God bless human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu. Her type is rare to find, especially in Nigeria where truth is a scarce commodity. This woman has consistently stood for truth, fairness and equity in most of her interventions in Nigerian affairs. It was this same philosophy that propelled her response to the recent verbal vomit by a certain Shehu Mahdi, a tribal bigot.
In a disgusting video, Mahdi was heard admonishing northern Christians not to vote for Mr. Peter Obi in the 2023 presidential election. His reason is that Obi as a southerner will not take care of their interest; that if Igbo are killing northerners in the South, they will not discriminate between northern Muslims and northern Christians. Calling Obi a die-hard Biafran, Mahdi said a vote for him was a vote for Biafra. He said some other unprintable things aimed at convincing northern Christians to turn their back against Obi in particular and the South in general.
It was the late Indian statesman, Mahatma Ghandi, who said he would not let anyone walk through his mind with their dirty feet. Yesufu refused to allow Mahdi and his ilk walk through her mind with their dirty feet. Scanning through Mahdi’s deceit, she urged northern Christians to ask Mahdi whether Deborah was not northern enough! Recall that Miss Deborah Yakubu, a 22-year-old student, was stoned to death in Sokoto earlier this year by her school mates for alleged blasphemy. Yesufu also wondered where people like Mahdi were when the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, chose a fellow Muslim to be his deputy. Where were they when Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State also chose a fellow Muslim to be his deputy despite protests by Christians? What did they do when Christians in Kaduna, Plateau, Benue and some other places in the North were being killed by herdsmen?
A leader like Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto, united all northerners during his time as Premier of northern Nigeria. Then, northerners could boast of being monolithic. But, can we still say the same thing today with the current crop of leaders we have in the North?
Mahdi and co. know what they are doing. They want to deploy lies and half truths to de-market Obi. I wonder why they are having nightmares about someone who doesn’t have structure like they claimed; someone who is purportedly a social media creation. Rather than discuss what they can do to deliver Nigeria from the bondage of misrule, insecurity and economic stagnation, they have busied themselves fighting to pull down a man whom God has anointed.
Look at the way things are falling into pleasant places for him. Without any inducement, youths across different states of the federation have engaged in crowd-pulling rallies to drum support for him. Even when the police tried to scuttle the rally in Ebonyi State by shooting tear gas to disperse people, they reorganised and continued their march. In a similar rally in Abuja last Saturday, a newly-wedded couple, still in their wedding attire, joined to the delight of the huge crowd of supporters.
There is a plan to stage a similar rally in Lagos on October 1. But some nine lawyers went to court to stop it. I don’t know the interest they are pursuing, but let’s watch and see as the court has adjourned the case to September 28.
Obi is a child of destiny. Most times, he speaks off the cuff. Whenever he does so, his traducers will scrutinize it word for word. Even if his speech is clear, they twist it to suit their purpose. He spoke to CNN recently. They started looking for loopholes.
Due to his great speeches and suggested practical solutions to our problems, everywhere he goes, he is warmly received. At the last Nigeria Bar Association annual general conference in Lagos, for instance, lawyers from different ethnic and religious persuasions rose in unison to chant his praises.
Naturally, these expressions of love for Obi have attracted jealousy and undue attacks on his person. I am aware that a certain political party is not comfortable with his rising profile. Its game plan now is to hire crowd who will hail its candidate in any event he is to appear with Obi.
Besides, spokesmen and hirelings of the ruling party have made Obi both the subject and object of their campaigns. The other day, the former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, falsely claimed he couldn’t tackle insecurity in Anambra State when he was governor. It was on record that Obi made Anambra too hot for kidnappers and sundry bandits like Evans. When he started demolishing the property of anyone associated with kidnapping, they all ran away from the state. In fact, the then Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar Mohammed, in 2011, named Anambra under obi the safest state in Nigeria.
His traducers have tried to link him with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It has not worked. They have scrutinized him in and out but found nothing incriminating. Hence, they have vowed to manufacture incredible tales against him and make them look real by attributing them to some credible newspapers. There was this particular false story about a certain young woman who accused him of forcing her to engage in drug peddling and using her as a sex toy. The Sun newspaper was said to have published it. It happens to be a figment of the imagination of the hired writer as The Sun never published such fiction. The way things are going, I won’t be surprised if a woman somewhere misses her period tomorrow and accuses Obi of being responsible.
Unfortunately for them, whoever is pursuing a chick will always stumble and fall while the chick will always scamper away unscathed. Recently, Atedo Peterside’s ANAP Foundation commissioned a credible poll agency, NOI polls Limited, to conduct a nationwide opinion poll to determine the leading presidential candidate among those jostling to rule Nigeria in 2023. Interestingly, Obi came first with 21 per cent of voters proposing to vote for him if the election were to be conducted today. The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the APC candidate, Tinubu, came joint second with 13 per cent of voters proposing to vote for them. The candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, came a distant fourth with three per cent of voters proposing to vote for him. Daily Trust newspaper ran a similar poll. It returned even a better result for Obi against the other candidates. As expected, they dismissed the result of the poll. I have a feeling that soon, they will manufacture their own poll result and circulate it as the authentic one.
But, no deception lasts forever. As presidential candidates and their parties officially commence campaigns on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, Nigerians will begin to separate the wheat from the chaff. They will expect to see fireworks in terms of healthy debates among the candidates on what they intend to do for Nigeria.
They will want to know the magic each of the candidates will conjure to tackle the spate of insecurity in the country. They want to see how these presidential hopefuls will fix our comatose economy. Inflation has climbed to an all-time high of over 20 per cent. Unemployment has surged to over 33 per cent. Poverty has engaged almost 100 million Nigerians in an unprofitable partnership. Education and health sectors are in a shambles. Almost everything has turned upside down. We expect other presidential candidates to tell us how they will tackle these problems, not how to fight Obi.
The often quoted words of the famous Emperor of Ancient Rome, Marcus Aurelius, comes handy here: “When a bunch of known corrupt people unite against one man and spare no effort to ridicule him, blackmail him and attempt to assassinate his character, blindly follow that one man!”
Re: Incompetent judge is a danger to 2023 polls
The Constitution of Nigeria recommends 21 Justices for the Supreme Court, but sadly the apex court currently has only 13 Justices who are saddled with the humongous workload of adjudicating over thousands of criminal and civil appeals. I do not understand why the Supreme Court should be short of even a single Justice for one day let alone months and years. Is it that there’s a shortage of qualified Justices from both the Appeal and High Courts to fill the vacant spaces? Since the NJC has foreclosed the appointment of Justices for the apex court from the Bar, especially from the academia and body of SANs, they should always fill the vacant spaces at the Supreme Court by picking from the pool of Justices at the Courts of Appeal on the basis of merit instead of quota system. The Supreme Court should be exempted from this quota stuff because it’s the apogee of justice dispensation on earth. It’s the final court where the fate of a convict is determined, especially on a criminal or capital matter. Quota system Justices at the apex court are dangerous because they may sentence innocent appellants to death in error due to gross incompetence.
-Ifeanyi Maduako, Owerri, +234 806 156 2735
Dear Casy, behind every successful democracy is the strong Judiciary. The extent to which this dictum holds water is exemplified in the cases below, to wit:- (1)the Rotimi Amaechi Guber debacle where the Supreme Court amputated the fangs of some PDP stalwarts that were behind the mindless imposition of candidates which eventually favoured Rotimi Amechi. (2) the Peter Obi tenure determination that gave some hope in our Judiciary and torpedoed the treacherous plans of those who, then, wanted to take Anambra State as a ‘settlement item’. (3) the Zamfara State judicial ‘tsunami’ at the Supreme Court that swept away the beneficiaries of APC’s factional party primaries. The judges in the above-mentioned matters, the likes of Justice Kutigi, who demonstrated judicial activism with guts and gusto, are what 2023 elections need as judicial contributions towards sanitizing and salvaging our dear country, Nigeria. The grace of God that is in the shockwaves pervading our political space today shall not permit incompetent judges who are nothing but purveyors of travesty of justice, into the political fray in 2023.
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Casmir, are judges at certain levels of service in the judiciary incompetent or they are made incompetent via corruption? When compromised – by ‘filthy lucre’ – they ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’. Such people capitalise on the weak financial status of some of these judges or their greed (insatiable lust for wealth)! In Nigeria, justice is not blind! Its eyes are clear and wide open enough to recognise its pay masters! Sometimes, justice is delivered on the basis of nepotism vis-a-vis tribe and religion. Judges should be professional in dispensing justice. The President must display integrity too.
-Mike, Mushin Lagos, +234 816 111 4572
Dear Casmir, for there to be justice, effort should be made to capture national conscience, fair play and fear of the law in lawyers before appointing them judges. Where there’s justice there’s remedy. If blood is thicker than water, justice is ticket than blood.
– Cletus Frenchman, Enugu, +234 909 538 5215
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, September 26, 2022.