I find rather amusing, the People’s Democratic Party’s unfolding dread for petitions challenging its self-awarded victories in the recently held elections.
Most comical are the stupefying arguments an assortment of its daily bread rank and file has constructed in making the party’s case against being taken to court for very shameful electoral crimes.
Many of the party’s more irritating members have posited that no one interested in its brand of ‘development’ should be dragging its candidates to court since election “petitions will only distract elected officials from delivering on their mandates.”
The problems with this obviously idiotic objection to the rule of law are legion. In many ways it is synonymous with a notorious armed robber scolding the prosecution for filling charges against him because having to defend himself in court would distract him from mounting further robbery operations against other innocent members of the public.
Additionally, it presupposes that the ‘victories’ in contention were legitimate in the first place. Well, that is exactly why the tribunals exist. They are created to confer legitimacy on elections or withhold the same depending on the evidence before them. Anyone with a problem with election tribunals is thus only as good as the horrid vigilante who seeks the ouster of the jurisdiction of the courts, preferring rather to be prosecutor, judge, and jury in his own cause.
Similarly, revolting is the argument that the All Progressives Congress, APC, having won a majority of contests at all levels of the elections, should be satisfied with what it has achieved and let sleeping dogs lie by basically ignoring any objectionable electoral conduct on the part of the PDP, however blatantly criminal they might be.
This obviously can be likened to the kidnapper objecting to the victim pressing charges against him because the ransom collected was only a fraction of the victim’s total worth! Thus according to the logic of the PDP, anyone may legitimately be kidnapped as long as the kidnappers restrict themselves to demanding only what the victim can afford!
Another profoundly perplexing trend in the PDP is to allege that the APC was equally guilty of electoral crimes during the elections and then to surmise that as such it is only fair for each party to be allowed to keep what it was able to grab. Whether or not the APC committed such crimes is not within the capacity of the PDP to determine.
Again that is why the courts exist and nothing stopped the PDP from dragging the APC to the tribunal if indeed it genuinely believed it had a legitimate case to raise with regard to the perpetration of electoral fraud against its candidates. If you feel genuinely aggrieved, you go to court. If you can go to court but refuse to, then the legitimate assumption is that you lack a case. What is certainly bizarre is where you resort to recrimination and proceed to accuse your opponent of crimes for which you would have been better served by simply taking him to court. Indeed, this curious objection resembles a murderer objecting to answering for the crime because, according to him, the victim murdered someone else before he, in turn, slaughtered him!
The PDP has also suggested that it be allowed to keep what it presently has because the APC ought to reciprocate the “magnanimity of Goodluck Jonathan by conceding victory and Congratulating Muhammadu Buhari…” While Jonathan’s conduct is certainly commendable, it is not entitled to be rewarded by letting anyone get away with breaking the law.
This would only amount to letting the thief keep what he stole because he profusely apologized to the victim before robbing him blind! At any rate, the law strictly envisages that a political party is only entitled to the quantum of victories it legitimately acquires and no more. That the APC won at federal level does not in any way entitle the PDP to rig at state level and be allowed to keep whatever number of mandates it was able to steal.
Election petitions are a veritable tool for deepening democratic culture, strengthening institutions and reengineering society. Only kleptomaniacs and pathological election riggers should be afraid of either going to court or being taken there. Amidst the plethora of laughable objections the PDP has raised to being challenged at various tribunals is the claim that its victories are legitimate. If indeed they are, the party should welcome the opportunity of reinforcing them in court with open arms. Any reluctance to doing so immediately raises suspicions of red-handed guilt on the part of the PDP.
Jesutega Onokpasa, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Warri