By Abdullahi Abdulrahman
President Goodluck Azikiwe Ebele Jonathan has often affirmed his commitment to upholding the only enviable legacy left by his former boss, the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua, which is the rule of law. When former Bayelsa state Governor, Timipreye Sylva, altered the results of the primaries that produced the 2011 candidates for seats in the state House of Assembly, Federal House of Representatives and the Senate, a lot of complaints were published which the President as a democratic man listened to respected and acted positively at last.
However, the issue that is now threatening to tarnish the image and reputation of the Jonathan administration is the Kogi state governorship tussle. Akintola Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, recently argued that INEC was wrong in recognizing the election of Waza, What was the platform on which the election was conducted? Was it the primary election that was knocked off by the Supreme Court judgement of February? The Supreme Court held that Idris’ tenure ended on May 29 2011. It means the primaries were a nullity. There was a primary election held in March, 2011 before Idris went to court to argue that his tenure should be extended. If the Supreme Court held that Idris’ tenure ended on May 29, 2011, it means then that the primaries that were held after the expiration of Idris’ tenure ought not to have been held. “To my mind, it is the candidate that won the March 2011 primaries that ought to have been considered. The election that produced Wada is not right. In any case, it is a mute point that the court has to clear”, said Akeredolu. The candidate being referred to by the SAN was no other than Echocho, but Echocho too was no longer a candidate as affirmed by Farouk Adejoh, Director, Public Affairs and Strategy to former Governor Idris who faulted the claim that Echocho had a subsisting ticket. Adejoh said that by participating in the new governorship primaries held last September, Echocho had surrendered his mandate. “I don’t think he has any issue to pursue; Echocho actually voided his own nomination and expression of interest form. He was screened and cleared for a fresh primary. He contested that primary and lost before squealing that he was standing by the result of the March primaries that he won. The truth is he had surrendered that mandate. This simply implies that the PDP had no candidate at all”.
I demand that, as a matter of urgency, the abnormality in Kogi state should be corrected by asking the PDP to relinquish power to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) whose are watching and waiting to see the firm reaction of President Jonathan as someone who believes in Yar’adua’s only left legacy: rule of law.
Dr. Abdullahi Abdulrahman is the President, Justifiable Democracy Platform, Nigeria