By Miabiye Kuromiema
My Dear Elder Brother and Friend
I read through excerpts of your advice, part of which I have posted hereunder. You are aware how much I respect you and have worked on some national issues with you. The last of which was the outing to mark my 40th birthday held at Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt. Working with Wale Okuniyi, we had pulled together some of the best and leading minds in our beloved country, The platform was National Consensus Group for a National Constitutional Dialogue Campaign process.
Yourself among many others; few of who include Ben Nwabueze, Akin Oyebode, Okoronmu, Amb Ogbueuzu, Tunji Abayomi and other leading figures, honoured me at that birthday meeting. For over two days we sat to discuss issues surrounding a framework that should influence a national constitutional conference. That process led to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan setting up Okoronmu’s committee to which Tunji Abayomi was member and subsequently advised the Jonathan Government on the National Dialogue.
Why have I laid down this foundation? It is that we believed in our country and from a seeming event of the 40th birthday, we contributed to influence the most robust and comprehensive national debate spanning months of engagement that produced what arguable remains the best recommendation for systematic and progressive initiative to recalibrate our country.
You cannot deny that, the elections of 23rd February was rigged and badly marred with many irregularities. You are one Nigerian that has stood for justice. Only weeks back your insistence had provided inspiration to many Nigerians over the infraction on the independence of the Judiciary. In fact you initiated not just a petition to the NJC but instituted a case at the supreme court seeking interpretation of the provision of the Constitution relevant to the removal of the CJN.
It is very disappointing that you seem to have being caught in battle fatigue. Your advise to Atiku could have being privately communicated. But you have chosen to play to the gallery and seeking attention from the Government of Muhammadu Buhari who is sure to fail. More importantly your advice given your status as a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a significant one at that built upon your long standing credentials as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and battles tested in the Struggle for a better Nigeria right from your student day. It will seem that this action of yours is intended to weaken the drive for contesting the push to challenge what clearly was the most damming electoral fraud in Nigeria After June 12.
You may have signalled your fall, joining all the many stars falling off the galaxy of the Nigeria horizon. Your advice is ill conceived and should not have come from you. Even if you had to, you could have done so privately to Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. This is in my view poor sense of historic possibility in contributing to the electoral jurisprudence of Nigeria. At no time has a contestant to the office of President of Nigeria been so resolved, resourced, experienced and deliberate in organizing his campaign and pulling facts and information with which to challenge clearly rigged elections.
You have disappointed your reputation among many Nigerian. You may be shocked how far reaching this will impact on you. But to Atiku, win or loss this case, He will be stronger as a Statesman and promoter and defender of democratic values just like Jonathan in an alternative sense. He is sure to provide rich legal experience for the country. And if the Justices of the Supreme Court find enough courage to respond to a diligently prosecuted case. Nigeria will make History, the way we made History with President Jonathan conceding to President Buhari.
Atiku, I must encourage to challenge the case in court and keep Nigeria passion for democratic justice alive.
You may move forward to Join Buhari’s legal team to see how you can get your advice play out beyond an imagined world. But let the legal fireworks commence. God willing we shall win in some way.
Agbakoba advising Atiku:
“I feel that going to court will not necessarily prove that the election was marred by massive irregularities….
“…Petitions are based on two types of issues. One is the electoral malpractice.
“The other is a tactical issue. From what I can see, the petition will be based on electoral malpractice.
“This is an extremely difficult thing to say. How do you prove that the votes in the South-East were reduced and who is responsible? INEC? APC?
“I would rather say Atiku should maintain the status quo of a statesman than descend into the arena of the court of law.”
Miabiye Kuromiema, a former President of the Ijaw Youth Council, wrote in from Texas.