Is that justice? Well, let’s examine it. Arise has been addressed as a senator of the Federal Republic for two years plus, a title he was not qualified to bear. He has illegitimately earned taxpayers money as salary and emoluments during the period. He has claimed cash as travelling allowance even though he was an impostor. At the last guber re-run in Ekiti, he even hired thugs and armed police to do his bidding. He must have terrorised hapless citizens during that election, all at public expense. And for all that, all he is being asked to do by the courts is to return to the trenches and fortify himself for what he himself has described as a walk-over. He is not to forfeit any money he has ‘earned’ illegitimately to the federal government of Nigeria. In fact, on a banal level, he can still be addressed as Senator whether or not he returns, according to the norms of the Senate.
This is not the first time that this has happened. In Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu, an academic had his mandate challenged by Olusegun Mimiko, a medical doctor who vied against him in 2007. He sat pretty in office, continued to work as a governor and even used government money to pay his lawyers (perhaps) while the case lasted. With tax payer’s money, he bought himself unnecessary adjournments at public expense, its like adding salt to a festering sore. At the end of the day, his mandate was voided, like Arise, with a slap on the wrist.
We move to Edo State, where Osarheimen Osunbor, a senior advocate of Nigeria held sway in the state as governor also on a stolen mandate as the court decided. But he still kept it for two years, fighting to remain on that stolen seat at public expense. At the end of the day, the courts kicked him out. He is to have his picture in government house as an ex-governor, not just for the first term that he ‘legitimately’ won, but even for two stolen years. Obviously these people would benefit from generous severance packages and other emoluments like all ex-governors. This is horrible unjust justice. Unfortunately, it is also unjusticiable.
It’s a shame that justice can be so unjust, unfortunately because courts only grant the prayers brought before it and no more. We need to change that rule. But can our lame duck and indolent legislature be persuaded to do this? Especially knowing that majority of them are sitting on stolen mandates? That’s a discussion for another day. All the same, we should clamour for the adjustment of our statute books to make sure that those who steal public trust and earn unmerited status are made to pay very dearly for it. Such people should have their illegal tenure expunged from the history of our country at all levels. They should be shamed. He should never be allowed again to hold public office and should not be entitled to a dime from public purse as pension or gratuity. The fact that they had stolen mandates makes them no better than common thieves and criminals.
Those who fail such rulings should be totally removed from the nominal role. They should not be electable and should never put their signature or their thumbprint on any electoral paper as long as they live. They are actually worse than convicts. They contribute to the destruction of the very fabrics of democracy that we all appear to support. It is also needless to say that they should not be entitled to keep their titles. In fact, if we are a serious nation, we should collate all the monies that they have collected in their ill-gotten terms and ask them to pay back and if they have no money, they should have their wealth auctioned as deterrent. Allowing them to go scot free as we now do is akin to allowing an armed robber to keep his loot and saying that his conviction is enough. This nation must continue to reinvent the wheel for as long as there are people who make the wheel unusable.