine) and includes service as:

(a) Clerk or other staff of the House of Assembly;

(b) member of staff of the High Court, the Sharia court of Appeal, the Customary Court of Appeal; or other courts established for a State by this Constitution or by a Law of a House of Assembly;

(c) member or staff of any commission or authority established for the State by this Constitution or by a Law of a House of Assembly;

(d) staff of any local government council;

(e) staff of any statutory corporation established by a Law of a House of Assembly;

(f) staff of any educational institution established or financed principally by a government of a State; and

(g) staff of any company or enterprise in which the government of a State or its agency holds controlling shares or interest;

It is not clear whether in drafting the Constitution, a Commissioner was envisaged to fall within the purview of being a member of “public service of a State”, however the sentence “the service of the State in any capacity in respect of the Government of the State” could be read to mean so.

 

The Electoral Act makes no stipulations with regard to the subject of this opinion, and neither do the constitutions of the PDP and the APC. The APC Constitution only requires a candidate for Governorship to satisfy the requirements for elections under the Constitution[6], however I am aware that it is conventional for political parties to release guidelines that may require candidates to resign any public office ahead of primary elections.

 

In my considered view, there is no law in Nigeria which expressly states that a Commissioner must resign from his office in order to contest for the office of Governor of a State; however, if at all, in consideration of the provision of Section 318 (1) as mentioned above, such resignation will not be required until thirty (30) days before the Governorship Election.

 

So, for any Commissioner who is currently in service in any State in Nigeria and seeking to run for Governorship of the State (as is quite common), it remains safe to not resign until at least 30 days before the next Governorship Election scheduled for 28th February 2015. However, I am aware that State Governors often either sack or require Commissioners in their Cabinets to resign their positions in order to prevent the distraction of campaigning as against their service to the State.

 

NOTE: This blog post does not constitute legal advice, but rather is an opinion of the writer on the state of the law regarding the topic. For specific advice, please contact your lawyer.

Follow Kayode Adegbola on Twitter: @kayodea

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Section 177

[2] Section 40

[3] Section 45

[4] Section 182(1)(g)

[5] Section 318(1)

[6] Article 20(2)(ii)(b)

Legislature Defections: Sitting Pretty or “Fidihe”?

Since the APC announced its absorption of the breakaway faction of the People’s Democratic Party – the so called “New PDP” – questions have been raised as to whether defecting lawmakers must now vacate their seats in the various legislative houses. This ordinarily should be the direction that the moral compasses of the new members of the APC should point to. If you asked your constituency to vote for you based on your membership of a party and then leave the party after your election, you should ask for their trust again.

However, the issue is legal and not moral. And the principal actors also realise this. In its statement after the defection, the PDP, through its National Public Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the PDP said the governors and legislators were free to leave the party, concluding with the following reiteration:

“We reiterate that the position of the law is very clear – that there is no factions whatsoever (sic) in the PDP.”

In his own press release, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka, the NPDP’s National Publicity Secretary, apparently in response to the nuanced “de-factionalisation” of the PDP, declared that the seats of defecting lawmakers were safe, citing constitutional and judicial authorities for his position.

Sections 68(1)(g) and 109 (1)(g), in virtually identical wording state that

A member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if – (g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected: Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.

What this means, in plainer English, is that a lawmaker who switches to another party before the next elections will not lose his seat if the switch is as a result of a division (or breaking into factions) in his original party, or his original party merges with another.

The New PDP, as a result of concerted resistant from the Old/Real (?) PDP, was not registered as a political party by the Independent National Electoral Commission. There is also a subsisting court ruling restraining the New PDP from using the PDP’s logo or parading itself or its members as PDP. Does this mean, as Metuh has suggested, that there are no factions within the PDP? A court would probably need to rule on the point but I would suggest that common sense would recognise  that there has, in fact, been a split within the PDP since the machinations at its last National Convention.

Eze Chukwuemeka, in his press release, also cited a Supreme Court judgment from 1983 which ought to give the new members of the APC some comfort. In FEDECO vs Goni, Aniagolu, JSC (as he then was) said the following, on “cross-carpeting” and Section 64(1)(g) – equivalent of current 68(1)(g) – of the 1979 Constitution:

“The mischief which the framers of the Constitution wanted to avoid was carpet-crossing which, from our constitutional history, in the not distant past, has bedevilled the political morality of this country. They had however to allow for a situation where a political party, by reason of internal squabbles, had split into one or more factions. A split or division could arise without any fault of the members of a political party, resulting in a member rightly or wrongly, finding himself in a minority group which may not be big enough, or strong enough, to satisfy the recognition, as a separate political party, of the Federal Electoral Commission. For such a member not to be allowed to join another political party with his faction may be to place him in a position where his right to contest for political office will be lost. Such a situation is entirely different from the fraudulent and malevolent practice of cross-carpeting politicians of yester years who, for financial consideration or otherwise, crossed from one political party to another, without qualms and with out conscience. Such a practice had to be discouraged by the framers of our Constitution if political public morality of our country was to be preserved.”

This dictum is instructive, as it clearly recognises that a faction may exist even if INEC (then FEDECO) did not register the faction as a separate political party. Taken with the fact that the Constitution permits a departed factionalised legislator to retain his seat, I think the APC can safely put its feet up, at least until the next elections.

Interestingly, it appears one can switch parties whenever one likes and for any reason, without any consequence in the US Congress. See here and here.

SIDEBAR

1. As we are on the subject of elections, I recently stumbled upon some provisions of the Electoral Act of 2010 which bear some significance to the ongoing(?) elections in Anambra State.

Section 102 states as follows:

“Any candidate, person or association who engages in campaigning or broadcasting based on religious, tribal, or sectional reason for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular political party or the election of a particular candidate, is guilty of an offence under this Act and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for twelve months or to both.”

Juxtapose this with the following statement credited to Chief Arthur Eze

“That short man called Ngige, we gave him power and he went and joined Awolowo’s people; the people that killed the Igbo.”

And the following statement credited to Chief Dennis Agumba

“It was Chris Nwabueze Ngige that described the deported Igbos as destitute, just to please his godfathers from Lagos, who are funding his governorship campaign.”

Are these two men guilty of electoral offences?

2. The Parties who insist that they will not take part in the supplementary elections in Anambra State need to know (they probably do anyway) that boycotting would be an empty gesture.

“An election tribunal or court shall not under any circumstance declare any person a winner at an election in which such a person has not fully participated in all the stages of the said election.” – Section 141

If you’re within striking distance of Willie Obiano but refuse to take part in the supplementary elections, the court cannot declare you winner even if everything goes your way during the trial.