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Supreme Court Judgement: A Lost Chance to Salvage Democracy - Atiku Abubakar

Posted by Guardian Nigeria on 2008/12/12 | Views: 1343 |

Supreme Court Judgement: A Lost Chance to Salvage Democracy - Atiku Abubakar


This morning, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, rejected my appeal and that of my party (AC) against the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the validity of the 2007 Presidential election. Millions of Nigerians had looked forward to the Supreme Court to salvage our country's faltering democracy, which was shamelessly mutilated through the scandalous conduct of the 2007 elections.

- A statement by Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the Action Congress in the 2007 election

This morning, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, rejected my appeal and that of my party (AC) against the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the validity of the 2007 Presidential election. Millions of Nigerians had looked forward to the Supreme Court to salvage our country's faltering democracy, which was shamelessly mutilated through the scandalous conduct of the 2007 elections.

Such hope, has however, been dashed by today's decision of the Supreme Court, which re-affirmed the election of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).

In recognition of the fact that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter in this case, I have no choice as a democrat but to accept the verdict. The debate about the rightness or wrongness of today's verdict in favor of the ruling party will linger, especially at a time the Judiciary is widely regarded as the last hope of the common man. That chance has been lost today but the Supreme Court Justices will in the coming days face a critical public scrutiny.

Given the desperation of the ruling party to retain power at all cost, the verdict of the Supreme Court was not altogether unexpected, especially considering media news reports which made allegations of behind-the-scenes manipulation to ensure the President retains his illegitimate and controversial victory.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court Judgment in 2000 which confirmed President George Bush Junior as duly elected, one Justice Scallion, argued that the real loser of the verdict was not Al Gore's, the Democratic challenger to Mr. Bush, but the will of the American voters, which was invalidated by electronic counting machines.

Today, we are faced with a similar situation. We invested enormous time and resources to ensure we achieved justice at the highest level of the nation's Judiciary. But alas, that genuine hope was scuttled.

Our democracy is the real loser because there are widespread fears that desperate politicians could be emboldened to continue rigging future elections with increasing audacity. This verdict is not a personal loss to me but a collective loss of all Nigerians who were prevented from freely choosing their leader in that election.

It is well known that local and international observers had noted that the election was characterized by widespread ballot stuffing, ballot snatching, manipulation, intimidation, harassment of opponents as well as open violence, resulting in the massive hijack of the People's mandate.

In fact, the President openly acknowledged at his inauguration on 29th May 2007, that the elections were deeply flawed. With the Supreme Court decision today, such monumental flaws and irregularities have been given a stamp of approval, thus sending the wrong message to desperate politicians who may now find themselves strengthened to assault the mandate of the people with more effrontery.

I salute the courage of the minority opinion which upheld my appeal-a position that is consistent with the local and international opinion on the sham elections.


Let me end this statement by remembering the immortal words of Usman Dan Fodio, that conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it.

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown