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 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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chronicles of Chill – Episode V: Fecum Providentia

 After the time of the unchill of the season of (Me)Linda Gate(s), a season of chill came upon the lands of Twilistia and Social Mediana. Ayedeeveedov, who was thought to be a Prophet of Googlam, did not continue in the ways of Googlam and took upon himself the garb of a scribe, and yea did he pontificate upon matters of war, of peace and of the koronation of a coming king.

And lo was there chill. But the chill was lukewarm and not chilled and unpervasive, and very soon was spat out. And yea, were there reasons for the unchilling of chill.

High Priest of Saxophonia, Fematicus, went unto and knew his wife over five seasons. And she bore five children but lo, did he drive the first two away from his household, for they were the son and daughter of Adulteram. And Adulteram was not of the house of Saxophonia.

High Priestess Melinda of Gossipotamia received a vision of the exodus of the children of Adulteram but the god of Saxophonia was at least 96 moons ahead of the gods of Gossipotamia. And Fematicus demanded of Melinda that the engravings of the sons of Saxophonia be removed from her temple; and yea, was there a very fleeting peace. In truth, there was no peace.

In those days, Jegatronix, a Gaul from the House of Necolas, was chief elector in the land. The time was nigh, upon which King Gejoshaphat and the lesser kings of Naijasteros would either depart from the thrones and be replaced by others, or return in triumph for a further quadrannum of time. And Jeganotrix had proclaimed the season of electoralis.

In the kingdom of Gideria, King Fasholam, a good and upright king was nearing the completion of his second quadrannum on the throne, and lo, was it forbidden for him to return for a third quadrannum. For only one King had tried to break the sacred law of the quadrannum, and yea did it end in opprobrium and infamy for King Shegolas of Owurutas.

From the House of PaDiPalia there emerged two sons, whose desire it was to receive the people’s anointing and be declared by Jegatronix as King in Fasholam’s stead. The first was a meister, known to men as Jimothy. The second was a courtesan of King Gejosphat, having served as sub-centurion of Gejoshaphat’s armies. His name was Moozes.

Moozes and Jimothy were known to Fahsolam, for they had set their heads against his for the crown of Gideria in previous quadrannia, and even against Shiwajun, in whose stead Fahsolam had taken the throne. And yea did Moozes contend time upon time that Shiwajun was not of the kingdom of Gideria (but of Oshunlonica), and yea did he so contend in vain.

In the house of APiCuriam, from whence Shiwajun and Fahsolam came, was there a man named Shoopor of Mumbai. He was a Pharisee, like Fasholam and also wished to be king. Ambsalom, a tax collector, also from the house of APiCuriam, was himself desirous of the throne as well. Ambsalom presented himself as a son of Eperati, in the kingdom of Gideria, but lo did his enemies divine of the scribes of Jamboree and yea was it first recorded that Ambsalom was from the kingdom of Ondonia.

But the hand of Shiwajun was upon Ambsalom and it ceased to be counted against him that he originateth from Ondonia, for it was said that Ambsalom’s mother came from the town of Eperati and that sufficeth.

And it came to pass that Moozes and Jimothy made their own desires known to the people of Gideria on the same day. Moozes spoke in the town square of Gideria, while Jimothy spake only to the Giderians of Social Mediana and the Digital Perusi, for the PaDiPalians could not have the Town Square on the same day.

And while, Moozes spakes from the Town Square, the tword of Moozes was relayed to the Twillistines by a young man named Himaza, who was Moozes’ squire. And yea, was this the tword of Moozes as it came to the tweeple.

“People of Gideria, behold, a time of greatness is upon thee! If thou crownest me king, then will I build infirmaries all over our kingdom! For 7 times out of 10 when thou fallest ill, it is mosquitosis. And yea, shall we banish it from the land!”

The people of Gideria cheered but the Twillistines and Social Medianites continued to regard Moozes and Himaza his squire in silence. Moozes continued.

“Behold, people of Gideria, if thou wouldest crown me thy king, your children would be of greater learning, with 60 billion shekels! It is a thing of great sadness that only 2 out of 100 of our places of study are comparable to the standards of Babylonia. Marvel, as I create a teacheropolis for the rabbis who instruct as well!”

And yea, was there further acclamation in Gideria but only a mild murmur in Twilistia. And yet did Moozes proceed to speak further.

“Hear me, good people of Gideria! Behold, if I were king over thee and thine households, yea would I strew the streets of Gideria and Lagoslopolis with lavatories, for 47 out of 100 of you defecate publicly.”

And lo, were the ears of the chronicler deafened, for there erupted a riotous roar and there was no longer a gaddem modicum of chill in the gaddem land!!!

The Night Buhari and Atiku ‘Ruined’ AGK’s 40th Birthday

 

Last night a few of us gathered to celebrate with our friend “AGK” who turned 40. Many happy returns to him.

 

It started off congenially enough, with the perfunctory anecdotes, yabis, complaints about advancing in age yet not advancing sufficiently in comfort, etc. There was even some talk about Kim Kardashian’s freshly photographed oily butt, how the world was full-on porno and how no one knows the words to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” even though everyone has seen the video more than a couple of times. Nice and, you know, laddish.

 

But it’s that time of our 4-year cycle again and even if it wasn’t, we would still have dabbled into the dinner-party taboo topic of politics.

 

It probably started with a lament on how bad things are in the country and how badly they need to change. “This is why we need to vote for APC and Buhari in February”, it started innocently enough.

 

I had the temerity to disagree, also fairly innocuously. “Well, I think Atiku has positioned himself as the most prepared and most statesmanly of the lot. I would vote for him over Buhari.”

 

Instantly the gathering lost it’s chill. The rest of the conversation, in significantly raised voices, between Buhari’s supporters (virtually everybody else) and me, went something like this.

 

There is no basis for you to compare those 2 personalities. How can you even say that?

 

Well, why not? You can’t have a single-issue presidency, so you shouldn’t run a single-issue campaign!

 

Okay…so tell me, what do you think our greatest issue as a country is? Is it not corruption? Can everything else not be linked to corruption?

 

Look, corruption is a very big issue, but this your saviour can’t even articulate how he’s going to tackle the corruption. You keep on citing credentials from when he either led or worked in authoritarian regimes. How’s he going to cope in a democracy? It’s nothing but a myth jor.

 

It will start with a change in body language from the top. If it is clear to everyone that it will not be business as usual, everyone will sit up. People need to start facing the consequences of their actions. Our biggest problem is that corruption and impunity have no consequence even when people have been caught.

 

But it can’t all be corruption naa. Look at the judiciary, for example. The case load, the procedure rules all allow cases to drag on forever. What is a Buhari, in and of himself, going to do to halve trial times and ensure justice is delivered more quickly?

 

Oh please! Do judges not collect money? All of them?? Trial delays are all/mostly because judges collect money? Ehn, prosecute those that have been caught if there’s evidence. This man, we are not talking academics here. How can we have a discussion about justice and law that isn’t inherently academic? Okay, what about the 3 judges that NJC recently gave soft landing to? All 3 were indicted for misconduct, but rather than face prosecution, they were sacked. Or maybe even retired sef.

 

I don’t know the details of that, but let’s go back to the principal characters. Buhari is a mascot. He has no support structure of his own. His backers are only there because for some mystical reason, he is a vote magnet in North. How many Buhari-types are there? Is he even really a politician in the strict sense of the word? What teams has he built over the years?

 

Team-building is very easy. Any of our bank MDs today can be Minister for Finance or CBN Governor. I don’t think even Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would be averse to serving in a GMB presidency. We really just need ministers and the civil service to sit up.

 

Whatever. Then you people will make noise that all he has lived on since leaving office is his salary and pension. Of what use is that in today’s Nigeria? Personally, I would prefer somebody with a history of building companies, providing employment, building teams, fixing things…

 

Comot here jo! Which industry Atiku get? Intels? That one na cash cow and nor be only him get am. He has factories in Adamawa. Which factories? Have you been there? The man has just pulled a Shekarau on all you converts. This was how Shekarau did us debate magic last year.

 

Sigh, okay, fine. GMB wins the primaries, with the support of BAT. Maybe he wins the election. GMB and BAT are not of the same mould. Their ideas for appointees will be different.

 

Look, I even have conspiracy theory about all this. BAT is nobody’s fool. We will see his real intentions after the APC presidential primaries.

 

Meanwhile, how many of us don collect PVC o?

 

crickets…

 

EXCLUSIVE!!! O. Methu Selah: Official Statement on the PDP’s Recent Change of Heart

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Dear Members of our great party, the People’s Democratic Party, the greatest political party in all of the African hemisphere, peace and salutations from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (swt) to you. As always, we remember that there is God in everything we are doing.

 

We know that certain microscopic sections of the general populace would have many believe otherwise, but we are a listening party. Our people say that one cannot have the biggest head in Africa, without also being blessed with the biggest ears. Actually, our people don’t really say that, but you will see where we are going with this. We have the biggest ears and we heard the murmuring and displeasure of all the little people in our great party. You know how the English also say you should look at the ant and see what it is doing.

 

So we have looked at all the ants that say they too want to contest for the presidency and have decided, in the democratic nature of our party and its name, to fling the door open to all contestants for the next 48 hours. Goodluck Jonathan is still our sole candidate, but we are a democratic party.

 

To my brothers and sisters who we are not officially allowed to acknowledge, those Nigerian Ambassadors of Transformation (haha, see how we coded it?), know that your labour is not in vain. Your efforts to contrive a consensus across the length and breadth of Nigeria, and the billions of naira that were invested in the venture shall certainly not go to waste. As you traversed our vast nation on a divine purpose of political evangelism, rest assured that we remain converted. Your sweats that you are sharing are crying out for you. Goodluck Jonathan is our sole candidate, but it is open to other candidates to throw their hats into the ring. This is democracy at work, and this is the beauty of democracy.

 

To those who paid for the nomination forms, knowing that the party had settled on a sole candidate and knowing further that this is still the party’s position, please come and collect your forms. This being Nigeria, there will be no refunds and returns. Do not think, however, that this is the sole reason why we have permitted you to try your luck against Goodluck, our sole candidate. Afterall, the good Nigerians who contributed over N100m to the President’s nomination-form-picking fund are more than able to take it upon themselves to refund the fee. No. We are the People’s Democratic Party and we realise that we must always be democratic. As lawyers say, democracy must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

 

We will publish the rules for our convention soon enough, so that you and your supporters will know how to contend against our sole pre-endorsed candidate. We do not want anyone to be caught by surprise, and we will therefore ensure as level a playing field as possible, for yourselves and for our sole pre-endorsed candidate. In the regrettably sad but highly event that you do not prevail over our sole candidate, we trust that you will be democratic statesmen and give him your full support in February 2015.

 

– O. Methu Selah, for the PDP

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)

Elitism As a Scapegoat

Kayode Fayemi lost and Ayodele Fayose won. The overwhelming consensus, even with people that were Fayemi aficionados before the elections, in blog after blog and op-ed after op-ed, is that Fayemi was too elitist and Fayose was a man of the people; that Fayemi lost because his policies were too cerebral (ergo, the Ekiti people are a thick bunch) and that Fayose, with all his travails and alleged character flaws, is the man whose governance and policies favour the people more.

 

Analysts are all agreeing that while roads, bridges, healthcare and raised educational standards are all fantastic ideals, a governor who would be re-elected must “empower the people”. The governor-elect, true to his pre-electoral reputation, has already declared that he will empower the people of Ekiti by awarding them contracts, whatever that means. He understands, it has repeatedly been said since the elections, what is euphemistically referred to as “stomach infrastructure”. Ekiti is full of poor, hungry people and Fayose, with his common touch, is more connected to the people and understands better the importance of stomach infrastructure, the arguments go. Unlike the outgoing governor, who was simply too elitist (like Fashola of Lagos, it is frequently added).

 

Elitism has suddenly become this dirty word, this contraption by which elections will surely be lost. And the sure banker route to electoral victory is ensuring that as an incumbent governor, you maintain the status quo and keep the rent-seekers and hangers on happy, lest they rebel against you and deliver each single local government in the state to the enemy.

 

Is Fayemi’s “elitism” is something to be apologetic for? Obviously, in the zero sum game that is our current political arena, some populism is required in the quest to retain political power and the fact that Fayemi will cede his office to Fayose, come October, shows that elections are still largely a popularity contest. However, the question must be asked, of those who would think, whether or not the status quo is desirable. Do we want people to win elections so they can beat their chests and dance victory dances, or do we want people to win elections because we believe they will govern in the best way possible? In a country where we complain about the First Couple’s frequent foot-in-mouth gaffes, why was it ultimately wrong for this governor to be of the desired mould?

 

The question is moot and yet it is at the same relevant to the on-going examination. Shall we continue to wallow in the incompetencies of today, so that our stomachs may be serviced, or should we look at where we need to be and do the things necessary to help us get there? Do we, as a society, have values about this sort of thing, or is our value system limited to compelling all women to be married before they hit 30? Is “elitism” a bad thing for politicians because it supposedly lost Fayemi the elections?

 

It certainly sounds nice to have governors who buy food by the roadsides and share the monthly federal allocations around, but any buffoon can do that. In fact, there are many buffoons doing this all over Nigeria at the moment. Is this buffoonery preferable to development and does the fact that the people of Ekiti rejected a progressive governor make this buffoonery right? What exactly is the point of governance?

 

We cannot, on the one hand, criticise governors who celebrate mundane, basic amenities like boreholes and motorcycles, yet make a governor renowned for prudence and excellence feel like his conduct and policies as a governor were regrettable.

 

There is no society that has progressed by working with the thinking prevalent amongst its lowest echelon. Such thinking, as is evident with this “stomach infrastructure” argument, is inherently short-termist and therefore inferior and unreliable. Societies progress when the greater good of the greater number is pursued and if this is being “elitist”, then elitism is a good thing and I would be happy to belong to the elite.

 

When we say people (or “the masses”) are poor and hungry and that this poverty is what directs how they vote, can we objectively say that their choices are rational? Or is rationality a subjective thing, depending on the abjectness or otherwise of one’s poverty? Granted, the game is about winning and, no matter how much Arsene Wenger says it, coming anything other than first is not like winning a trophy. But is winning elections the sole aim of governance? How can we clamour for good governance but deride a man for not throwing scarce money away, in the name of stomach infrastructure? How can it be bad for the governor to have focused on real infrastructure?

 

There have been attempts to rationalise what happened in the Ekiti elections. You can read my favourite pieces here and here. It would seem from the analysis that one cannot be a purist in Nigeria and hope to remain in power and this is a very fearful thing. It means that there really is no incentive to lean away from the malaises that we all agree are holding the country back – the corruption, the nepotism, the impunity. You see, a blanket empowerment of the people by awarding them contracts means that you are discarding due process in tenders as a governor. It connotes that “the people” will be awarded these contracts irrespective of their qualification or suitability. It means that you will feed the entitlement mentality of “sharing” and “making the money flow”. It means that you have already compromised on good governance. It means that the change of Nigeria, of your state, does not lie in you.

 

Luckily for us, Fayose can only be governor for four years and no more. Perhaps he will be more concerned with his legacy, as will not be eligible for re-election, given his previous term as governor. Maybe he will mix his populism with some pragmatic elitism and flip the script for 2018.

The Past Few Weeks in Limericks

The Tribune reports a bizarre story, where students of a particular secondary school in Osun State, reacting to the governor’s pot-pourri revamp, all came to school wearing religious garb. Christians in choir robes, Muslims in veils and African religionists in, well, “fetish” regalia.

In Osun right now there’s confusion

In secondary school institution

Rauf did a mix

And now he must fix

The MusChristTrado revolution

You must be weary of my unending coverage of the political defecations now. No, that was not a typo. The Parties are shitting on each other, aren’t they? Well, the PDP has now lost, for the 2nd or third time in its history, the country’s former vice president. The question has been asked what will happen if he fails to get the APC’s presidential nomination, being its newest member and all… Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

The party they want to cremate

As all these old hands relocate

Will lead to the loss

Of national gloss

The defectors Atiku-late*

————-

He’s been here & there & all over

Political shaker and mover

When you oscillate

Like he’s done of late

You’re king of the Party jan’glova*

Now, how does Atiku’s defection/resignation/porting affect previous political calculations? It is said to be an open secret that the current Speaker of the House is poised to join the APC and become its presidential nominee. The chatter on this has been a little subdued over the past week. More waiting and seeing to be done.

What happens when Speakers defect

What should be the legal effect

If they stay in-seat

‘zit legal conceit

Or is it a power redirect?

Ah, yes. There’s also been the matter of a legislative filibuster, which we haven’t seen for a few generations now. Buoyed by the recent influx into its fold, making it the majority party in the lower house, subject of course to how the courts eventually treat defectors, the APC has asked its members to block all executive bills. This is not because they enjoy being a nuisance to the President, no. They say they’re doing it to compel him to return the “rule of law”. We’ve already discussed how that means several things and nothing all at once in Nigeria.

To strip PDP of its lustre

The APC men in their cluster

Are “taking a stand

For good gov’nance” and

Will do so by a filibuster

————————–

Absorbing the past’s imperfections

To shore up for coming elections

Are you really new

Do you have a clue

Or defects are mere defecations?

We return this week to the case of Danbaba Suntai, governor-on-gardening-leave of Taraba State. He appeared on a most pitiful interview on Sahara Reporters, though the State has since feebly alleged that the video is a fake. I know who I believe.

The guv’nor who crashed with his plane

Whose aides say is fit & is sane

In video log

On Sahara’s blog

Admits he can’t yet take the strain

——————–

Danbaba’s aides cleary can’t think

That someone so close to the brink

Was left to admit

That he wasn’t fit

And that he’d been prone to the drink

One of GEJ’s longtime tormentors, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai was invited by the SSS to explain certain remarks he’d made. On the good Mallam’s release, he chose to confirm the rumour about Presidential Sniper Teams, first given credence by former President Obasanjo in his open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Our Mallam Has Sighted The List

But Says He Won’t Give Us The Gist

For All Of That Tripe

’bout Rulers That Snipe

We Cannot All Help But Be Pissed

Now, who leaked that snipering list

—————————-

That’s got APC in red mist?

Was it worth revealing

Their targets, who reeling

Now fret if they really exist

The PDP kicked out 80-year old erstwhile chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and President Jonathan promptly appointed him as head of the 115-year old railway corporation. Nothing more to be said about this geriatric pairing, except maybe a previous word on the railways. Oh, and that this was still a huge relief as the word on the streets was that Tukur was going to be appointed the minister of defence!

So Tukur was not for Defence

Their rapture must be so immense

Those poor Jonathanians

Who face Social Medians

And randomly take offence

—————————

The railways aren’t yet slow enuf

Journeys insufficiently ruff

So we got an Ancient

To make us more patient

By fixing up all of that stuff

 

If you’re Nigerian and you haven’t yet heard this leaked customer care agent call, where have you been???

While checking on MTN import

Etisalat Uche gave comfort

Was falsely accused

Of Snatchery-Abuse

And being the called party’s consort

And finally, to St. Peter’s square, where the Pope released a dove to the heavens. The dove didn’t quite make it that far, though as a crow attacked it. A form of Mene Mene Tekel to the onlooking crowd, or what does this mean?

When Francis let go of the bird

A shriek & a cackle were heard

A seagull & crow

Impeded its flow

In scenes superstitious, absurd

*Atiku-late was coined by @Shimoshi1. Follow him on twitter for more witticisms.