Among his many acts of notoriety in recent memory, Nyesom Wike’s more memorable absurdity concerned the judiciary. Not the recent shellacking from the tribunal at the weekend. Of course, it was a major one as it signals the beginning of the end of an infamy.
The story concerns a visit to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was not an august visitor, and very curiously he kept it a secret that he was not welcome into that majestic vault of justice. But as things sometimes happen in the comic flow of Nigerian politics, it burst into the open air.
His excuse? That he wanted to pay a visit to the supreme man of law in the country without any form of notification. This column lashed out at him, and noted that he lacked the wisdom, savoir-faire and temperament to be governor.
He knew he had a case in court. His so-called election as governor was under adjudication by officers under the control of the man. Yet he tried to sneak a visit on him.
A man who did not understand the obstacle of conflict of interest in such high office as governor was a small foot in a large shoe. But how could we blame him? Under his former boss and President Goodluck Jonathan, he wrote the script of recklessness. He was in cahoots with Mama Peace to turn the state into a classic swath of anarchy, undermining the governor, supporting gangsters, whipping up tribal antipathy and stoking the flames of blood and death.
When April 11 came, this column knew that it was going to be a difficult proposition to witness an election. A nightmarish parody of it alone stood tall in the imagination of expectation.
Barely four hours into the polls, I placed calls to persons I knew lived in town, some journalists and others conscientious observers. “This is not an election,” said one of them in horror. “It is war.” “I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said another. “How did Nigeria turn this way?” asked a third.
The facts were confirmed by many news reports. Yet, when the Independent National Electoral Commission amassed its data, it affirmed Wike as governor. That was the tragedy of it. The law, as we know it, allowed Attahiru Jega to declare as legitimate what was palpably evil. The devil wore the toga of saint and the heavens said amen.
For all his heroics and defiance of the Jonathan crowd, Jega actually presided over a flawed system. It is a pity that he appended his signature to the bloodstained victories. He pled helplessness. He could not contradict the resident electoral officers or their subordinates.
But as a moral being, I expect him to have raised a righteous voice over the permissiveness of our law. He should have told us that the law has made many saints devil and vice versa. He should have explained his constraints. He should have come out as an exemplar of complaint about a law that sanctified the wrong while the right sulked in silence. He had often said the right thing was to go to tribunals. We experienced this during the Anambra State governorship poll. If he kept mute in office, he should have screamed out of it.
It left all those who know the truth to wonder aloud in a parody of Shylock in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, “Is that the law?”
It took the court, not the electoral process, to tell the truth about Wike and his false victory. Meanwhile Wike had taken over office and inaugurated a regime of revanchism. He wanted Amaechi’s head. He had to dig up something, set up a committee, rile his predecessor with whom he was friend and partner, and on whose back he rose and the same back he stabbed.
Knowing that Amaechi no longer had immunity, Wike launched an attack of impunity with a view to unearthing impurity. Whose impurity? Wike’s or Amaechi’s? The goal was to anoint himself and send Amaechi to hell. Hell also meant he would not be minister. Well, he has stumbled twice. Within a week, he has failed to win in legislature and judiciary. Amaechi’s ministerial screening is going well in the Senate and Wike just lost his gubernatorial dreams in the court. That means he may be kicked out of the executive soon. Montesquieu’s theory of separation of powers seems to be on song. The three branches seem to be working in partnership to decouple Wike and his wiles from the seat of power.
A few fireworks rang through the media waves in the wake of the tribunal verdict. Wike is appealing, and he would fight the battle to the end. So he now knows the value of rule of law. He should have asked his supporters to do so on April 11, and the result, whichever way it went, would have been clear to all. “To obey is better than sacrifice,” said the good book. We have gone through a lot of sacrifice to get here. Many have died, confidence in our system shaken, lots of resources splurged that should go to somewhere else.
It seemed victory is about to repeat itself. In the case of Amaechi, one Owu chief said his case had K-leg. I think citizens with knocked knee are good looking and they should have caviled at the man for a slur about their physical condition. Any way, justice and law loved the lineament of K-leg and it won the beauty contest. Hence Amaechi became governor.
Peterside Dakaku, the APC candidate, may well be the second coming of the beauty contest. He has won round won. Once the bikini contest is over, we shall know that both contestants have nothing to hide from the crowns of their heads to the soles of their feet. And the winner will waltz gracefully to the crown.
It may then be a sort of invocation of the title of one of the great works of short fiction by Flannery O’connor: “The lame shall enter first.” First can be defined in two ways. It could mean the lame shall enter first before the whole enters. Which means the moral lameness of Wike enters first, so a whole Dakuku’s whole enters later. The first, as Christ said, shall be the last. The second interpretation may be the lame shall enter first, meaning the top position. The lame here could stand for the oppressed in the same the way OBJ described Amaechi’s K-leg. In either case, it’s Dakuku’s hope. So will Wike cope?