The PDP Suit : Ekwueme v Obasanjo


Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues




October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



LUNARPAGES.COM and IPOWERWEB.COM - Despicable WebHosts - Read My Story




The PDP Suit of Dr. Ekwueme v. President Obasanjo




Mobolaji E. Aluko Ph.D

Burtonsville, MD, USA


Monday, February 10, 2003




With all due respect, I really do not understand how Dr. Ekwueme

expected to win this case based on his triple complaints of:


    (i)  non-resignation 30 days before the convention;

   (ii)  delegates choices/distribution by state governors;

  (iii)  serial numbering on ballot papers.





But first things first:  As Chairman of the board of Trustees, he was in a particular vantage point to suggest/look over nomination rules, regulations and procedures.  However, because he was not initially interested in the presidential nomination, he slept on his rights.  Just as a previous judge had ruled that Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme waited too long AFTER the convention to file his complaint in court, another judge would have ruled later on that he waited too long BEFORE the convention to positively affect the process.


There is a third curious timing objection:  Dr. Ekwueme knew virtually all his objections AT THE TIME OF HIS OWN PARTICIPATION at the convention, including voting for himself, as expected.  He should, like the Southern ANPP candidates did against Buhari, have pulled out at the convention JUST before the voting.





There seems to be no disagreement about this irregularity.  The reasonable questions are the following: where there ANY meetings of the Executive Council of PDP held within those 30 days, and were decisions made  during that period which CLEARLY favored the accused? 


Without answers to those two questions, this non-resignation would at best an irregularity, at worst an irritation – or vice-versa.





One of the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of the local government elections brouhaha back in May-August 2002 was the fact that the governors have since had in place their own people as members of the LG caretaker committees.  All the previous maneuverings of the PDP Executive + National Assembly leadership were two-fold:  (i)  to delay the LG elections until AFTER the PDP presidential convention (so that Obasanjo/PDP popularity would not be "tested" in the South-West, where   AD would almost certainly still retain its gargantuan lead), and (ii)  if the extension of the LGs had been successful, to curry the favor of the councilors in such a manner that they could have been used as a sword of Damocles over the heads of the state governors, who before then were asserting some airs over Obasanjo and the National Assembly.


A Supreme Court ruling came down hard:  the National Assembly has no business extending the LG councils tenure nor the INEC in setting their election dates:  that is the sole province of the state assemblies.


INEC then struck with its trump card:  with no revised voter registration, and with  to-be-registered parties conveniently breathing down its neck, there could be no new LG elections right away!


As it was, the LG non-elections were a 50-50 enterprise:  Obasanjo was able to delay the LG elections in such a manner now that we don't even know when those elections will now hold, and with the no-extension policy, the overwhelming majority of the state assemblies enabled the state governors to choose their own people - including states in which previously the LGs were controlled by parties opposing the governors!  Now he chose his own party people - or at best "neutral" people.


The rest is history:  nary a person is talking about new local government elections now!


Therefore the shenanigans of the PDP party of which Dr. Ekwueme was Chairman of its board of trustees led to a situation where the President and the governors became local mob (?) electoral bosses, able to determine from the local government up who of them would go to the convention.  This included not only the ministers and advisers of the President, but also the commissioners and advisers of the governors.


In short, the delegates had been packed in the favor of some people BEFORE the election, and had this packing been in favor of Dr. Ekwueme, he obviously would not have been objecting now.


Consequently, he must come to equity with clean hands.





Dr. Ekwueme's second charge was that there were serial numbers on ballot papers, hence these could be used/were used to intimidate those who might vote AGAINST Obasanjo.


Excuse me?


First, all ballot papers IN THE WORLD have serial numbers, that is some kind of identification mark for EACH PARTICULAR VOTER to differentiate him or her from another voter.  In fact, it is a recipe against fakery, because no two ballot papers should have the same serial number.  So obviously to have serial numbers on ballot papers is not the problem, and it is even not an issue that would probably come up when discussing an electoral balloting process.  There was therefore no POSITIVE ruling AGAINST serial numbers by the PDP Constitution that Dr. Ekwueme could complain about.


However, to retain the serial number in the voting box AFTER the vote has been cast is the problem that Dr. Ekwueme has.  In order to obviate that ABUSABLE procedure - in the sense that the process could conceivably no longer be a secret ballot – it would require a ballot paper design which enables the voter to CUT OFF the head of the ballot paper JUST BEFORE - and only JUST BEFORE - casting the ballot.  What drops INTO the ballot box therefore should have NO SERIAL NUMBER on it.  That cut-off head - which would still have the serial number on it - could either be retained by the voter (as a certification of his voting) or by the voting officials (again, as a certification). Who retains the cut-off head would depend on the pre-registration procedure.


One hopes that this ballot design is what is adopted in ALL upcoming elections in Nigeria.





Secondly, did Dr. Ekwueme bring to court those who asserted that they were INTIMIDATED by Obasanjo/party operatives, BEFORE the voting, and that they actually felt SUFFICIENTLY INTIMIDATED to switch their voting in his favor DURING the voting?  More importantly, since AFTER the voting, have the people who voted against Obasanjo been INTIMIDATED in any way?


Maybe if he brought in that array of witnesses, he might have had a chance in court, but not before he did that, or without doing so.





Thirdly, the same argument that I had against Chief Obafemi Awolowo when he all by himself took on Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979 is what I have against Dr. Ekwueme in this suit against Obasanjo in 2003: this should have been a class-action suit brought by Ekwueme, Rimi and Gemade, and not by Ekwueme alone, just as Chief Awolowo should have gone together with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mallam Aminu Kano and Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim to the Supreme Court against Shagari, and not by himself. 


The argument is as follows:  First not all who voted for Obasanjo felt intimidated, and more importantly, there is ABSOLUTELY no legal proof that those who were intimidated to vote FOR OBASANJO would have voted for Dr. Ekwueme, since there were two other candidates!    Therefore, serial numbers or no serial numbers, Dr. Ekwueme has no proof, first that Obasanjo would not have won, and secondly there is absolutely no proof, that even if Obasanjo had not won, he, Dr. Ekwueme, would have won!  Therefore the two possible reliefs that he sought - nullification of the results and/or award of the results in his favor as the second highest vote-getter - could certainly not have been granted SPECIFICALLY to him.


Had it been a class-action suit, it is possible that the present so-called “bad ruling” which admitted that the process was "marred" would have led to a nullification that favored ALL the other candidates TOGETHER.





The reader is reminded that Dr. Ekwueme was Vice-President to President Shehu Shagari from 1979 - 1983 (first term), and then from October 1 - December 31 1983, following a monstrous rigging of the presidential elections in August 1983.  I heard no complaints from Dr. Ekwueme then - or since.  Ironically, December 31, 1983 saw present ANPP candidate, then General Muhammadu Buhari, use a "gunslide" approach to terminate the NPN government in a military coup that saw the beginning of 16 years of dark military rule: IBB-(Abiola/June 12)-Sonekan-Abacha-Abubakar followed, before ending up with Obasanjo in a grand compromise – to the Yoruba and to the “regime militaire ancien”.


Need I continue with the request once again to come to equity with clean hands?


I won't, despite your insistence.





So, sans my Democratic Alternative coalition suggestion, the coast is now clear for the titanic battle between incumbent President General Matthew Aremu Obasanjo of PDP and retired General Muhammadu Buhari of ANPP – hopefully on April 19, 2003 if Christians do not object strongly enough to the disruption of our Easter celebrations.


Have a good week.





Monday Quarterbacking: On the Electoral Law 2001, Election Re-Ordering and LG Tenure

Mobolaji E. Aluko; December 17, 2001

Sunday Musings: INEC Finally Passes Some Constitutional Tests

Mobolaji E. Aluko,  December 29, 2002

NIGERIAN ELECTIONS 2003:   Update 002:  Obasanjo 2642, The Rest   837

Mobolaji E. Aluko, January 6, 2003

Sunday Musings: The 2003 Presidential Elections - The Militicians vs the Civilians

Mobolaji E. Aluko, January 19, 2003

Presidential candidates

Gubernatorial candidates






Court Strikes Out Case Against Obasanjo

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks


 February 10, 2003



 A court in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Monday struck out a suit challenging President Olusegun Obasanjo's nomination as the candidate of the ruling party.


 Alex Ekwueme, a former civilian vice president, had claimed that Obasanjo's election at the 5 January People's Democratic Party (PDP primaries violated party regulations. He also alleged that ballot papers were numbered by party officials who intimidated delegates by

saying that those who voted against Obasanjo would be detected.


 Justice Ishak Bello, while observing that there were good grounds for the suit, agreed with the president's counsel that it was marred by procedural errors. "I therefore agree that the case cannot be heard and  strike it out," Bello declared.


 Ekwueme's lawyer, Amobi Nzelu described the verdict as "a bad ruling" and said he would file an appeal. "In one breath he was saying we had grounds to challenge the nomination and then he turned around to say the suit cannot be entertained," he said.


 Obasanjo had obtained more than 75 percent of the votes cast by more than 3,000 delegates against Ekwueme's 17 percent. Two other contestants scored less than two percent each.


 General elections scheduled to be held between April and May will be the first since the 1999 vote that brought Obasanjo to office and ended more than 15 years of military rule. A total of 30 political parties have been registered for the polls.


 The elections are considered a crucial test for Nigeria's democracy, coming after a period in which the country has been wracked by ethnic and religious violence that has claimed thousands of lives.


  Copyright © 2003 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks




horizontal rule

© 1999 - 2006 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to  legal recourse.


Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 710080, HERNDON, VA  20171-0080, USA.

This page was last updated on 10/27/07.