ADEWALE ADEOYE writes on what Nigerians should expect from the Supreme Court over the decision of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23 presidential election.
The final judgment on who won the 2019 Presidential election is crucial to the future of democracy in Nigeria. The Supreme Court is set to deliver the judgement which will be final. Nigerians are waiting anxiously. This will come after the Court of Appeal Judgment.
The outcome of the judgment is predictable based on certain natural, historical factors and most importantly, the Philosophy of Law. The Supreme court is traditionally an extention of Bourgeois politics.
First is the Theory of Precedence: The judges will be guided by Precedence.
It has never happened in Nigeria since independence that a sitting President will be asked to leave by judicial pronouncement based on legal dispute initiated by the opposition. This may happen in the future but it will not happen in 2019.
The Judges are human beings. Their decisions will also be influenced by the Theory of Circumstance. What do I mean? President Buhari has set his cabinet, he has been ruling the country for his second term since May 29 this year.
He has met the Senate and House of Representatives. He has been representing Nigeria across the world. He has made policy pronouncements. Secondly, under the Theory of Circumstance, there are not enough public outcries to show that Buhari didn’t win the election, no public demonstrations and no visible and quantifiable mass disenchantment targeting the President and informed by outrage over the outcome of the election both locally and internationally.
This will tilt the ruling in favour of President Buhari. Most Nigerians are suffering serious economic afflictions, they want a viable alternative, but they appear not to see the PDP as the alternative since party politics in Nigeria is only different in form but the same in content. Yet, the masses have no political party of their own.
The other consideration is the Theory of Substantial Compliance. The election was flawed in certain areas, not in all areas, so the Judges will consider the fact that those areas of dispute are not Substantial enough to move the pendulum in favour of Atiku.
So, I see the judges pulling the rug off Atiku’s feet.
The last is the Theory of Consequence. The Judges will weigh the consequence of cancellation of the election or ordering a fresh election.
If Buhari is declared as the loser, what are the consequences on stability of the country, economy, ethnic configuration and above all, the cost implication or the likely impact on stocks, the National Assembly and also on the psychology of the greater society.
While considering the Facts of Law, the Judges are bound by Facts of History and Facts of Political Economy which far outweigh every other consideration. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m a Teacher of lawyers. I read Philosophy.
I urge Atiku to look beyond the moment and concentrate on the future.
He is not likely to become the President of Nigeria, not now. He should be commended for exhausting the provisions of law instead of resorting to self help.
For now, Nigerians should fasten their belts and be prepared to endure the Buhari administration for another almost four years with all its ups and downs.
In the future, there should be constitutional amendment. The Supreme Court should give judgment before resumption of the new President.