For three years, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, were in various courts in the country, defending what they believe were their right. At the end of the day, the two men were vindicated as the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, has now cleared them, and declared them victorious over their opponents.
Prominent citizens from across the length and breadth of the country have hailed the Supreme Court’s verdict, and believed that the two men would now concentrate in their respective duties, since the court issue had posed some unnecessary distractions.
That of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, even took a longer period. It was a pre-election issue, something that happened before he was elected governor in February 2015. One of his fellow contestants at the party’s gubernatorial primaries, Senator Ayogu Eze, had refused to accept the decision of their political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was the duly nominated candidate to fly its flag to contest the main election. He thus decided to go to court, to challenge decision of their party, the PDP, to nominate Ugwuanyi as its candidate for the election.
All entreaties and overtures allegedly made to Senator Eze to drop the matter were said to have been rebuffed as he continued to go from one court to the other in search of victory, but none would agree with him. In the end, Senator Eze found himself at the Supreme Court, which has now dismissed the case as an “abuse of court process”, and awarded one million cost against him. There, the matter ends.
This is very excellent so that Governor Ugwuanyi, who has already been endorsed for second term in office by virtually all segments of stakeholders in Enugu State, can now concentrate with the good works he is doing in the state.
For Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his own case was a tortuous one. Saraki went against the decision of his own political party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, to contest the Senate Presidency, which he later won.
The party was not happy about it. They asked him to resign, but he refused. Thereupon, he was declared an enemy, an unwanted man.
By the time you know it, Saraki was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, that he lied or did not properly declare his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau. Each time the case would come before the tribunal, Saraki must be physically present, seated in the dock. It was a sorry sight to behold the Number Three man in the country, sitting in the dock like a common criminal.
Apart from the humiliation, the ultimate aim of those behind the arraignment was to get Saraki convicted so that he would forcibly vacate the Senate Presidency seat. But they did not succeed since the Supreme Court has now vindicated him.
With this victory, Saraki will now begin to talk tough and to act tough against his traducers. Let’s watch few days ahead.
Even though that both Ugwuanyi and Saraki have won their respective cases at the Supreme Court, we are however not amused by the delay in securing justice from our courts. Why should it take a whole long period of three years for our courts to establish the truth or otherwise in these two cases? They say justice delayed, is justice denied.
Apart from the psychological trauma, the anxiety and uncertainty suffered by the people involved as well as their supporters, there are also other issues of huge financial cost of paying the lawyers handling the cases as well the hundreds of man hours often lost each time the case would come up in court.
In the case of the Senate President, for instance, we observed that each time his case was to come up before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the entire Senate would shut down as the senators would all be at the tribunal to identify with their leader, give him emotional support and solidarity.
We sincerely pray that our courts will look at these critical issues and rise to the challenge.
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