Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
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.
CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PDP
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.
NON-RESIGNATION OF OBASANJO 30 DAYS BEFORE CONVENTION
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
Without answers to those two questions, this non-resignation would at best an irregularity, at worst an irritation – or vice-versa.
DELEGATE CHOICES BY THE GOVERNORS
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.
ON SERIAL NUMBERS
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.
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.
CLASS ACTION SUIT
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 1983 LANDSLIDE OF NPN
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.
OBASANJO v. BUHARI
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
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
Alex Ekwueme, a former civilian vice president, had claimed that
saying that those who voted against Obasanjo would be detected.
Justice Ishak Bello, while observing that there were good grounds for
Ekwueme's lawyer, Amobi Nzelu described the verdict as "a bad ruling"
Obasanjo had obtained more than 75 percent of the votes cast by more
General elections scheduled to be held between April and May will be
The elections are considered a crucial test for Nigeria's democracy,
Copyright © 2003 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.