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As judiciary casts its own vote

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As judiciary casts its own vote

“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The primary function of a judge is to interpret and apply the law not make it. The making of law is reserved for another arm in the doctrine of separation of powers which runs conspicuously in a democracy. Nigeria has been in this democratic journey epileptically since 1999. The three arms of government were actually institutionalized to compliment and check one another for growth and development bearing in mind that a deficiency in one automatically robs off on the other.

Since 1999 the three arms of government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary have all performed below average. In all, judiciary is seen more as the conscience of the rest because of its revered and strategic position that allows it take the final decision when there is a dispute in the system. What it means is that the judiciary more than the other two is supposed to be above board, no wonder it’s regarded as the last hope of the downtrodden in the society. A nation with a sick judiciary is a ruined nation.

Yesterday September 11, 2019 was a special day for the country’s judiciary. It was the day the nation’s judiciary took one of the most critical decisions in country’s political life. Before yesterday, September 11 had emerged as an international date although from negative point of view. On this day in 2001 the world was visibly shaken to its foundation as the then emerging new brand of crime called terrorism took a strange and dangerous dimension. A group of religious fundamentalists led and directed by a Saudi Arabian terror kingpin Bin Ladan coordinated four terrorist attacks on the United States that brought down  the twin building housing the World Trade Centre in New York, easily the tallest building in that country killing over 3,000 persons drawn from over 50 counties of the globe. Since then 18 years down the line the date has remained a day to remember

For Nigeria yesterday became a significant day not for any act of terrorism but for judicial rascality that has stood the nation’s polity on its head. The five-man 2019 Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) headed by Justice Garba Mohammad delivered its ruling on the petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in February 23, 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, the PDP against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his own party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Before Wednesday’s ruling the lead counsel of Atiku and PDP, Dr. Livy Uzokwu (SAN) had told Nigerians through the media that the outcome of the tribunal was going to affect the country’s jurisprudence significantly one way or the other. Which way for you readers will depend on how you perceive Wednesday’s ruling of the Presidential election tribunal.

Earlier also the 88-year-old nation’s constitutional law icon, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN) who made brief appearance for Atiku and PDP had told the tribunal that the outcome of the deliberations and rulings of the tribunal was going to define the place of democracy in this country. All democratic watchers both home and in diaspora are in agreement that yesterday’s ruling was going to have far reaching effect on the way future elections are to be conducted in our clime.

In the last 24 hours the social media, the crazy platform for discourse courtesy of modern means of communications has been awash with varying reactions from the tribunal ruling. Social media warriors on these platforms had even been threatening possible political apocalypse should the outcome from the tribunal not be reflective of the public opinion and the position of the law. Not a few are in agreement that the outcome of yesterday’s tribunal will go down in history as a day to remember given the sombre mood that enveloped the nation. Pundits had maintained that the importance of the tribunal ruling lies in the fact that what was at stake was Nigeria and its democracy not just Atiku or Buhari or APC or PDP.

The ruling generated all the interests, anxiety and expectations because of so many variables, what was at stake being the highest job in the land. Now that the ruling has come and gone where do we go from here? Did the judgement agree with the public perception? If no why, if yes why?

What is it that informed the Justices arriving at their various decisions, is it law, ethnicity, religious or group political interests or what? Were they induced or intimidated by whom and for what purpose? Fact remains that this appeal level is not the final as the case is certainly going to the final court in the land, the Supreme Court. To what extent will the ruling of yesterday at this level affect the final decision of the apex court? All these permutations and even more will continue to dominate the public space until the Supreme Court puts the final nail.

But my concern which is at the centre of this week’s musing is the consequences of yesterday’s ruling on the nation’s electoral behaviour.

Judiciary as electoral ombudsman has been noticeable in mitigating and lessening the gravity of the do or die politics in the country since 1999. To what extent can we say that Wednesday’s ruling measured up to the expectations? Was the ruling able to establish the age long holding that judiciary is the last hope of the deprived in our society?

Some of the questions being raised here may never get an answer immediately because they would require some theories or philosophy of law to properly decode it, but there are some pertinent areas that does not require any technical knowledge of the law to determine. Any ruling on political matter that fails to reflect the public feeling of the matter is not going to provide the anticipated service.

Even though APC and PDP have been reacting based on their biased interests as ruling and opposition parties, there exists some aspects of the ruling that stood out beyond the technicalities.

A court ruling on sensitive political matters is supposed to be in tandem with vistas of majority of the populace. That explains why Suzy Kassem, an American of Egyptian origin writing in her book Rise Up and Salute the Sun cautioned that “if we want truth and justice to rule our global village, there must be no hypocrisy. If there is no truth, then there will be no equality. No equality, no justice. No justice, no peace. No peace, no love. No love only darkness.”

Many political watchers had expected the Justices on Wednesday to stand up and be counted among the great jurists in history but to many it did not happen but others they did their best. Charles Evans Hughes of US Supreme Court perhaps captured it well when he said “when we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.”

No matter how much long we can continue to pretend that injustice can strive in certain circumstance, an American social reformer and US Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story here lays bare the implications of undelivered justice in a society and I totally align my views to his in this circumstance. “Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected. And if these, or either of them, are regulated by no certain laws, and are subject to certain laws, and are subject to no certain principles, and are held by no certain tenure, and are redressed, when violated, by no certain remedies, society fails of all its values; and men may as well return to a state of savage and barbarous independence.”

A word they say is enough for the wise and we should also not forget that wisdom is a virtue that comes to us as grace from God if we ask and work towards it.

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‘EXECUTIARY’

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‘EXECUTIARY’

In an era when one thinks certain things are not possible in Nigeria, one is fed with a huge dose of them without a whimper or a blink. It is either that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its apparatchik are mere dumbheads, lacking the candour to engage in strategic discourse, or it is simply that they give no damn to all manner of banalities, inanities and oddities that have become their second nature. Since coming on stream in 2015, the APC and the presidency have succeeded in eroding the independence of the judiciary to the extent that fear rather than fair has become the operative word in the minds of those who dispense justice.

At the initial stage, some judge’s homes were burgled to create the atmosphere of fear and send the appropriate signal that a new emperor was in town. Later, the sledge hammer fell on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) barely a month before the 2019 general election to prepare the way for soft landing should there be any disputation after the election. A new CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad, was sworn in to take over the headship of the apex court. The latest verdict of the election petitions tribunal has given fillip to the earlier perception.

The 2019 elections came with the predictable fears; arm-twisting the process, using the security agencies as handy tools to subvert free will, rigging and over-voting in places with familiar security challenges, and outright intimidation following the President’s declaration of bullet for ballot box snatching. It got so skewed that the Chief of Army Staff took umbrage at the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar with respect to carrying out the orders of the President who is without doubt, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

The moment I read such statement, I knew the Army had taken side and the drama that played out in Rivers State and other states were enough pointer that the security agencies were working from answer to question. States like Yobe, Borno and Adamawa that are prone to insecurity due to the irritating onslaught of the insurgents recorded huge “turn-out” up to 89 per cent voters attendance, while some other states with relative stability, recorded as low as 31 per cent. Those deliberate disparities in voter turnout were orchestrated by the APC to deliver itself at the polls to further reinforce its grip on the lever of power.

Having fully intimidated the judiciary arm of government with threat of anti-corruption probes, the judiciary has wittingly and unwittingly surrendered its sovereignty to the Executive arm of government. The curious circumstances that led to the exit of the former CJN, Walter Onnoghen with very spurious allegations of undeclared assets, became the turning point. The role of the National Judicial Council (NJC) was torpedoed by a rampaging executive such that the NJC became easily cowed. Rather than be the body that is solely responsible for the recruitment and recommendation of judicial appointees into the Supreme Court and Appeal Court, the Executive arm of government seems to have apparently taken over such responsibility. The latest reported directive to the NJC to appoint five Justices into the Supreme Court barely a week after the determination of the 2019 presidential election at the Appeal Court on September 11, raises serious curiosity and doubt on the independence of the judiciary. And before our very eyes, three Justices who delivered that monstrous judgement by almost becoming counsel-in-chief to the defendants in that case, have been recommended to join their senior colleagues in the Supreme Court.

Justice Ibrahim Mohammed Garba, Justice Abdu Aboki and Justice Samuel Oseji have all been recommended for delivering a judgement that raises 70 valid questions by the Atiku Legal Team led by Mr. Levi Uzokwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Feelers filtering into the political space also suggest that the seven Justices of the Supreme Court who are to preside over the appeal by Atiku Abubakar, were randomly and carefully chosen rather than deferring to seniority as has always been the case. This skewed approach raises yet again serious doubt about the objectivity, independence and impartiality of the apex court, a move that is bound to create a huge negative perception in the minds of the people. This is coming at a time when the CJN Mohammad gave an assurance recently at the Bar Conference, that the apex court and the judiciary at large should discharge its responsibility without fear or favour, with fear of God in their hearts. Whether he would be able to muster the required courage to do the right and proper thing remains in the bowel of time, but suffice it to say that Nigerian judiciary is going through a period of storm and stress, no thanks to the overbearing control of the executive.

The word “executiary” became a notorious coinage in India when its judiciary faced similar situation and thus became “advertently committed to the “strong” desires”, whims and fancies of the Indian Central Government. Rather than deliver nationalistic verdicts, the Judiciary was kowtowing to the dictates of the central government. Even, appointment of Justices, rather than follow the order of seniority, also buckled under the influence of the executive. Example was given of how Mr. A.N Ray was appointed the Chief Justice of India (CJI), against three senior Judges. The judiciary in India, just like Nigeria’s has become a puppet in the hands of the Executive. It now serves as a body that more or less authenticates whatever becomes the desire, aspiration and wishes of the executive. Rather than play the role of the custodian and watchman of the constitution and rule of law, our judiciary has become a body of contradictions and tactlessness. When matters affecting it dominate the public space, it prefers to maintain conspiratorial silence than play any altruistic role that would strengthen its independence. Corruption allegations are enough to put them in check. 

The ongoing exercise aimed at promoting three of the Justices of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal is not just a sore thumb, it further derobes the judiciary of its independence. It is like a compensation for a job well done at the presidential tribunal where these Justices delivered a judgement that raises more curiosity, doubts and questions, than provide any plausible answer to the nagging issues of electoral fraud, certificate forgery and vote buying. All the reports from field officers, observer groups and monitors concerning the 2019 elections pointedly exposed a decadent system full of biles and halitosis. Every report from foreign and domestic observers questioned the credibility of the election and raised serious posers on why there was need for the electoral body to inspire hope and confidence in the process. The fact that the three Justices that sat on the petition are being hurriedly packaged and recommended to take their seats at the Supreme Court further confirms the insinuation that the judgement was fraudulently procured. Nothing else could have warranted this promotion.

Added to this judicial heist is the issue of the composition of the panel that would hear the appeal at the Supreme Court. If the news going round is anything to go by, it means members of the panel would be put together against the normative order of seniority which dictates such appointment or composition. But for a government that is desperate to sustain its grip on the power rostrum, anything is fair in the art of legal battle and political contestation. But it leaves a sore taste in the mouth and invites embarrassment to dwell within the inner sanctuary of the judiciary. Rather than be the final arbiter of the common man, the judiciary is daily ridiculing itself to be an extension of the executive. Appointment to the apex court is not the responsibility of the executive arm of government. It is the prerogative of the NJC to so do in line with the statutory provisions of the constitution and other extant laws. For the presidency to now assume the role of the driver of the process of composing the Supreme Court Justices, is to undermine due process. Similar situation arose when the executive demonised former Chief Justice Onnoghen guilty even before he was tried by any court. The presidency became both the accuser and the judge in determining the fate of Mr. Onnoghen. Not long, he was shown the exit door and till date, nothing is heard again of the earlier allegation against him. That is the presidency that stares us in the face; a presidency that uses corruption to fight corruption, yet claiming integrity, a presidency that contradicts itself in such hypocritical verbiage just to sustain itself in power. 

The world is awake. All eyes are on the judiciary especially the Supreme Court as the opposition PDP takes its appeal before their Lordship. The world will be watching not because they do not know the powers of the Supreme Court, but whether such powers would be exercised in a fair, just and objective manner in the eyes of the ordinary Nigerian. The world would be watching to see whether the Supreme Court would validate the ridiculous verdict of the election petition tribunal where rule of law was turned upside down, or whether it would be bold enough to give a verdict that appeals to rule of law and not rule of man. History as the ultimate chronicler of every man’s trajectory will be handy to accord the Justices their rightful place.

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The weight of Oshiomhole’s grouse about Obaseki

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The weight of Oshiomhole’s grouse about Obaseki

 

T

he interviews granted by a former governor of Edo State and National Chair of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to select television stations, on Friday, September 6, 2019, were historic because they enabled him respond to sundry questions and to counter the series of complex narratives woven round the Edo House of Assembly crisis by the other party.

 

Oshiomhole’s counter-narratives were downright frank, expansive – and he threw down the gauntlet, which Obaseki has yet to take up. He brought clarity to his actions. His grouse about Obaseki and his governance style was weighty and certainly, the weight of evidence is on Oshiomohle’s side. His claims against Obaseki and the supporting evidence have yet to be rebutted by the governor.

 

 

Obaseki’s silence is not golden and his dodgy directive to administration officials not to respond to Oshiomnhole’s claims doesn’t equate virtue in silence.  It is clearly indicative of his inability to fault Oshiomhole’s claims and counter narratives to the earlier narrative spun by him and his officials that political leaders in the state wanted him to share the state’s funds to them.

 

That was the scurrilous narrative marketed within and outside the state. It could only have taken a perceptive politician and marathoner to hold back for long before electing to dismantle the self-imposed culture of silence or to shed the self-restraining garb. The specific challenge to Obaseki by Oshiomhole couldn’t be simpler:  name the political leaders pressurising you to share the state’s funds to them.

 

Media professionals had attempted to insinuate Oshiomhole into the subject of the allegation, but in a riposte, he had clarified that Obaseki did not refer to a political leader; therefore, his generic reference to political leaders could not be construed to refer to him (Oshiomhole) as a leader. Oshiomhole also countered the narrative that he was controlling the governor, asserting that he nominated only a commissioner to the cabinet the governor dissolved in the wake of the crisis over the nocturnal and controversial inauguration of the state legislature.

 

 

Interestingly, Oshiomhole clarified that Frank Okiye, purportedly elected Speaker of the House, was not validly elected to the position.  Pressure continues to mount on Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation for the proper inauguration of the State Assembly.  The governor chose a desperate course, after failing to produce many of his unpopular aspirants, as candidates in the 2019 national and state legislative elections.

 

 

Those who secured the tickets of the party through direct primary election were the popular aspirants that served in the administration of Oshiomhole with Obaseki and whom he related with as Oshiomhole’s boys. Oshiomhole had kept mum for so long. Many had said his quietude was not in pari-materia with his existential, essential activism and public space disposition. The expressive Iyamho-born politician, who deployed the singularity of his oratorical prowess in driving the electioneering of Obaseki in 2016, bided his time unlike Obaseki whose reactions had always been impulsively aggravating.

 

 

 

Left to Obaseki, he would circumvent leaders and members of the APC political family in the scheme of things. That was the philosophy that undergirded his quotidian disposition and perception of APC’s leaders in the state as being interested only in having government funds shared to them.

 

 

The quixotic demonisation of the APC leaders was Obaseki’s most ludicrous faux pas. How could the governor, who is the leader of the party in the state, fail so abysmally to understand the imperative of managing successes and expectations of members of his political family to consolidate on the structure?  Before his current predilection, Obaseki’s original plot was to retire a good number of the old political warhorses and build his own structure of budding politicians.  And, that was his howler: having inherited them, it behoves him to harvest their electoral assets and their nuisance values, going forward.

 

 

Nothing could have been simpler than that. Oshiomhole had already cut out Obaseki’s job for him by harnessing the potentialities of the politics and praxis of gladiators whom he galvanized behind his governorship candidature in 2016.  But the governor has complicated an otherwise simple relationship because of self-interest.  In fact, Obaseki had created the impression that he was not interested in politics but he is now so enamoured of governorship power, a disposition that is tantamount to the Chichidodo bird in Ayi Kwei Armah’s “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born”.  The Chichidodo bird hates faeces, but loves the maggots therein.

 

 

Obaseki has been deploying the governorship power in its vast flourish to unsettle the APC family and raise the political temperature in the state. After his gambit to supplant the political structure in the APC collapsed, he is pathetically progressing in egregious blunders. To be sure, Obaseki had his own plans and calculations cleverly scripted and laid-out for implementation. But what he did not factor into his plan was the emergence of Oshiomhole as national chair of the APC.  Had that not happened, Obaseki’s plan was to rout Oshiomhole and his political structure.

 

 

Before the 2019 general election, Obaseki had, at the level of governance, desecrated the philosophy of continuity on which Oshiomhole premised and rationalised his choice as a successor.  He had curiously upended projects and programmes that he inherited from the Oshiomhole administration in which he played a strategic part as Chair of the Economic and Strategy Team. Two critical legacy projects: the five-star Central Hospital in Benin and the Edo Storm Water project- were unconscionably abandoned.

 

 

Blacklisting these two projects, among others, gifted opposition parties in the state grounds to continue to vilify Oshiomhole and disparage his administration. It was Obaseki’s plot to turn the people against Oshiomhole so that he could create a new popularity momentum around himself.  Whereas, what he needed to do was to facilitate the completion of the outstanding 25 per cent component of the hospital project; he never did so.  Second, whereas, what he needed to do to maximize the functionality of the Storm Water Project was to de-silt the drainages so that flood water can flow through them seamlessly, he never did. Whereas, that is the essence of continuity in government, Obaseki scorned the philosophy in furtherance of his blinkered agenda.

 

 

Oshiomhole addressed these and other ancillary issues in his media interviews. First he said there was nothing personal about his disagreement with Obaseki as they remain friends – Comrade and Goddy – as the duo address each other. But the issues remain Obaseki’s constitutional infractions, lack of fidelity to the philosophy of continuity of Oshiomhole administration’s legacy projects and failure to constitute boards in order to empower party members and leaders across the 192 wards in the state – about a year to the end of the administration to validate the APC and the governor’s re-election.

These claims are very weighty and define the contention in the party? The weight and precision of the claims were such that Obaseki could not logically and reasonably discount them through the instrumentality of “a further and better affidavit”.  By heaping the coal of fire on Obaseki’s head, Oshiomhole had perceptibly redefined the shape, texture, context and content of the complex politicking and political narratives around the executive-induced APC crisis in Edo.

 

 

Obaseki’s decision to ignore Oshiomhole’s claims had largely reinforced the truth in them; otherwise, the governor could have addressed the claims so that the Edo people would be able to make their inferences.  But obviously overwhelmed by the magnitude of Oshiomhole’s claims, Obaseki would appear to have lost the little gravitas he hitherto had and has now continued to accentuate his clumsiness through a rash of discourteous acts towards Oshiomhole at public functions.

 

 

Some pictures have been trending on the social media showing how during exchanges of pleasantries, Obaseki would sit somewhat comfortably in his chair to respond to Oshiomhole’s greetings. In another of such pictures, where he acted the same way, his condescension was made more glaring by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, who stood up right beside him, to pump hands with Oshiomhole.  Such disrespect only serves to confirm that all is not well between Comrade and Goddy. This is the essential weight of the matter.

 

 

Ojeifo, a public affairs analyst, writes via ojwonderngr@yahoo.com

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The recent order of the Federal High Court winding up P&ID: The legal implications

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The recent order of the Federal High Court winding up P&ID: The legal implications

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja on 19th September, 2019, convicted and subsequently ordered the winding up of Process and Industrial Developments Ltd and its Nigeria affiliate, P & ID Nigeria Ltd.

The order was made by Justice Inyang Ekwo when some alleged representatives of P& ID pleaded guilty to an 11-count charge of fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and other sundry offences in connection with the 2010 controversial judgement by a British court. The court had empowered the P&ID to seize about $9.6 billion worth of Nigerian assets.

 

The judgement also ordered that the “assets and properties” of the two companies be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Through this process, Nigeria hopes to lay a solid foundation that the entire $9.6 judgement debt is rooted in fraud and corruption, and so cannot stand the test of judicial enforceability. This, Nigeria hopes, will enable her apply to set aside the judgement liability. 

 

The foreign P & ID incorporated in the British Virgin Island was said to have been represented in court by its commercial Director, Mohammed Kuchazi, while P & ID Nigeria Ltd was represented by one Adam Usman, a lawyer and Director of the company. They were both said to have pleaded guilty to the 11-count charge on behalf of the company bordering on advance fee fraud (419).

 

However, P & ID, through its counsel, Andrew Staffort, Q.C, of Kobre & Kim, based in London, has already denounced and repudiated the Federal High Court judgement. He described the trial and judgement as “sham and entirely illegitimate”. He accused the Buhari administration of targeting innocent individuals associated with the companies with detentions, using the EFCC, and vowed to “continue to identify and seize Nigerian assets”.

 

 

The Nigerian government order obtained from the Federal High Court, Abuja, is no doubt a good response from the domestic angle, but it appears to me that the best way out for us as a Nation, for now is to first attack the main judgement and the award, and immediately file an appeal and stay of execution of the judgement. The reason is that the Federal High Court in Abuja does not have extra-territorial jurisdiction over the UK court that okayed the award, and the arbitral tribunal in the UK that initially made the $9.6 billion award. The Federal High Court in Nigeria can only prevent execution of the award from being effected against government properties and monies domiciled in Nigeria, but not against such properties and monies domiciled within the 28 EU countries and 60 countries that make up the New York Convention, to which the arbitral award is subject to execution against Nigeria. I had earlier on posited my legal opinion, pro bono, to the Federal Government, as a Nigerian patriot.

 

 

More significantly, the conviction and winding up of the P&ID were carried out after the arbitral award had been made and entered by a British  Court. Rights, duties and obligations had already accrued and enured and same cannot be abated or cancelled retroactively, by a futuristic order as just done by the Federal High Court, Abuja. We should also note that the company, though limited, has human beings running it as Directors and alter egos, since the P&ID as a corporation, is an inanimate subject that acts through the instrumentality of living human beings. This is a trite principle of law established in the case of Salomon v Salomon.

 

THE RULE IN SALOMON VS SALOMON & CO. LTD (1897) AC 22.

 

The principle of Corporate Separate Personality has since been firmly established in the common law, since the decision in Salomon vs Salomon & Co. LTD. It is to the effect that a corporation has a separate legal personality, rights and obligations totally distinct from those of his shareholders. Legislation and courts never-the-less sometimes pierce the corporate veil so as to hold the shareholders personally liable for the liabilities of the corporation. Courts may also lift the corporate veil in the conflict of laws in order to determine who actually controls the corporation and thus to ascertain the corporations through contracts and closest and most real connections. When a company receives a certificate of incorporation, it has a separate legal personality. In law, the company becomes a legal person in its own right.

 

The global consensus therefore is that courts of law in certain circumstances can pierce the veil if there is an abuse by the Shareholders or Directors, or where there is an apparent impropriety. In addition, pundits and legal scholars have also advocated the possibility of holding shareholders liable for the company’s debt as well. For the veil to be lifted, four conditions must, however, be met, to wit:

 

1. A loss must have occurred.

 

2. A limited liability company must have been used in an artificial and reprehensible way as a means to avoid a payment liability for its shareholders.

 

3. There must be a casual link between the loss and the cause and

 

4. It must be possible to identify the shareholders in the limited liability company.

 

The above prerequisites must co-exist simultaneously for the corporate veil to be pierced. This alter ego theory was applied by the Nigerian court in Fairline Pharmasetical Indutries Limited vs Trustadjusters Nigeria Limited (2012) LPELR 20860 (CA).

 

The Nigerian Apex Court gave credence to this façade theory in ALade vs Alic (Nig. LTD) ( 2010) 19 NWLR (PT 1226) Pg 111 @ 127 (paras E-F), where it held thus:   “it must be stated that this court as the last court of the land will not allow a party to use his company as a cover to dupe, cheat and or defraud an innocent citizen who entered into a lawful contract with the company, only to be confronted with the companies legal entity as distinct from his directors’’.

 

THE RULE IN TURQUAND’S CASE

 

However, going by The Rule in Turquand’s case, it may be difficult for Nigeria to rely on alleged non-approval of the contract with P & ID on the grounds that it did not follow due process in Nigeria, or that it was not approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) or that it breached sections 2 & 3 of the Infrastructural Regulatory Commission Act. The reason is traceable to The Rule in Turquand’s Case.

 

THE PRINCIPLE AS LAID DOWN IN ROYAL BRITISH BANK VS TURQUAND (1856) 6 E & B 327

 

This is a very famous company law principle which held that people transacting with companies are entitled to assume that internal company rules are complied with, even if they are not. This (Indoor Management Rule) or The Rule in TURQUAND’S Case is applicable in most of the Common Law World, including Nigeria. It originally mitigated the harshness of the constructive notice doctrine and in the UK, it is now supplemented by the Companies Act, 2006 Section 36-41.

 

The indoor management rule has been applied in the Nigeria case of Metalimpes vs A.G Leventis & Co. Nigeria Limited (1976) 2 SC 91, (1976) 1 ALL NLR (PT 1) 94.

The Court held in that case that a person dealing with a company is entitled to assume, in the absence of facts putting him on enquiry, that there has been due compliance with all matters of internal management and procedures required by the Articles and is not required to enquire into the internal workings of the Company.

Similarly, in the case of Trenco Nigeria Limited vs African Real Estate and Investment Company (1978) 3 SC 9, (1978) 1 LRN 146, the Supreme Court also held, applying this rule, that the Defendants were entitled to assume that the Chairman of the Plaintiff’s company had the authority to enter into a binding contract with a Defendant’s company on behalf of the Plaintiff’s company.

 

WAY OUT FOR NIGERIA

 

The best way for Nigeria to move forward therefore is for the Federal Government to further arraign, prosecute and convict the brains behind the company, who are currently abroad. The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) allows this sort of trial in absentia if it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that the suspects were duly served with the criminal charges and the date of arraignment communicated to them, but that they refused to make themselves available for trial. A bench warrant will have to first be issued. See sections 352 (4) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015. See also sections 113, 131, 134, 177, 382 and 399 0f ACJA.

 

See the Cases of Apugo v. FRN (2017) lpelr-41643 (CA); Cadbury Nig Plc v. FRN (2004) LPELR- 5422 (CA); Chukwu v. IGP (2018) LPELR-45249 (CA); Glencore Energy UK Ltd v. FRN (2018) LPELR 43860 (CA).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

“A government is for the benefit of all the people.” (William Howard Taft).

LAST LINE

I thank Nigerians for always keeping faith with the Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project, by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D. I enjoin you to look forward to next week’s treatise.

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Abraham leads Chelsea’s charge for home win

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Abraham leads Chelsea’s charge for home win

…Salah, Mane, Firminho can wre ck the bridge

 

 

With seven goals to his credit in just five games to lead the top scorers chart in the Premier League, Tammy Abraham has already shown that he is one of the best striking youngsters in global football. However, that laudable reputation would be put to a stern test when Chelsea battle Liverpool in a mouth-watering Premier League clash on Sunday at Stamford Bridge homeground.

Before his exploits for the Blues who are having a substandard outing in the season considering their consistent struggle at the Bridge where they are yet to win any game this season, Abraham was scapegoated for the team’s loss of the UEFA Super Cup when he missed the decisive penalty kick that ensured Liverpool triumphed in their meeting in Istanbul in August.

He was subjected to racial abuse by some Chelsea faithful but that seems to be the tonic for which drives him in having the last say over his tormentors, the highpoint of which was his sensational hat trick in last Saturday’s 5-2 crushing defeat of Wolves, a team dreaded by many of the ‘big’ teams in the English top flight. This match presents the 21-year-old, the opportunity of inflicting a pay-back pain on Jurgen Klopp’s side who are yet to be beaten this season and are on a five-point lead already with less than a quarter of the season gone. Abraham’s form has seen him pressured by England and Nigeria to represent them at full international level, and a big match like this puts him on the spotlight.

While critics are of the views that he has not faced tested defenders yet, a confrontation with Virgil Van Dijk-marshalled Liverpool defence will surely rate as a big test for his scoring prowess. The Dutch is the most valuable defender in the game and after beating the iconic duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the best player in the Champions League last season, he will also be having his reputation at stake On loan to Aston Villa last season, Abraham’s 25 goals could not be overlooked by the Blues’ management and he was handed the dreaded No 9 jersey. None of Chelsea’s strikers has managed to record a hat trick until last weekend at the Mollineux.

Looking ahead to the match, Camberwell London-born Abraham, who is prominent among the several academy players that are now leading the battlefront for Roman Abramovic-owned club, said he and his gang are fired up for the Liverpool match which is coming on the heels of their defeat to Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday. He declared; “(Sunday) is a test of character. We can take our anger out against Liverpool.”

“It’s a massive game and both teams will be going to win.” For Liverpool, the threat of the sensational trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firminho against an unstable Chelsea defence could see the already cracked Bridge reduced to rubbles after their European misadventure on the same ground a few days ago.

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The silent need of grandmas

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The silent need of grandmas

received some messages last weekend sequel to the last two editions on sex matters. A 67-year-old woman lamented the plight of aging or older people especially women in loneliness and their sexless life in retirement. In a telephone conversation that lasted about 32 minutes, she explained how her ilk waited for so long for companions without getting any.

“It’s very thoughtful of you, Michael West, to have spared the time to write pointedly on a knotty and coded issue like sex. There’s no gainsaying about it, many homes are in storms today as a result of incompatible or dismal sex life. Some of us got to know better and appreciate the sweetness of sex when it was almost late. I quite agree with you that the only place where a legitimate sex should take place is in marriage; but the parental failure to talk to their children about sex ahead of time has wrecked irreparable damages to many promising homes.

“For the young women, they still have the ample opportunity to make the most of their time by managing their men in a way that they will stay together till the evening of their lives. I appreciate young women who persevere to keep stable homes while I dislike the nonchalant attitude of some other women to marriage. They will realise the harm they’re doing to themselves in their old age. I’m aware that some men are monsters in their homes. Women that are unfortunate to marry those brutes as husbands should be ready to endure or quit. Such men are difficult to relate with. However, I have seen two of such violent men become loving and faithful husbands after they encountered Christ.

“West, widows and single women in their 60s and 70s need love. Many of us are being consigned to becoming nannies or abandoned to fate. We still feel lonely. We need companions too. I have heard some people say ‘what do those grandmas need men for?’ I laugh because someday it will be their turn. Those who think a 70-year-old woman does not need cuddling or sex because of her age should know that we (Grandmas) still feel horny like they do.

“Have you wondered why White women scout for men even on the internet? We have witnessed younger men in their 20s and early 30s marrying White women who are old enough to be their grandmas. You may criticize the guys but they’re serving a crucial purpose for some women who are ready to pay their way through to happiness. But here in Africa, Nigeria in particular, culture and environment won’t encourage older women to do such a thing. Therefore, a ‘big mummy’ will remain lonely and sexless to her grave at an age she should still be her man’s sweet sixteen.

“Our children don’t help our situation. They’re fond of criticizing us whenever we share our feelings and desires with them on the need of companions. Conversely though, there are some considerate ones who do encourage their aging moms to find love or companions to make themselves happy and fulfilled. Even at that, where are the men?

“West, candidly, there are few, if any, available men that can truly fill in the void in our lives. Men who are our mates don’t look in our direction. They chase about the younger women. Incidentally, those girls also prefer the ‘daddies’ to their mates. This inverted pairing leaves us out of the equation. And if you decide to consider mature younger men maybe in their 40s or 50s, distractions and sundry pressures won’t allow them to give deserved attention.

“As for me, I don’t encourage married men to engage in extra-marital affairs. It’s sacrilegious to the sanctity of matrimony but there are many single men out there who are widowers, separated or divorced. I do discourage my friends who date some of these younger men to avoid married ones in order to keep their homes. However, the problem with many of the single men or single dads is that there are several women available to them as options. The unfortunate thing is that such men think they’re doing you a favour rather than appreciating the older women for who they are.

“I like to subscribe to your hook-up platform because I trust your judgement and diligence in handling relationships. Keep up the good work going, Mr. West. God will soundly bless you in return. I appreciate you. Thank you.”

Apart from the needful companionship, lack of warmth or prolonged abstinence from sex do have some health challenges as repercussions on the aging women. A healthy sex life will keep immune system humming, boosts libido, improves women’s bladder control, lowers blood pressure and reduces heart attack risk, lessens cramps, nourishes body skin and shapes, makes prostate cancer less likely while it is also considered as an exercise.

I know a 70-year-old woman who had been complaining of various kinds of ailments one after the other for over two years. Her nurse was almost running out of ideas to manage her condition. One day, her neighbour told her to stop “killing her system” with drugs she took every now and then. She advised the ailing woman to go for sex instead. The woman in question had been separated for about seven years and she remained sexless ever since.

Initially she discountenanced the counsel, thinking how sex could be the answer to her sickness that kept moving from one part of her body to another. In summary, after a reluctant date with a man, she allowed the fun to sustain until she no longer complain about ill-health. In a matter of months, she looked radiant, bubbling with life and excitement. That’s a practical way to keep ‘big mummies’ or grandmas healthy, happy and fulfilled.

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The judgement, the fallouts

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The judgement, the fallouts

“It takes a long time to learn that a courtroom is the last place in the World for learning the truth” – Alice Koller

 

 

How agreeable are we with William Weld’s assertion that the courts are the least dangerous of the three branches of our government? Many Nigerians bemoaning the September 11 ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal will not agree with that view rather they will see it as even more dangerous given their last line position in decision making. For once ahead of the ruling many Nigerians thought that Nigeria judiciary was going to prove predictors wrong and come up with uncommon judicial pronouncements which would have been a turning point in the nation’s democracy. Some of them were expecting the type of landmark ruling that would have consigned electoral frauds in Nigeria to the trash can.

But as it turned out political prognosticators were proven right in their insistence ahead of the tribunal ruling that the crop of judicial officers in the fold now lacked what it takes to produce an outstanding judgement, the type that made Justices Chukwudifu Oputa, Kayode Esho or Niki Tobi etc. in that class thick in their days. Moreover they also noted that aside being sufficiently cowed, petrified and bruised, the current judicial officers in Nigeria have been so enmeshed in the corruption endemic in our society today that it would be rare if not impossible to see a Justice who would stand up for truth just for truth sake.

That would be searching for a saint in the devil’s abode. So when the Justice Mohammad Garba led five Justices that composed the Presidential Election petitions Tribunal started reading their ruling last week sounding more like defence counsel than an unbiased and neutral adjudicators, many Nigerian discussants were merely saying, ‘we told you, are you surprised, what do you expect,’ all indicating that otherwise in the ruling would have been very much unlike Nigeria.

Such unlikely thing rarely happens in this country especially in our polity. Perhaps the most outstanding memorable unlikely Nigeria thing that happened in our polity lately was in 2015 when an incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan against all predictions relinquished political power to the opposition and went further to conduct a seamless transition of power to them. Before then nobody ever thought it was possible in Nigeria that someone who has the power equivalent of the literary life and death will give in just like that. If that is what they want why not let it be Jonathan would say.

Even when some belligerents’ cohorts of his tried to do otherwise he distanced himself from them. Godsday Orubebe is in our mind here. Ever since that ruling the political space has remained divided whether what Jonathan did was the right thing. Did he really provide leadership and genuinely wanted to respect the dictates of democracy or was he harassed out? Either way, Nigeria and global democracy were the huge beneficiaries from that exceptional showing.

That was the last uncommon outing in our polity which political pundits had predicted was going to take our electoral growth to the next level but it never did. Rather poor governance delivery in the last four years added to the outcome of the 2019 general election have all coalesced to make political watchers return conversation to Jonathan era? If Jonathan’s electoral behaviour was such excellence that the global community stood still for it and made it look like the finest hour for Nigeria’s democracy, why has the same democratic World kept mute at the display of the exact opposite ever since? As the World watched the Osun State gubernatorial election fraud that was capped by the Supreme Court’s technicality ruling and now to the bizarre election of 2019 what did they do? Also overlooked was the strange but strategic action that preceded the elections like the unilateral removal of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen on the eve of an election by President Buhari, a candidate in the election, an action that could be classified as the forerunner to the eventual electoral fraud that was massively witnessed.

As the picture is showing now if democracy collapses in Nigeria God forbid the fingers should point at the insincerity of the political elite as well as the civil society groups who claim to be policing democracy yet undermining it by dinning with both the saints and the mammon to protect selfish interests. In various other ways, elite are seeing the truth and looking away, lacking the necessary liver to defend democracy. We like it when we see on the social media nations that are claiming victory against injustice by standing up to it but we remain unwilling to thread the path that leads to it. Biddable and credulous Nigerians wants to be saints but are not ready to die yet there is no living saint, not even the Pope. Since the September 11 ruling the media space has been crammed with reactions on it.

The first major reaction came from the greatest beneficiary of the ruling, the Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), President Buhari who said he was never disturbed at all because he was guided by clear conscience and really was not afraid.

If the President is a student of history may be he would have avoided using the word conscience because the revolutionary Islamic teacher and founder of Sokoto caliphate, ‘Uthman dan Fodio reminds us that conscience is an open wound that can only be healed by one drug called truth. Can the President sincerely say that he actually won the election and that he was really qualified by the demands of the law? But even despite the President’s bullishness every indicator shows otherwise, the entire apparatchik of both the ruling party and the Presidency were so charged and mobilized in a manner that has never been seen since the regime came to being four years ago. Even the invincible and indestructible cabal members who have held this country in her jugular since 2015 operating from behind masked had to unveil themselves and appear live to generate all the heat on the Justices. Their presence alone not to talk of the ministers and party faithful were enough to mirror the real mood of the government as jittery and uncomfortable.

Those who worked extremely hard to produce the result we all saw at the court especially those whose efforts will remain hidden certainly deserve some accolades from those who sent them or those in support of their mission but definitely the damage to the nation would be far reaching. Even the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who excitedly said that they are ready to meet Atiku at the World Court where they hope to defeat him still knows too well that he is not being sincere as the party is still seriously working behind the scene to avert the matter going to Supreme Court if they can.

The biggest fallout perhaps from the Presidential election petition ruling is the declaration of President Buhari as being ’eminently qualified’. It has turned upside down the country’s quest for education as it made no sense of certificates.

If a President of a country has court affidavit as equivalent to certificate and got endorsed by a court of law and the Chief Justice in the same regime is saying that termites ate up his own certificates, God help our children whose cost of educating is even skyrocketing.

Finally, as Nigerians remain stunned at the turn of events arising from the September 11 ruling of the Appeal Court Justices and await although not enthusiastically the outcome from the Supreme Court, Mahatma Gandhi’s words appear very suiting at this time: “there is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience it supersedes all other courts.” God help Nigeria.

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Now that SA has apologised…

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Now that SA has apologised…

 

 

N

ow South Africa has apologised for the xenophobic attacks that saw to the death of many African compatriots in the hands of South African mobs, have we seen the end of a sad chapter in the history of Black Africa? Nigeria was one of many African countries caught in the xenophobic web that the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent special envoys to apologise for earlier in the week as well as given assurances that all is now well – or, more appropriately – that all will be well. Can we take his assurances for it? Cyril himself was a fire-eating Labour leader in the last days of the armed struggle against apartheid; so he should know the mentality of his people. A facade of hope that normalcy has, indeed, returned to SA was the fledgling anti-xenophobic movement in SA itself where “wives” of victims of xenophobic attacks were summoning up courage to come out of their cocoons to decry their own losses.

 

A few other conscionable South Africans have joined in their rank. Will these be enough to stem the tide? Is the SA Government sincere with its apology and can it do the needful? Are the xenophobes now tired, remorseful, been won over by superior argument or they are simply on recess, waiting for the next opportune occasion to strike? Time, as they say, will tell!

 

As the repatriation of the endangered Nigerians proceeds apace, it is safe to conclude that only a few will venture to return. Many will stay put, the dangers to their life and livelihood notwithstanding, while others will relocate to other countries. The reasons for this are not far to fetch: The situations and circumstances that ran them out of their fatherland have not abated; instead, they have become more pronounced in the last four years of the APC/President Muhammadu Buhari administration. While APC leaders have been creating millions of jobs by words of the mouth, the real unemployment situation has gone from bad to worse. Not only are new jobs not being created as claimed by government, those in employment are losing their jobs at an alarming rate. Absence of jobs, especially among the youth, has led to high rate of criminality, such that government now begs criminals to sheathe their sword, having lost the moral right, the wherewithal as well as the will power to fight crimes. Nigerians leave the shores of this country in droves in search of better living conditions. “Better life”, which was nothing to write home about before, has deteriorated progressively since 2015. Inflation and devaluation have robbed the Naira of close to half of its purchasing power, if not more. Education, health, power supply, and infrastructure have decayed beyond acceptable levels. Corruption today is more mind-boggling than in times past; if in doubt, compare what Buhari spends as fuel subsidy with what Jonathan spent. To make matters worse, the state of insecurity today – with Fulani herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers, ritualists and cultists rivalling Boko Haram – have left Nigeria worse than Buhari/APC had met it.

 

Recent reports said 60 doctors leave Lagos hospitals every six months (10/month) while 700 (appro. 61/monthly) doctors dump Nigeria annually. The Yoruba would say “Orisa boo le gba mi, fi mi s’ile boo se ba mi”. If you can’t help, don’t make matters worse for me! Not so Buhari/APC!

 

South African returnees would therefore be returning to a Nigeria worse than the one they left behind. For those who left when PDP/Goodluck Jonathan was in power, they will have the added pains and humiliation of “Operation Crocodile Smile” to contend with. The war of attrition between APC/Buhari and their allies on the one hand and pro-Biafra forces on the other is yet to abate. Ask Ekweremadu! Ask South-East governors! Few South-easterners, who form the bulk of the South Africa returnees, are proud of Buhari: The president’s bare-faced sectionalism, tribalism and nepotism have not helped matters! Expect a visibly embarrassed South Africa to put obstacles in the way of repatriation to try and squeeze the returnees, make their return difficult if not impossible as well as buy time while mending fences. Only reason why SA pretends to be remorseful is because it risks isolation. It is doubtful whether Nigeria has made adequate preparation for the returnees. For those returning with empty hands, how do they start life afresh? Shame and fear of disgrace is another reason why some will be unwilling to return. “Iku ya j’esin”, our people will say. Better die than suffer ignominy! The politics of the repatriation, though, is not as much as doing a good job as giving an impression something was done. It is less of substance but more of appearance.                   

 

FUOYE: Two deaths too many

What is beyond dispute now is that two students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) died during a peaceful protest that went awry last week. Except for those who still have the milk of human kindness running in their veins in a Nigeria that had since lost all sensibilities and feelings but now has scant regard for human life, this is mere statistics – “only” two lives lost! Yes, “only” two! Since the advent of APC/Buhari, our attitude to living and dying has become cavalierly. But consider that one of the “only two” were your own son – let our men and women of power consider that “just one”, not the entire “only two” of the FUOYE dead were their own son or daughter! If you do not appreciate what belongs to others, someone is coming who will not appreciate what belongs to you. If you pay scant regard to the life of the other person, someone is coming who will pay scant regard to your own life or the life of someone you hold so dear. That is the Law of Karma and the import of Prophet Nathan’s message to King David after he had killed “good man” Uriah and appropriated his wife Bathsheba.

 

The least that Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi can do is to unearth the killers and ensure they are brought to justice. As governor, Fayemi is the chief security officer of Ekiti and the buck stops on his table. It is his duty to get justice for those whose life, like Abel’s, Uriah’s and Nabot’s, was snuffed out in cold blood. Failure, he will account, like Dele Giwa minced no words in telling us, if not now then later; if not before man, then, before God.

Fayemi must follow up his instructions to the CP, Ekiti State to unearth the killer-cops. The death of the two FUOYE students, for now, has been woven around the legs of Fayemi’s wife, Erelu Bisi; unless Gov. Fayemi is able to shift the guilt elsewhere, that is where it will remain – and that is where justice shall be served.

 

Having first driven away the fox, let us now return to speak a word of truth to the FUOYE students: But for the fact that students will always be students, why demonstrate and risk your life over an occurrence as common in today’s Nigeria as power outage? For those of us not students and who also suffer power outrage – and have to pay rapacious estimated bills to boot – where do we carry our own protests, peaceful or violent? But, then, like they say: “Agba wa bura pe ewe o se o ri!”

 

As an undergrad at Ife, I, too, demonstrated on a countless number of occasions, storming Lagos and screaming “Obasanjo na goat o, na goat o, (Shehu Musa) Yar’Adua barawo ni, o omo eran”. On one occasion we vandalised a posh car belonging to Oloye Olusola Saraki, the then Senate President, within the premises of the then Senate Building at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. Thank God, we were not shot by errant security details of power-drunk politicians! It is likely that the Fayemis also demonstrated while on campus at Ife. What if they had been shot? 

 

 

What is left of VP Osinbajo?

On Monday, the Buhari administration stylishly, even if in characteristically deceitful manner, admitted to the failure of policy and personnel when it disbanded its Economic Management Team headed by VP Yemi Osinbajo and instituted another called Economic Advisory Council (mere semantics!) headed by one Prof. Doyin Salami. The new EAC got rid of Osinbajo as both head and member. Who does not know that this is an indictment and that Osinbajo is being held responsible for the many astounding economic failures of the Buhari administration?

 

Osinbajo as VP is not allowed into security meetings; ministers and other political appointees report to the president through the Chief of Staff; civil servants and parastatals report to the president through Secretary to the Government of the Federation; and now, the economic team bypasses the same VP who has the statutory responsibility of chairing their meetings! What is left for – and of – Osinbajo in the Buhari administration? Pity!

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Nigeria’s leadership quagmire

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Nigeria’s leadership quagmire

After the infamous verdict of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) on Wednesday, 11th September, 2019, there was palpable quiet and lull in the land. It was as if majority of Nigerians were bathed with cold water. No noise was heard. No playlets were rehearsed. No toasts were scripted. No celebrations were anchored nor were there any spontaneous jubilations in response to the judgement, which returned victory to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari as validly elected at the polls.

Before now, under the APC-led Federal Government, the country has sustained a leadership atrophy that has become lazy, unproductive, laid back, with visible signs of incompetence, incapacity and under-performance. The end result is a rising profile in kidnapping, armed banditry, killings, insurgency and armed robbery.

It has reached a crescendo, making some governors become regular visitors in the bramble forest in their domain, in search for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and other agreements with armed bandits.

It beats my imagination trying to rationalise a scenario where a governor will wake up, assemble a team of Police personnel and other security details, hopped into his vehicle in a long convoy drive deep into the forest, to strike a deal with bandits. And the bandit at the other end is feeling on top of the world, waiting to receive the almighty governor and his coterie of aides in his rickety conclave, where sirens are forbidden under strict protocols.

The bandits, looking unkempt, armed with AK47, posed for reassuring photographs with the governor smiling away his folly, as if he has just won a visa lottery to God’s own country. And you see the security operatives in military and police fatigues, also smiling in ecstasy, to their collective follies in the forest of so many demons and bandits. The bandits called the shots in their jungle. There are boundaries not to cross.

There are limited number of persons permitted within the precinct of the bandits’ palatial conclave in the forest. Another industry has just been officially commissioned by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, the President’s home state. It is the industry run by the bandits in a trade by barter system where abductors are exchanged from both the side of the government and the bandits.

When Governor Masari successfully returned to base from his journey to the forest, a few transactions were struck. It was reported that some persons who have been captured before now were released while the government also opened the prison doors to set free bandits who have earlier been arrested.

It is possible that after series of transactions by barter system, the parties to the MoU may choose a date for their Annual General Meeting (AGM), whether in the Government House or in the familiar forest, to re-assess the ‘growth’ and ‘performance’ of this ‘business enterprise’. But reports of other abductions may simply put spanners in the work. And that has already set the awful tone to this barbaric engagement.

When questions are asked at closed quarters, the information is that state governors have become helpless in the hands of bandits and kidnappers. As Chief Executives of their state, they have no power to give directive to the security agencies in their domain, but when the trip to the forest was consummated, operatives of the Nigeria Police and Military, accompanied the governor. Does any state governor have the capacity and freedom to initiate a security architecture that would be a response to the insecurity challenges confronting him in the state? Irrespective of what the narrative might be from the presidency down to the states, the indices of our national development are essentially in the negatives.

Growth rate is appalling, our GDP growth is becoming ridiculous, investment is rapidly dropping, the population of unemployed, able-bodied youths, is growing in geometric proportion, interest rate is still at two digits, inflation rate is alarming, while the gains earlier recorded in agriculture pre-APC era, has nosedived owing to kidnapping activities and farmers/herders clashes.

The farmlands have become endangered zones because of herders and farmers clashes, coupled with kidnapping activities. Added to this is the huge figures of returnees from South Africa and Libya, as a result of xenophobia and its associated virus. Nigeria has never been this troubled.

Nigeria has never been this agitated in contending with its developmental challenge. The hunger in the land is alarming. The deprivation is debilitating. The poverty of ideas in government circle has compounded the poverty in the homes of Nigerians. Education is in shambles, health sector is in comatose, road infrastructure is decayed, while the economy is awkwardly struggling to walk straight.

Insurgency has eaten deep into the fabric of the populace in the North-East, while the military formations appear overstretched because of the plethora of engagements they are compelled to undertake. Frustration has taken over enthusiasm, while despondency has overtaken patriotism that should fire the adrenaline of national development. Killings and hopelessness have become the operative nuance in a country with rudderless leadership and its pliant followership.

There is anger in the land. There is frustration in the land. There is poverty. There is hopelessness. There is hunger and street begging has dominated our streets more than ever before. The country is appearing to be a rudderless ship battling to remain afloat. All the visible indices of a failed state are becoming instructive on a daily basis in Nigeria.

While President Buhari talked about bailing out 100 million Nigerians from poverty in 10 years, the Vice President reduced the figure to 10 million Nigerians, contradictions that spoke volume of the internal disconnect of a presidency that runs in circles. Despite assurances of a bailout, job losses are on the increase amid a growing unemployment figures that should worry any serious government in a new world order.

It is in recognition of these ills and failings in this government that the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal should have quashed the victory of President Buhari for a breath of fresh air. Rather, the tribunal went forum shopping for evidences that do not exist to rationalise and ratify its unpopular verdict, ignoring very copious evidences that were tendered before it. Nigerians are becoming refugees in their own country.

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across the country has never assumed this huge figure. Yet, the circus continues unabated with each geopolitical zone, finding meaning with self-help measures to combat crimes and criminalities. Nigeria needs urgent help.

The president needs help, urgently too. The easiest and only way to ease out this non-performing government is for the Supreme Court to speak to the issues of electoral fraud, the merit and not technicality that has taken the shine off the Court of Appeal verdict. Visuals of little kids holding plates in their hands in search for food only breeds emotional trauma and sense of nostalgia in the minds of the people. With Nigeria’s abundant resources coupled with our human capital development, we should have no reason to continue to agonise and lament in the face of plenty.

But when a leadership has acquired a feudal status, the courage to caution the leadership in the face of wanton demolition of the nation’s moral fibre, for the love of country, becomes a matter of self-judgement.

It is a statement of fact that Nigeria is bleeding on all fronts. The APC is lost in the middle of nowhere, trying to make meaning with its political power. Its chieftains are more interested in what happens in 2023 than getting its acts together presently to chart a road map. The contestation for 2023 election is more attractive to a party of supposed progressives than contestation of ideas that could generate the uncommon initiative to bail out the country. Just like I did tell a few friends last week after the PEPT verdict, this is the era of affidavit than certificate.

It is a verdict that has given me the leeway to acquire the title of a professor, backed up by an affidavit. Since the tribunal says there is no need to show evidence of certificates obtained, insofar there is an affidavit, it is as good as saying INEC should eradicate form CF001, to save taxpayers’ money in preparation for elections.

In a country of different tribes and tongues, it will be difficult to attain homogeneity of purpose, when different standards apply to different geopolitical zones in the leadership recruitment process. What is F9 in some zones, is a pass mark in others. That is what you get when ethnic emotions override national emotions. Indeed, “Affidavit Pass Certificate”, APC, such ingenious coinage that says it all.

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To curb xenophobic attacks, tell the truth

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To curb xenophobic attacks, tell the truth

 

T

he recurring decimal of xenophobic attacks in South Africa would have been nipped in the bud if the truth had been allowed to prevail. Since the end of apartheid rule in 1994, South Africa had experienced escalating xenophobia because of the failure by the governments to be decisive in nipping the crisis in the bud by sitting on the fence. Many deaths and uprising could have been averted had the appropriate authorities acted promptly and honestly.

 

Over the years, the assault and hostilities had continued as black South Africans continue to kill fellow black Africans. In 2017, South African security agents were openly blamed for looking the other way as a Nigerian was molested while the police were implicated in extrajudicial killings. Two years earlier, the Zulu king, Goodwill Swelithini had derogatorily described foreigners in a hate speech as ‘lice’ that ‘should be plucked out and left in the sun’ and ‘requesting those who came from outside to please go back to their countries.’

 

The Chief Executive Officer of newly-established Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri, said that in 2016 alone, 118 Nigerians were killed extra-judicially in South Africa. Some of the celebrated murder cases include that of a former Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu, who was mysteriously found dead in her hotel room. Before Ndubusi-Chukwu’s attack was the killing of Dennis Obiaju, a 17-year-old high school student, who was fatally shot dead. Life of black foreigners had become so cheap that they are being slaughtered like animals in South Africa. Many casualties are not recorded officially.

 

Even though, the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa and other African leaders of having condemned the mayhem, what cannot be wished away is the fact that the unending attacks can be said to represent a monumental failure to stop the maltreatment of Africans by Africans. Ramaphosa and other South African leaders never agreed that their citizens were doing the wrong thing by killing and looting shops and business interests of other nationals. They are sitting on the fence and not telling the bitter truth by condemning the violence and the perpetrators.

 

The Nigerian government has equally been accused of being slow or failing to provide enough protection for its citizens whenever they are unjustly treated abroad, using all available diplomatic weapons. To counter the criticism, the Nigerian government, this time around, took swift action by boycotting the last World Economic Forum on Africa, sending a special envoy to the South African leader and summoning the country’s High Commissioner to Nigeria. There have also been intensified calls by individuals and corporate interests suggesting that South African businesses should be nationalised in the country. Despite the big-brother role Nigeria had played in the past, as a frontline country, to end racial segregation and bring down the white-minority apartheid regime in South Africa, it is curious and unacceptable that Nigerians are now targets of attacks from its benefactor.

 

No amount of diplomatic rigmarole can abate the carnage until and unless parties agree to stop sitting on the fence and tell each other the truth that xenophobia is evil. The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Monroe had denied reports of any xenophobic attacks in his country. The envoy simply described the attacks as “sporadic acts of violence,” adding that businesses belonging to other South Africans were also affected in the violence. In the usual manner, the import of Monroe’s statement is that there is nothing special or spectacular about the tragedy against Nigerians. This is being economical with the truth and would end nowhere other than worsening the problem. 

 

 

Telling the truth is what would bring about justice. Denials, passing-the-buck, and trading blame would not yield anything positive. Doing the needful, Catholic Bishops of South Africa have boldly disclosed that the claim by South African authorities, suggesting that the attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners were not xenophobic, was mischievous, incorrect and misleading. Archbishop Buti Tigagale of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference Office for Migrants and Refugees had boldly stated that what happened was xenophobic. Acting as the voice of the voiceless, Tigagale said the bishops were dismayed and condemned the violence.

 

 

“Once again, we receive reports of the authorities doing very little to protect the victims. We received the report of police standing by idly in Pretoria while shops were looted and people attacked. Not a single arrest was made on that day. The authorities resort to the old explanation that this is not xenophobia, but the work of criminal elements. Let us be absolutely clear; this is not an attempt by concerned South Africans to rid our cities of drug dealers. And this is not the work of a few criminal elements. It is xenophobia, plain and simple. If it was about drugs, why are South African drug dealers not being targeted as well? Are we really to believe that there are none? And why are drug addicts, who rob people in our city centres to get money to buy drugs, not being targeted? If it is the work of a few criminal elements, why are South African owned businesses not being looted as well?” the bishops said.

 

 

The move by the Federal Government in the evacuation of stranded Nigerians and the rare show of patriotism and generosity by Mr. Allen Onyeama, who fully sponsored the airlifting of stranded Nigerians, is commendable. The South African government must address the unending hostility fueling the deprivation of its citizens such as insecurity, education, hunger, unemployment, and housing. The reality is that the restive youths expect succour from the state, following the end of apartheid, but were neglected. Rather than looking inwards, they became envious of fellow black African foreigners that were doing well in business and more prosperous through hard work, thereby appealing to female suitors. African governments should be up-and-doing by improving their economic fortunes that is fuelling illegal migration of their citizens from home in the quest for greener pastures. For the huge loss, the government of South Africa should be made to pay compensations for the losses and killings while culprits should not be shielded, but apprehended and punished.

 

 

The government needs to go a step further by enforcing a state of emergency and red alerts whenever foreigners are being attacked. They should stop sitting on the fence, tell the truth and face the issues squarely. Our continent would continue to lag as long as governments continue to sit on the fence; a situation deplored in Lenrie Peters’ poem titled, The Fence, “Where the body ages relentlessly and only the feeble mind can wander back there I lie in open-souled amasement.” According to Peters, there is an endless battle between the ‘truth and untruth’ because human beings are naturally inclined to tell lies when only the truth is called for, especially if truth-speaking would not be to their advantage. That is where the role of Catholic bishops everywhere becomes indispensable as the real voice of the voiceless.

 

 

By always telling the truth and avoiding sitting on the fence in promoting good governance, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) admits that Nigeria and Nigerians are deeply sorry for the wrong use of divine and naturally endowed gifts and blessing through acts of injustice, bribery, and corruption, as a result of which many of our people are hungry, sick ignorant and defenseless. Not only that, it is trite that we are weighed down not only by uncertainties but also by moral, economic and political problems that spur many people to flee our dear country. Getting xenophobia behind us requires one strong thing; stop sitting on the fence and telling the truth!

 

 

λKupoluyi writes from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) via adewalekupoluyi@yahoo.co.uk

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The leadership lessons from the life and times of Robert Mugabe

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The leadership lessons from the life and times of Robert Mugabe

 

The life and times of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe present very interesting lessons for despotic, authoritarian, absolutist and dictatorial African leaders.

 

That life is vanity upon vanity, all equals to vanity. That no leader transports to heaven or hell, when he dies, brute force, greed, avarice, power, money, influence, body guards, siren-blaring, motorcade, property, wealth, women, mistresses, opulence, bootlickers, praise singers, etc.

 

That a leader, like any other person, dies and leaves this world empty-handed, desolate, deserted, lonely, and as poor as a church rat, in the same poor state he had come into this world. He is buried alone six feet in the ground, forgotten by all, detested by the unfortunate recipients of his misgovernance, cursed by his traduces, or praised, euologised and canonized by all, if he governed well. That it is a leader’s positive impact on his people, especially the vulnerable, the poor, hapless and hopeless peasants, the rejected hoi-polloi and the denied and dejected Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”, that determines his place and space in history. Some are remembered for the vilest of historical misdeeds and misgovernance.

 

Some are remembered for the greatest deeds of nobility. Late President Mugabe, who had started well and zoomed into the consciousness of his people and the world from the latter angle, when he helped save his beleaguered people, ended up consigned into the ignoble pantheon and historical oblivion of the former. Such is life. Such are the lessons for our African leaders who play tin gods, who believe that their imperiousness and power inebriation will last forever. No, it will not. Power is like the vapour of the sky. It apparent now and disappeareth the next moment. A word is enough for the wise. To say more will be otiose.

 

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS ON NIGERIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THE INACTION OF NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT (Part 1) INTRODUCTION

 

The apartheid era in South Africa saw Nigeria as one of the foremost supporters of anti-apartheid movements, including the African National Congress.

 

It is on record that Nigeria spent well over sixty-one billion US dollars in fighting apartheid in South Africa. Nigeria has since been in the fore front in peace keeping operations in South Africa and other African countries with devastating effect on her human and material resources.

 

The Nigerian government issued more than 300 passports to South Africans seeking to travel abroad during the apartheid era. Sunny Okosun, the late popular Nigerian musician, wrote the hit song “Fire in Soweto” in 1977 to commemorate the 1976 Soweto uprising against apartheid in South Africa.

 

He waxed others for our brothers and sisters in Southern Africa: “Which Way Nigeria”, “Papa’s land”, “No More Wars”, “Tire Ni Oluwa”, etc. In fact, all Nigeria’s Civil Servants and public officers made a 2% donation from their monthly salary to the Southern Africa Relief Fund (SAFR).

 

These donations were widely known in Nigeria then as the “Mandela tax”. Nigeria even boycotted the 1976 Olympics and Commonwealth Games in 1979 to protest against this hideous apartheid system. The Nigerian government and her people contributed over $10.5m to the SARF.

 

These included students. In 1960, the Nigerian government set up the National Committee Against Apartheid (NACAP). It provided about $5 million to the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) annually. Nigeria later founded the SAFR in 1976 to enable her bring relief materials to Apartheid victims.

 

When apartheid eventually ended in 1994, several South African businesses sought for Nigerian professionals to immigrate and help build their battered economy.

 

Over 24,000 Nigerians are estimated to be currently living in South Africa. Much of South Africa’s good will towards Nigerians for supporting the ANC during apartheid suddenly disappeared due to wrong perception by most South Africans as a result of activities of some Nigerian organised crime in their land. Truth be told, many Nigerians have engaged in criminal activities. But, this can never be justification for taking it out on all Nigerians, most of whom are innocent, clean and hardworking.

 

THE TERM, XENOPHOBIA

 

“Xenophobia” is a singular term used to describe the irrational fear developed against foreign elements, which manifests in hatred, discrimination and violence against such foreign elements. The recent horrific and agonizing wave of xenophobia which has swept through South Africa is mostly directed at Nigerians.

 

The tragedy of Elizabeth Ndubuisi- Chukwu marked the commencement of a reign terror against Nigeria. She was murdered in cold blood through xenophobia anger, and strangled in a hotel room in Johannesburg. Elizabeth’s only crime was being a Nigerian, a non-South African.

 

Till date, the culprits are still walking freely on the streets of South Africa. Businesses of non-nationals, especially Nigerians, have been vandalized, looted and burnt in areas around Johannesburg, including the Central Business District and the township of Alexandra.

 

The glaring failure of the government of South African to deal with the rampaging blood-thirsty crowds is seen by many as a tacit endorsement of the advocacy. South Africans have been attacking foreign nationals, particularly Nigerians, whom they scapegoat as the reason for rising rate of crime in their society and diminishing jobs and social benefits.

 

One wonders how Nelson Mandela would be feeling in his cold desolate grave. His idea of a truly democratic and free South Africa anchored on a society where all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities, is furlong and distant.

 

The increasing competition between the two countries for positions at multilateral organisations across the globe appear to have worsened relations between Nigeria and South Africa. Nigeria has been championing the course of South Africa without corresponding benefits to her national interest.

 

Nigeria’s foreign policy should be “Nigeria! Nigeria!! Nigeria!!! No more, no less.

 

NOW THIS

 

As we speak, Nigerians are being cheaply maimed in large number. Our government cannot forestall same. Many have been killed. By way of mutual retaliations, some South African brands and interests are currently facing attacks as their shops are being closed in fellow African nations such as Nigeria and Zambia. More worrisome is that just between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died in South Africa in identified xenophobic attacks. In May, 2008, a series of attacks motivated by xenophobia left 62 people dead.

 

 

In 2015, another nationwide spike in xenophobic attacks against immigrants in general prompted a number of foreign governments to begin repatriating their citizens.

 

The Nigerian government led by President Buhari has been virtually helpless about these gruesome and unprovoked killings, looting, and arson of properties belonging to Nigerians. Most Nigerians were shocked by the irrational action of authorities at the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, when they locked the gates against our compatriots in the face of bloody attacks. This left them to the cruelty and savagery of their assailants.

 

AND THIS

 

A report credited to the CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri, said as at 2016, 118 Nigerians had been killed extra-judicially in South Africa, while an additional 88 had been killed since then.

 

These orgies of violence against Nigerians have been continuous because the Nigerian government has been too weak in defending Nigerians and Nigerian interest. The glaring failure of government to run an economy that provides jobs and reduces poverty has also greatly contributed to the mass exodus of Nigerians abroad where they are faced with human carnage. If our government were to be alive to its responsibilities, the government of South Africa would have been made to pay heavy and deterrent compensation and make restitution for the killings of Nigerians, This would have awaken the South African government to their responsibility to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians and other Africans in that country. (To be continued).

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

“There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people.”

 

(Nelson Mandela). LAST LINE I thank numerous readers across the globe for always keeping faith with the Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project, by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D. I enjoin you to look forward to next week’s bumper treatise. We must revive our history. It helps us renew and rediscover ourselves and eschew past mistakes.

 

Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN

 

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