Following the inconsistency in the rulings of the Election Petition Tribunals and that of the Appeal Courts, the Founder of the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has advocated for the establishment of strong institutions as the panacea to distrust that follows every election year in the country.
Aniebonam who made this submission in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos recently observed that although institutions exist in Nigeria, they are not working.
According to him, “It is about leadership, when we get the right leadership, he opens up the scope. So, what we can also pray for is let God give us the right leader who can stand and be able to make sacrifice for the country and be ready to lay down his life.”
Asked how such a leader could be identified in a country where it seems everyone is for himself, Aniebonam who is also the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF said, “I can do it but I won’t have the opportunity. Some people may have the opportunity but if I have that opportunity, I will do it. It does not remove anything from anybody to provide leadership.
“We all know what the problem is, even in the internal democracy of a political party, the primary election matters and all that, once you have a good leader there, he follows the constitution and ensure that the proper thing is done. That’s all. But where the leader is not doing the right thing, it will move up to the next level.
“So, laws are made to be obeyed and when laws are not being obeyed, and it’s not being enforced, then you are looking for a breakdown of law and order. The reforms you are talking about is probably to bring in another set of people but they are Nigerians that you will still want to use to carry on those reforms. So, it’s about leadership at all levels but first, who is the President of the country?
“All we need is somebody who will come and see himself as a Nigerian not an Itsekiri, Urhobo, Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba Such people are in existence but how do we get them? The system will help to get them if the system is liberalized. But it is difficult because right now, we are choked up. The country is so choked up that the people you cannot explain their characters and those who are supposed to enforce the laws are not ready to do that.
“Just look at the amount of money people are being associated with, what is he doing with the money? I don’t know whether it is right or wrong, I understand Emefiele is to refund N4 trillion, what is he doing with the money? And he holds this money and people are dying of hunger.”
Asked if mass action is the only alternative left for Nigerians to right the wrong in the electoral system as being clamoured for in some quarters, he said, “I have told you it is about leadership, the Supreme Court is there and I have told you that anything from the Supreme Court is the law. So, it is left for whoever is the Mr. President to take responsibility.
“It is not all about people trooping to the main road. This is an African country and before you know it, the government can tag you people one name and it becomes another problem that could result to something else. Look at what is happening between Israel and Hamas at Gaza, so, we have to be very careful. And anything in Nigeria now is a serious problem because the population of Nigeria can overrun the entire West Africa. So, we don’t need anything that could create avoidable problem.”
Speaking on the people’s concern about the rulings by Election Petition Tribunals and the Appeal Courts especially in Plateau, Kano and Nasarawa States, he said, “One thing that is certain and it is known to everybody is that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. It is the last bus stop for those who are distressed. From what we could see, the people are definitely complaining about the inconsistency in some of these decisions that the court is making.
“People see it with the ordinary eyes but it is only the Judge that is trained in that area that knows what he is looking for. I think this got to the level that most Judges don’t want to look at the issue of technicalities but facts of the case and then, they go straight and make their judgement It’s still part of the system they try to bring in to facilitate justice as fast as possible because most time lawyers come with different technicalities and delay cases.
“But ordinarily, one would have thought that mistakes made by court of first instance can be corrected by the second and if the second could not, then, the Supreme Court goes ahead to do it and of course, this word “Supreme” is final and when the Supreme Court makes a ruling, it becomes a law. Here again, the ordinary people see it that even the Supreme Court is not helping matters as far as they are concerned, to the extent that some people are advocating that there should be something different outside the Supreme Court, maybe, a kind of an independent Council that after the Supreme Court has finished, then, the matter can go there. But that is neither here nor there, we cannot continue to create all these bodies.
“What is important is that many of us should know that power is not given, power is taken, nobody wants to relinquish power especially in African countries. So, if you speak from now till tomorrow, APC will not understand what you are talking about because victory is sweet. Tomorrow, they may not be in the position to enjoy what they are enjoying as it were today. It becomes another person. There was a time PDP was in power and the said that they were going to remain in power for 16 years. But I think we need to run to God, this is where we are now.”
Photo: Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, founder of NNPP.
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