By Nosa Omorodion
OSAKUE Aiyevbekpen’s article in the Vanguard of 19th May titled: Edo Guber Appeal: A dance with decomposing carcass, is, to say the least, a reflection of the desperation of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to force credibility on the otherwise incredible and weird judgment of the 2016 Edo State Governorship Tribunal which was delivered in favour of the APC and its candidate Mr. Godwin Obaseki but which the petitioners, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the PDP have appealed at the Court of Appeal.
The appeal is founded on 41 solid grounds allegedly for falling short of judicial principles, precedent and the colour of justice. This is a judgment that the immediate past governor of Edo State and godfather of Godwin Obaseki, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had gleefully but shockingly described as a “Mama Akara Judgment – a qualification that has become very controversial as the definitions given by the Tribunal Chairman Justice Ahmed Badamasi in arriving at their historic albeit suspicious conclusions.
Osakue’s article is the latest in the series of emotional hypocritical appeals directed at the Appeal Court and the general public, that have been launched since the Tribunal’s verdict was read on April 14. Their leading writer – one Oteghe Adams has in the process reeled out about four articles on the same subject characterised with hypocrisy, blackmail, vilification, illogicality and falsehood.
It is very amusing that the APC, a party that came to power in Edo State courtesy of deft litigation struggles would be so unabashedly posturing towards an abrupt end to litigation in the instant case after just the first round in a three round contest guaranteed under the Constitution. But for electoral litigation under a free and fair atmosphere, there would not have been a Governor Adams Oshiomhole and perhaps, APC, as the ruling party in Edo State.
How ironical and deceptive therefore that the same people who had previously hugely benefitted from plurality of electoral litigations and are accordingly not oblivious of the bountiful opportunities that therein abound are now desperately and vehemently trying to stampede Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the PDP into opting out of their decision in going the whole hog in search for justice! Is it not sheer hypocrisy for the APC to be overtly apprehensive of further litigation at the Appeal Court? The reason for their fear is however not far-fetched.
Ironically, in trying to frame up the presumption on why Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is unrelenting in his pursuit for justice, Aiyevbekpen Osakue unwittingly betrays the fear of the APC in the present circumstance. According to Osakue, Ize-Iyamu’s persistency is predicated on the fear of desertion by his friends and supporters if he is not declared. He claims to have come to this conclusion by recalling a meeting and discussion he had with Ize-Iyamu in 2004. Osakue said Ize-Iyamu had told him of what he called the experience of former Governor Lucky Igbinedion who was deserted by his followers upon losing his first governorship election to Chief John Odigie Oyegun.
What Osakue fails to disclose as a matter of life experience is that just as Oshiomhole snatched victory from Osunbor in the courts, Osagie Ize-Iyamu could very well do same to Godwin Obaseki per adventure he goes the full legal circle. This is basically the fear that haunts the APC in the ongoing election dispute that is now before the Appeal Court and with great potential of berthing at the apex court. It follows therefore that Osakue and his APC still have a long way to travel in their delusion and apprehension.
Unfortunately, in furtherance of their propaganda against Ize-Iyamu’s resolve to pursue the case to a logical conclusion, the APC have persistently resorted to blackmail in virtually all their articles. Reiterating the blackmail in his article, Osakue says: “Pastor Osagie Andrew Ize-Iyamu expectedly rejected the Tribunal’s verdict even before delivery and against the wise counsel of one of the most revered traditional monarchies in the Southern part of Nigeria proceeded to the Appeal Court…”. Ever since the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II was reported to have made the diplomatic statement that Pastor Ize-Iyamu should accept the Tribunal’s judgment even as he forges ahead in his ambition to help develop the State, the APC, through their agents, have sought to present Ize-Iyamu’s legitimate recourse to the Appeal Court as disobedience to the Oba.
The point should clearly be made that the Oba did not and could not have asked the appellant to abandon his right. It is instructive to note, in retrospect, that prior to the Tribunal’s judgment in the governorship election dispute between Adams Oshiomhole of the APC and Oserheimen Osunbor of the PDP in 2007, Oba Erediauwa of blessed memory had similarly advised Oshiomhole who later won and dethroned Osunbor, to sheath his sword because Osunbor was doing well as governor. The Oba, it should therefore be noted, is expected to support or be seen as supporting whoever is in power at any point in time. Pushing the Oba’s regular submission to the fore of discourse as litigation continues is nothing but cheap blackmail. At any rate, it is of no consequence to the process at the Court of Appeal.
Similarly, it is crass blackmail for Osakue to have misrepresented facts when he claimed in his article that “After investing huge resources seeking to bring the judicial system to public odium and ridicule through severe and unwarranted castigation, it is ironic that the PDP still unapologetically rely on the same judiciary to review the case on appeal”. How more ridiculous can they be?