By; HASSAN SANI TUKUR
The month was June, the year was 1215, the place was England and the King was John. Magna Carta, the first official document to limit the excesses of the King and his government was signed. The charter literally prevented the monarchy from exploiting power, limited their authority and formed the foundation for some constitutional individual rights in Anglo-American jurisprudence.
The events that paved way for Magna Carta were not actually desirable. A civil war, famously called ‘The First Baron War’ ensued as a result of King John’s defiance of wise counsel and refusal to be just in his rule. Faced by wanton oppression and arbitrary taxation, a group of elite Barons rose in rebellion against him. In an attempt to resolve peacefully, King John was advised by his council to be just and negotiate with the Barons to address their grievances. He refused and opted for confrontation which resulted in needless bloodletting and devastating loss of lives. In the end, after the tragedy of his making, King John was forced to negotiate and this eventually led to the signing of Magna Carta, a charter that significantly reduced not just King John’s authority but the authority of those Kings that came after him. A year later, King John died.
The events surrounding the Kano Gubernatorial legal tussle have already subjected the Nigerian Judiciary, which basically as former President Olusegun Obasanjo said, is the final arbiter of law into unwanted and quite avoidable embarrassment, obviously being as a result of the desperation of some select few, and at the detriment of the mandate of the good people of Kano, who toiled the 8 worst years since the return of the democratic dispensation. From obvious contradictions of the court verdicts: the issue of party membership which both the tribunal and court of appeal rule in a plethora of cases as pre-election matter, which electoral courts do not have jurisdiction, to a seemingly unprecedented national embarrassment that caused not just the Nigerian Judiciary shame but the whole nation. The famous incident where Court of Appeal’s pronouncement was different the verdict contained in the Certified True Copy of the judgement.
This has rightly generated different interpretations from different important personalities but all with one message, that the Court of Appeal must give a sound explanation for the embarrassment, and the courts must do right and give justice to the one whom deserves it.
The Kano case is clear as a day. The APC was defeated massively in the polls. In a saner clime, the grounds APC presented at the Tribunal would’ve been quashed momentarily and the illegal introduction of an illegal witness who never witnessed anything with regards to the conduct of the election, and the subsequent illegal court’s deduction of 165,616 of Gov. Abba’s valid votes wouldn’t have stood because INEC, the only body saddled with the responsibility of identifying whether or not ballots are valid maintained that no presiding officer in the Kano Gubernatorial Election reported invalidity with regards to the said 165,615 deducted votes.
It’s apparent that those who want to forcefully take over Kano are blinded by the ignorance of nature’s order, oblivious of the human’s persistence and perseverance to seek and attain justice and have refuse to learn from history, the ever strong spirit and resolve of Kano in resisting oppression. They are ignorant of the aftermath of the injustice they plan to mete and how it will get likeminded victims in range, regrouped and consolidated more than ever to seek and attain justice.
Like George Santayana said, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”. If there is anything to hold on to as a lesson in Nigeria’s democracy since the return of democratic dispensation in 1999 is how the mighty fell, the rise and fall of the once powerful PDP. The power and authority they wielded. The resources garnered. The prospect of the nation at that moment and finally, the eventual ouster in 2015 as a result of a coming together of a formidable, unstoppable force, the APC merger. The human desire to persevere and fight back in the face of injustice has always been the same. The same spirit the paved way for Magna Carta in the medieval times is the one that brought about the mantra of Change in 2015. The goal of the elite barons in England that rose against King John is the same goal that brought ANPP, CPC and ACN together which is the collective mission to stand against the oppressor. This phenomenon, human ability to stand against oppression will exist till the end of time.
“We don’t need favours, we need justice”, this is what Ladipo Johnson, Presidential Campaign Spokesperson said at the UN embassy while protesting the unjust verdict of the court of appeal. It’s the thing Former President meant when he cautioned the judiciary not to overturn the decision and mandate of millions of voters in Kano, Zamfara and Plateau. It’s the same with statements from Attahiru Jega, Femi Falana, Chidi Odinkalu, Olumide Akpata and many Nigerians alike who believe the greatest tragedy that could afflict Nigeria is a situation where there is distrust and total lost of confidence in the Judiciary. When that happens, anarchy looms.
“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst” – Aristotle
Hassan Sani Tukur is the
Senior Special Assistant on New Media to HE Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf