7th July, 2010
Adejare Bello, the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, may be undistinguished, but whatever he lacks in accomplishment, he makes up for in loutishness. He is no doubt one of the most obvious indications of all that is wrong with our democracy, particularly the brazen electoral larceny and the disingenuous defence of same that have become the norm since the PDP started stealingÂ the elections in the southwest of Nigeria in 2003.
One could dismiss Belloâ€™s recent tirade against the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in the 2007 elections in Osun State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, as the outburst of a confused politician who is holding a stolen seat in the State House of Assembly. Upon close analysis, Belloâ€™s shameful mix of ill-will, ignorance, potential criminality and the anti-democratic mindset that have seized Osun State are evident. Within the context of the fact that Adejareâ€™s election is still being contested in court as a stolen mandate, his vituperations become even more bewildering.
Recently, Bello disgraced his office by using the language of the sewer in describing the legitimate actions of Aregbesola in the temple of justice since his sacred mandate was stolen by Mr. Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the PDP. Stated the morally-challenged Bello: â€œAregbesola would never become the governor of Osun State. I curse him because he made the state ungovernable for Governor Oyinlola in the last three years. He has caused a lot of distractions. Can you see that the state was not the same for the governor in the last three years? Now, he has gone to the Court of Appeal after losing at the tribunal, and if the Appeal Court calls for a re-run of the election, Aregbesola would just be giving Oyinlola another fresh four years as a bonus. Look at Baba Akande, he just left the office when he found out that he had been defeated and he did not bother to contest his defeat in court,Â but Aregbesola is troublesomeâ€ (Emphasis added).
But not done with his illogic, Bello continued: â€œI am a Muslim just like him and by that sentiment, I ought to have supported his ambition to rule the state, but he just could not contend with faith which ask us to accept any situation befallen us [sic] by fate and by that, I curse him that he will never become governor of this state.Â AC AS A PARTY MAY TAKE OVER THE GOVERNMENT, BUT AREGBESOLA WOULD NEVER BECOME A GOVERNOR IN THIS STATEâ€ (All emphasis added).
There are several issues that arise from the appalling conclusions of Bello. It is important to clarify these issues for the sake of the long-suffering people of Osun State, who have had to suffer the strictures of an illegitimate, morally-derelict and visionless, ramshackle government headed by Olagunsoye Oyinlola for over seven years now.
First, I will deal with the legal aspects of Belloâ€™s twaddle, and the ways in which it ignores salient issues of law, justice, equity and democratic rights. Following that, I will explain the political dimensions of the issues that are raised by his outrage and how those have led to the continued devastation in Osun State under Oyinlolaâ€™s illegitimate administration. Lastly, I will show how the words of the illegitimate speaker of the largely illegitimate House of Assembly – because most of the PDP members of the House are there on account of stolen votes – betray the gaping vacuity of his mind. Thirteen (13) of the eighteen (18) seats which the PDP currently holds in the state assembly are still being contested in court by the AC candidates.
Why is Aregbesola fighting â€“ or, in the words of Bello, causing â€œa lot of distractionsâ€ in the last three years? There are three words that totally encapsulate the raison dâ€™Ãªtre of Aregbesolaâ€™s battle: Democracy, Justice and Equity.
Those who come to equity, the age-long aphorism has it, must come with clean hands. How can Adejare Bello, who himself is a current beneficiary of stolen votes, be engaging in a discussion about what is right and fair? As he spoke, Bello is still contending with a legal challenge of his seat by the AC candidate whose mandate was stolen in Ede North Local Government Area by Bello. The AC candidate Alhaji Debo Kamardeen Akanbi has told the courts – and, he has shown documentary evidence to this effect – that Bello was not only a beneficiary of an electoral theft, but that he personally and actively participated in the intimidation, threats and actual use of violence against opposition party agents, particularly those of the AC during the elections on April 14, 2007. In fact, a few AC members were murdered during this process. Adejare Bello personally wielding gun, led a band of hoodlums among whom were armed mobile police men who literally held Ede North hostage, virtually disrupted the election in the constituency and with the connivance of INEC simply allocated votes to himself. This is evident in the eleven INEC Forms EC8B for the eleven wards in the constituency; the certified true copies of which are exhibits before the court that were all signed by a single PDP agent! Bello is obviously the beneficiary of a dubious electoral â€œvictoryâ€ obtained through sheer banditry and shedding of innocent blood.
But Belloâ€™s electoral heist was only part of a larger theft by the PDP in the state elections. Is this the man talking about fairness? How could such a wicked beneficiary of a stolen mandate dripping with the blood of the innocent be criticizing a man seeking justice through the process of civilized adjudication of public, political matters in a modern society?
Therefore, Belloâ€™s case forms one dimension of the criminal collusion between INEC and the PDP to declare Oyinlola as the winner of the 2007 governorship election. Unquestionably, Aregbesola won the 2007 governorshipÂ election in Osun State. Oyinlola and Bello, more than any other person, knows this, but have decided to continue to deceive the public so as to keep the proceeds of their electoral theft. As the Appeal Court earlier indicated when it threw out the scandalous conclusions of the Justice Naron-led tribunal that handed â€œvictoryâ€ to Oyinlola, justice was not served by the first process of the judicial review of the legal challenge mounted by Aregbesola to reclaim his stolen mandate.
Faced with another scandalous set of conclusions by the newly-constituted tribunal about the same elections, Aregbesola has returned to the higher temple of justice, to pursue the legal and peaceful retrieval of his mandate. This is what is driving Bello, his handlers and other hirelings mad. What crime did Aregbesola commit which attracted the vitriolic attack from Bello? How can Aregbesola be guilty of â€œdistractionâ€ for seeking justice and equity in the law courts and not taking the laws into his own hands? Must a bona fide citizen and legitimate candidate be denied his constitutional right to seek redress and justice over a mandate freely and fairly given to him by the people of Osun State? Who should be â€œcursedâ€-Â the man seeking legal redress for his stolen mandate, that is, Aregbesola, or the beneficiary of the theft, that is, Oyinlola?
For the avoidance of doubt, Aregbesola has conducted the most methodical, the most sophisticated and the most thorough legal challenge to electoral theft in the history of Nigeria. There is no doubt that history would eventually acknowledge this after victory has been won. The use of scientific evidence, including forensic science, computer analysis of ballots and INEC forms, physical examination of election materials and systematic and logical time-analysis, among others, by his legal team, so astounded the defence team of Oyinlola that one of his lawyers resorted to exchanging scandalous text messages with the assumed adjudicators of the case in the first (mis-)trial.
Were elections validly held according to the electoral laws in the local government areas in which the AC is contesting the results? No! If the evidence of several witnesses could be pretentiously dismissed as â€œhear-sayâ€, what about documentary evidence? In Ife Central, one Alhaji Nafiu, a PDP official, signed the INEC Form EC8B as the partyâ€™s agent in 9 out of 11 wards! How could one man be an agent simultaneously in 9 wards when the form was supposed to be signed by one party agent per ward? This criminality fetched Oyinlola a dubious 53,882 votes in Ife Central local government area. In Ife East, using scientific time-analysis, all the votes cast in the local government would mean that the voters spent an average time of 20 seconds each to cast their votes. Only in one polling booth did the voters spend an average of 2 minutes. The total votes in the local government came to a fake 35, 574 votes.
There is nowhere in the world, even in the most sophisticated systems – not to talk of Nigeria â€“ where a voter can perform the whole process from accreditation to casting ballot in less than five minutes – in the least. So, ordinary time-analysis, that is by dividing the number of votes purportedly returned for the election and the number of minutes between 8 am when statutorily voting was to start till 3 pm (420 minutes) when voting was to end, would show that the PDP and Osun State INEC are confident, but unimaginative and cheap electoral tricksters.
â€¢Adewale Akinogun writes in from Osogbo, Osun State, South-West, Nigeria.