Signs of how Presidential Electoral Petitions will likely be decided3 min read
By Emeka Ugwuonye
I was not surprised that the court denied the Labour Party its request for the broadcasting of the trial. I had for a long time felt that even if Obi won the election, he would not be allowed to rule Nigeria. I have always known that Unfortunately, in developing countries, you often need more than votes to rule. And Peter Obi had only the votes.
It is a hard truth that most people would not understand. The whole election was a contest between the powers that be and the masses of Nigeria. The illusion of democracy gave us the impression that the masses should not use force (like in a revolution) to replace the government because they have their votes as a better option. But that is largely an illusion. The power that be will not yield to the masses just like that. It really hasn’t happened in recent history. We saw the massive movements in Egypt that got rid of Mubarak. We also saw that it was an illusion. Egypt is ruled by the military.
In Nigeria, the people felt that they have had enough of oppression and injustice under the existing order. Massive agitations started in various parts of Nigeria. Those who could couch their grievances on ethnicity and indigenous nationality did so – eg, IPOB, Sunday Igboho movement, etc. And those who found alternative causes to mobilize against the state of affairs did so under EndSARS movement, all happening outside formal political structure. Peter Obi offered these aggrieved masses an outlet within the political structure. This was what Peter Obi’s Labour Party offered the people and the people responded as the Obidents.
The aggrieved Nigerians saw in Peter Obi’s Labour Party the opportunity to overthrow the cartel that have controlled the country over the years. But at that moment, the illusion was revealed. Those in power would not give it up based on the votes. I don’t think they would give up power that easily, quite unfortunately.
The Courts are part of the cartel in power. The justices will never oust an incumbent president in Nigeria. The President-elect shall have been in office for 7 months before this case would come to the Supreme Court for a decision. By then President Tinubu would have made key strategic appointments that will ensure that the military and the rest of the security forces are vested in him remaining in power. If the President-Elect were even half as ruthless and calculated as his opponents depicted him, then it should be an easy thing for him to outsmart the system.
To see how the cartel views the Obidents, allowing the broadcasting of the trial is a golden gift to the Obidents. The tribunal that is already wary and suspicious of the Obidents will never do that. Otherwise, what else is wrong with the public transmission of the trial? Isn’t it a public trial? Why not allow more Nigerians to know what happened at the trial by simply broadcasting it? No, they don’t trust the Obidents, not even with a public hearing, how much less with allowing their representative to be president of Nigeria.
Take the courts decision on this as a sign of how they are seeing the period as a whole.