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Adamawa: Parable Of The Angry Father


By Ahmad Sajoh

Once upon a time an innocent child came to his father and said “Dad, this my grandfather’s illness has lasted for too long and the stress on you and everyone in the family is too much. I hope he dies so we can all get over the stress.” The father was very angry. He just couldn’t stomach such very insensitive words from his son. Lacking what to say out of anger he then shouted at the boy “it’s your father that will die, not my father.” The boy innocently asked him, “Dad would you rather die than witness your father’s death?” It was then he realized the import of his statement.

That’s the situation in Adamawa State APC today. We have drawn a sword close to our neck and in the process cut off our head. Today on NTA 24 I said the Court should not arrogate to itself the power to limit the choices available to the citizens in a democracy. Why will the Court declare that APC has no candidate in an election where the interest of hundreds of thousands of party faithfuls are at stake. Why should the majority be punished for the assumed misdemeanor of a tiny few? Does it really make sense? By the way, why reserve a judgement for almost two months in a matter that is glaringly time bound? I think this self righteous arrogance of the Nigerian judiciary is itself a major negative in our democratic practice.

Two areas the judiciary has failed the Nigerian state and Nigerian people in their role as the last hope of the common man. These are in the areas of justice delay and excessive use of legal technicalities. We have often heard that “justice delayed, is justice denied” When a judge reserves his judgement for so long or the court process is unduly delayed, the course of justice is inadvertently delayed and may be subverted. In addition to excessive delays, the courts now play on so much legal technicalities that the concept of a fair and just system is mired in an avalanche of technical rigmarole that serves no purpose other than adding time and cost to the process of adjudication. In the end justice becomes time consuming and expensive. Whereas some of us believe laws are made for man, it is increasingly becoming a case of man made for the law.

The judgement on the APC Adamawa state gubernatorial candidate is indeed unfortunate. The Federal High Court in Adamawa State has coordinate jurisdiction with the one in Taraba. The issues for determination in Taraba were far more grievous than the one in Adamawa, yet the Court provided a window for a re-run primaries in Taraba while the one in Adamawa did not. The pronouncement by the Judge that the parties could appeal is absolutely superfluous. It is given. There is no reason why such a harsh and high handed judgement cannot be tested at the appeal level. It is the prerogative of the parties to appeal. There is no need for such advice from the learned judge or anyone. However, it should be noted that legal technicalities are increasingly making our courts gravitate more towards becoming “courts of law” rather than “courts of justice” Justice creates a just society. Too much emphasis on law and legal technicalities makes the law a commodity which only the rich and powerful can afford.

But away from law and legality. The Adamawa tragedy is not entirely the failure of the justice system to be just and compassionate. It is a failure of the political actors to conduct themselves in a responsible and responsive manner. It is the anger of the father who wants his father alive while wishing his son’s father death not knowing that he was indeed the son’s father. If the whole conduct of the APC congresses leading to the nomination process had been done responsibly we wouldn’t be where we are today. But from day one it has been about control, about promoting self interest over and above the interests of the party, the members or the good citizens of Adamawa state. The party operatives failed to realize that the people of Adamawa state are yearning for a government that is compassionate and responsible for their interest and welfare. And they believe that given what was done in the past and is being done by the APC Federal Government, this party represented a hope for a better Adamawa. But alas, all along certain individuals had decided to arrogate to themselves the prerogative to determine who gets what and for what purpose within the party hierarchy. In the process of ensuring they had their way, all means, fair or foul were deployed. In the end we all lost because the court judgement is an indictment of the process rather than the contestants.

While we pray that the court of appeal will correct the obvious anomaly in this judgement, we wish to state very unequivocally that this loss is not just a loss for the persons involved but our collective loss. The biggest losers are the leadership of the party at all levels that failed to conduct fair processes leading to the emergence of a candidate that the courts will uphold. The aura of arrogance displayed by those who are rejoicing at this tragedy is indeed despicable. The nonchalance of the party leadership since the saga started only betrayed incompetence. If eventually APC ends up without a gubernatorial candidate in 2023 (God forbid) then all the leaders must bury their faces in shame. They have individually and collectively failed the membership of the party and indeed the good people of Adamawa state.

As always, I come in peace.

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