By Amanze Obi
Impudence has certainly grown wings. If it were not so, a poor, grubby fellow like Mbadiwe Emelumba would not have had the temerity to insult a man who is superior to him in every sense of the word.
I had, like millions of Nigerians and the world community who were outraged by the open roguery that took place in Imo State, expressed my worry over that assault on democracy. Rather than offer an alternative position other than what I had canvassed if he has good grounds to do so, Mbadiwe chose to make me the issue. He accuses me of lamenting over the loss of a meal ticket. If this silly remark was coming from someone who does not know me, I probably will look the other way. But since Mbadiwe who knows me well enough decided to choose the path of mischief, it is important to remind him that Amanze Obi cannot be associated with bread and butter politics. I am a scholar, a public intellectual, a writer and journalist who has done very well for my self in the practice of my trade. I have built a distinguished career both in the academia and journalism. I am very proud of what I do. I have earned a decent living and have continued to do so through my intellectual engagements. I must say with all sense of modesty that my station in life remains enviable. As a matter of fact, I do not need politics. Politics needs me instead. People like me are playing a role in politics in recognition of the admonition of Alexander Pope that the reign of the Prince of evil terminates in universal darkness. In line with this, I am in politics not for material considerations but because I want to use my participation to change society for the better. If money were to be the detonator, I can as well remain where I am because I have done well, both materially and otherwise, in my chosen career. In any case, a man like Mbadiwe who has been living under the pangs of impecuniosity is the least qualified person to talk about meal ticket in politics.
As if this effrontery was not enough, Mbadiwe, in a manner typical of fools, dared to rush in where the wise would fear to tread. He indulged in intellectual pretensions when he sounded as if he knew anything about logic. I can only laugh when people who have a tenuous hold on a subject pose like experts. Mr Mbadiwe Emelumba, if you need tutorials on Formal or Symbolic Logic, you can approach Dr Amanze Obi who is well schooled in this field of study. I am ready to accept you as my student.
But then, the issue which led Mbadiwe into bogus assumptions has little to do with logic. Commonsense is more prominent in this matter. Commonsense will readily teach us that no political party can field two candidates for the same office in the same election. This is what the Supreme Court judgment which the world is up in arms against has erroneously done in Imo State. The court disqualified an Uche Nwosu from the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State for holding the tickets of two political parties one of which was the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is commonsensical to know that no other person can hold the ticket of the APC in that same election. Rather than the court to make a consequential declaration that the APC had no candidate in that election on the grounds of Nwosu’s disqualification, it chose to be silent. That silence was a studied one. Its unspoken intent spelt fraud. Is this what the Mbadiwes of this world want us to ignore? We will not ignore it because it is an attempt to lead us by the nose. We do not accept to be so led.
Since Mbadiwe is insisting that his principal scored the votes allocated to him by the Supreme Court from the 388 polling units, has he stopped to consider the fact that the court, in its desperation to return Hope Uzodinma, conveniently overlooked the fact that you cannot have more votes than the number accredited to vote in that election? Should we treat this infraction as normal so that the heavens will not collapse? We will not do so because my likes owe themselves and the world they live in the responsibility to reject evil. It is evil, even devilish, to live a life of forgery and insist on imposing that roguery on society.
Has Mbadiwe who cannot draw a line between logic and commonsense wondered how a party that is claiming victory in a gubernatorial contest was unable to win even a seat in the House of Assembly in an election that was conducted the same day under the same atmosphere? This situation is not humanly possible. It simply shows that something is wrong with the Hope Uzodinma claim.
Strictly speaking, are we supposed to overlook the actions of a Supreme Court which has freely engaged in self-contradiction? No, we will not. Rather, we will remind the court of where it has gone wrong. We have a moral responsibility to do so. If we do not, we become accomplices in that evil act. In the instant case, what we have done is to remind the court of what it did a few months earlier and what it is doing now. We have reminded the court that one of the reasons it adduced in dismissing the case brought by Atiku Abubakar against President Buhari was that Atiku did not produce witnesses in all the disputed polling units to prove his case. In the case of Uzodinma versus Ihedioha, the same court conveniently forgot its own rules by not insisting that Uzodinma should have brought witnesses for the 388 disputed polling units to lend credence to his claim. In the instant case, only one witness authenticated the results from 388 polling units. Should we not remind the Supreme Court that it is engaging in double standards? We should. It is a moral obligation. We will not be swayed otherwise by the howl from those who want Nigeria to remain a study in bad example.
In this matter, we are only asking the Supreme Court to rely on decided cases. And this is what the legal profession does. It is for this reason that we reminded the court of its recent pronouncement in the Sokoto State election dispute where it held that documents cannot be dumped on the court. Again, let us quote the relevant aspect of that judgment . It said: ” It is not the duty of the court to sift through documents tendered by parties which have not been demonstrated in an open court. It is also not the duty of the court to sort out the various documents, the figures and do the calculations in chambers to arrive at a figure given in a final judgment, especially in an election petition challenging the number of various votes polled by the candidate declared and returned as winner of the election.” Rather than uphold this standard in the Ihedioha versus Uzodinma case, what we got from the court is a freestyle violation of its own rules. Should we turn a blind eye to this somersault on the part of the Supreme Court? No, we will not, regardless of whose ox is gored.
As a matter of fact, those of us who are asking the Supreme Court to revisit this matter in order to save itself and the country from ridicule are patriots. Our courage should be commended. There is everything bad in allowing the court to live with this infamy. It will destroy the very fabric upon which the legal profession was founded. The law is an ass and it should remain so. Not just that, it will make Nigeria an object of derision in the eyes of the world.
As a typical Forsterian who relies on the virtues of the developed hearts and of trust in the imagination, I will always do battle with benighted souls who follow neither the heart nor the brain. As a developed mind, I will not be a party to my annihilation. I will resist those who seek to subvert and abort the will of the people. All men and women of goodwill should join in the crusade. If we fail to do so, conscience, which Othman Dan Fodio told us is an open wound, will continue to bleed. We must tell ourselves the truth in order to heal our collective wound. One of the ways of doing that is to shun this supreme injustice before us like a plague.