By Tai Emeka Obasi.
Both the holy Bible and holy Quran preach Heaven and none acknowledges lying as part of the requirements. But let’s keep God’s Heaven aside and dwell on man’s Integrity.
When the Owelle of Onitsha, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was wrongly rumoured to have passed on, Chief K. O. Mbadiwe wrote a tribute thus, “Glory has left the shores of our father land.” Though this was premature but that stuck in my memory.
I cast my mind to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal as the judgment must happen this week and recall that Mbadiwe’s short but concise tribute to slightly rephrase thus ‘Honour Has Left The Shores Of Our Father Land.”
Universities do award honorary doctorate degrees but never honorary professorship. A professor is simply meant to be intellectually above board. It is in this line of intellectual prominence that Nigeria decided to laden the burden of electoral umpires on the shoulders of our revered professors.
The issue is – should an intellectually above board individual lie to a nation in matters of such national issues as important as electioneering? Besides the chairman, all other Resident Electoral Commissioners are university professors. Every turn of the electoral body has a university professor manning the gate.
Apart from Professor Humphrey Nwosu, it is difficult to single out any other of these our so-called intellectually above board professionals who showed any sign of honour when their electoral conduct brought dear country into global scrutiny.
In that context, the worst hit is our present Professor Mahmoud Yakubu. The current INEC chairman has given birth to a new dimension of unreliability by creating two worlds for himself and his body – The Tribunal World and The Free World.
In Prof Yakubu’s Tribunal world, INEC has no and never had a server. In his Free world, INEC has a server but did not use it for the election. The other version is that they used it but only as a pilot that shouldn’t be relied upon for final collation and pronouncement of result.
And by such elementary lie, Prof Yakubu turned INEC, President Mohammadu Buhari and indeed Nigeria into a global laughing stock.
But the lies surrounding the last presidential election didn’t stop with Yakubu and his INEC.
Sometimes I wonder what is LEARNED about many lawyers. Should a learned gentleman live by lies? Starting with Buhari’s lead counsel Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN to all the other senior advocates paid to save the president, it was lie gallore at the Tribunal.
The INEC lead counsel, Yunus Usman, SAN, flagged it all off by telling the court without blinking that INEC never had a server. To make his lie stick he never presented any witness for cross-examination.
Olanipekun followed suit, lying to the court that Buhari has the certificates he claimed under oath that he had. But unlike Usman, Olanipekun knew he must present witnesses to back Buhari’s claims. And in doing so, cross-examination laid the certificate lies very bare in court.
Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN having seen how Olanipekun’s lies were unmasked, quickly copied Usman by literarily abandoning his lies that his party, APC freely and fairly won the election. He presented No document. No witness.
And it didn’t even stop there. Beyond the confines of the court the lies continued. Many people say the present Information Minister is a master of the art of lying and deception. And Chief Lai Mohammed is not doing much to disprove this school of thought when he told the world on Channels television that after 53 years, that Nigerians should forgive Buhari for not knowing where he kept his certificates. By so doing, the minister was trying to divert attention and make lightweight of a super heavyweight of a perjury case.
Down to the judges, who are referred to as “Lords”. Can a Lord in the real meaning of the word give an incorrect judgement when the facts have been laid bare? Can a judge, who passed through all routes of excellence to ascend to such enviable position lie to the nation and the watching world by delivering a defective judgement?
Somebody said our judiciary is on trial and I can’t agree less. I can only add that never before has our nation needed heroes than this very moment. None exists in the Presidency. The Legislator either lacks the will or in evident bondage.
The Judiciary is the only arm left to raise heroes at this very perilous time in our chequered history. If they decide to continue the lying spree and save Buhari, our nation will continue to sink with them in it. If they decide to be courageous and deliver equitable justice, then they will enter hall of fame as the direly needed heroes and be appropriately celebrated all over the world and long into history.
It may not be so easy to ignore the rumoured blackmail, threats and inducements from an extremely desperate presidency but in their shoes, honour, integrity and the good of the nation should be their propeller.
The choice is still theirs as…