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The Oracle

President Buhari Cannot Overrule the Supreme Court



By Prof. Mike A. A. Ozekhome, SAN, CON, OFR, FCIArb, LL.M, Ph.D, LL.D, D.Litt.

Buhari in his broadcast on Thursday, February 16, 2023, unilaterally varied the apex court’s extant order of maintenance of status quo, by directing the CBN Governor to the effect that “the old N200 banknotes be released back into circulation…to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500 and N1000 bank notes for 60 days…”. The President then issued a dicta, more in the form of a military Decree, that, “in line with section 20 (3) of the CBN Act, 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated prints”.

This order is a clear violation of and disobedience to the existing order of the apex court which had already maintained the status quo ante bellum of all parties involved in the Naira re-design dispute.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday, 15th February, 2023, after the first interim order, adjourned the suit originally filed by the Attorneys-General of Kano, Kogi and Zamfara States (other interested parties were later joined) to the 22nd of February, to enable it hear the entire matter holistically. Without saying so in many words, every person very well knew that this adjournment was a further elongation of its earlier interim order granted against the CBN and the Federal Government, represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation; restraining it from carrying out its directives that the old naira notes would cease to be legal tender by 10th of February, 2023. The order was to have lasted till 15th February, 2023. During the proceedings of that day, the matter was again adjourned to 22nd February, for full hearing. Every Nigerian had expected that the Federal Government would respect this apex court’s position. But President Buhari demurred. He made himself Supreme Leader; an Emperor; Potentate, Mikado and Overlord.

Buhari’s broadcast to the Nation therefore, literally overruled the Supreme Court of the land, in a way and manner only a military tyrant could ever contemplate. Buhari’s action is a reminder of the apocryphal saying of autocratic and despotic Emperor Louis XIV, who, on 13th April, 1655, stood in front of Parliament and imperiously declared, “L’Etat C’est Moi (I am the State)”. This was to underline the fact that he and he alone, had absolute power over his Nation. His father had abdicated the throne due to mass protests. Louis XIV himself met the same fate. His reign over France and Navarre was short lived. It only lasted for 20 minutes, after which he too abdicated the throne.
Buhari’s imperious order was a frontal call to chaos, anarchy and national upheaval. It was a direct assault on the authority of the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land; and also the head of the entire Judiciary, the 3rd arm of government under the doctrine of separation of powers, most ably popularized in 1748 by Baron de Montesque, a great French Philosopher.
To have whimsically and capriciously varied the order of the Supreme Court was to pick and choose what order to obey or disobey. This breaches the supremacy of the 1999 Constitution provided for in section 1(1) thereof. It also frontally assaults the provisions of section 287(1) of the Constitution which provides that “the decisions of the Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Supreme Court”.

Once given, an order of the court is binding on all. The Apex Court in ROSSEK V. ACB LTD (1993) 8 NWLR (Pt. 312) 382 at 434 re-stated the law to the effect that: “A judgment remains binding until it is set aside by a competent Court… To hold otherwise is to clothe a party against whom a judgment has been obtained with the discretion to decide, in his wisdom that the judgment is invalid and not binding on him. This to my mind, is an invitation to anarchy. I do not understand the law to be so.” – per Ogundare, JSC.

Also, in STATE v. SOLOMON (2020) LPELR-55598(SC), the Supreme Court held thus: “It is the law that a decision of a Court of competent jurisdiction, no matter that it is seems palpably null and void, unattractive or insupportable, remains good law and uncompromisingly binding until set aside by a superior Court of competent jurisdiction.”

The Supreme Court, in the case of ABACHA V. FAWEHINMI (2000) 6 NWLR (Pt. 660) 228 at page 317 E-F, held as follows:-
“A Court order must be obeyed and even if it is a nullity, it has to be set aside on appeal against it”. Per NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA, JSC (Pp 25 – 25 Paras D – E).
See also the locus classicus of GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE VS. OJUKWU (1986) 1 NWLR PT. 18, PG. 621.

This is one instance where the apex court should bare its teeth and bite. This is more so because President Buhari had himself acknowledged in his speech, the pendency of the matter before the Supreme Court. Surely, no one is above the law; not even President Muhammadu Buhari himself.

Buhari’s broadcast rather than be re-assuring and balming the frayed nerves of a traumatized citizenry and a beleaguered nation, was the exact opposite; a complete anti-climax. It was a clarion call for total disenchantment, disillusionment, despair and desolation. The speech was not only highly unpresidential; but was vividly insensate and insensitive to the suffering of Nigerian citizens, who, due to no fault of theirs, can neither now use the old currency, nor access the new one. Banks claim not to have the new currency in their vaults.

What manner of government would consciously and deliberately throw its country into a spin, and its citizens under the bus, in a policy that could have been handled with better planning and more decency, efficiency and human face? This is the first time in my life I watch Nigerians buy money with money – buying Naira with Naira – at exorbitant exchange rates.

When Queen Elizabeth II died in September, 2022, the British government set about changing its governance template to reflect the realities of the moment. It decided to change the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the British Pound Sterling to that of King Charles III, her son who had succeeded her. The effective take-off date of the new Pound Sterling was fixed for middle of 2024; nearly two years from the announcement of the change. There were no violent protests or any upheavals because the citizens immediately bought into the historic and laudable project, as it afforded them enough time to put their house in order.

How many Nigerians know that Queen’s Counsel (QC)(the equivalent of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has since been changed to King’s Counsel (KC); and that Queen’s English is now King’s English? We have seen the ugly scenes of frustrated Nigerians fighting at ATMs; or going completely nude; students and soldiers fighting each other; some POS holders being burnt alive; while Police shot and killed unarmed Nigerians. Are we a cursed Nation, that an otherwise beautiful policy whose fiscal, monetary, economic, and development advantages are unquantifiable should be so mishandled and so grossly messed up as to lead to widespread national protests; burning of banks; destruction; mayhem and killings. Just what is wrong with us as a Nation? I do not know; or do you?

The Russian Ruble which had been used since the 14th Century is the second-oldest currency in the world, next only to the British Sterling. Following the dissolution and fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Soviet Ruble remained the currency of the Russian Federation until 1992, when in 1993; a new set of coins was issued with a new set of banknotes in the name of the Bank of Russia. There were no killings and mayhem.

Chinese currency comes by two names – the Chinese Yuan (CNY) and the People’s Renminbi (RMB). The distinction is subtle: because while the Renminbi is the official currency of China, the Yuan is the principal unit of account for that currency.

Today, the Renminbi is one of the top-five most-used currencies in the world, in addition to the U.S. Dollar, Euro, Yen, and the British Pound. Yet, the Naira which is not even recognised as a legal tender in any part of the world is being used by the government to oppress and torment its citizens.

The Euro is the new ‘single currency’ of the European Monetary Union. Adopted on January 1, 1999, by 11 Member States. Greece became the 12th Member state to adopt the Euro on January 1, 2001. On January 1, 2002, these 12 countries officially introduced the Euro banknotes and coins as legal tender. Slovenia became the 13th member state to adopt the Euro on January 1, 2007.

Venezuela debuted with a new currency in 2018, a currency that featured six fewer zeros. This was a response to years of spirally inflation.

In December, 2019, eight West African countries agreed to change the name of their common currencies to ECO. This effectively severed these countries from the CFA Franc; and therefore, their former colonial masters. The countries are Benin, Burkina – Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

On January 1, 2023, Croatia joined the Euro Zone, replacing its Kuna with the Euro.
When these independent countries changed from their original currency to the new Euro, there was no ruckus; no brouhaha; no wahala, donnybrook or rhubarb.

Yet, some Nigerians, for political exigencies or correctness, are shamelessly celebrating a bare-faced assault on the common man and woman and the authority of the Supreme Court. This was the same way despotic Hitler of Germany was celebrated, applauded and deified during the third Reich, until it became irredeemably too late to retreat. Read the immortal words of Martin Niemoller (1892 – 1984), a German theologian and Lutheran Pastor who bemoaned Hitler’s atrocities and their debilitating effect on millions of Jews.

Though having a cashless economy appears quite inviting, appealing, titillating and tantalizing, it must be appreciated that advanced countries such as the UK, US and the EU that have full complement of infrastructure, still use coins. A cent in the US, or penny in the UK are still valued and in wide circulation. When last did you see one Kobo, five Kobo or ten Kobo coins in Nigeria? I have not seen any for years. Or have you?

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The Oracle: Quo Vadis Interim Government? (Pt. 2)




By Mike Ozekhome


In the 1st part of this expose, we started by asking the suggestion of an Interim Government in Nigeria amounts to Interim Nonsense. We, then, traced the catalyst of such an idea to Datti Baba-Ahmed interview, after which we rounded off the discussion by wondering whether Interm Governments are Coups in Disguise.

In this part, we shall start by concluding our discussion of the question whether Interim Governments are Coups in Disguise. We shall then examine the notion of Interim Governments holistically, starting with its definition; moving to factors which may necessitate them; and concluding with the Nigerian Experience thereof (not necessarily in that order). Please, read on.


This leaves the option of a military take-over – GOD FORBID! It is for this reason – and this reason alone -that patriots and lovers of democracy have raised their voices against the suggestion. I hereby humbly add mine. Yes, our experience in democracy since its return 24 years ago has been anything but stellar. I was in the trenches for years to drive the military back to their barracks – CLO, UDD, JACON, etc. I experienced its ugliest side in perspectives too horrific to narrate here. I readily concede that our flawed electoral process, notwithstanding successive legislative interventions in virtually every electoral cycle – has forced the hedgehog out of its burrow. Afterall, a frog does not run in the daytime for nothing. It is either after something or something is after it. The political class has repeatedly failed us. It has refused to get its acts together, notwithstanding that it would be the single biggest loser were democracy to be truncated yet again. However, I firmly believe none of these challenges and shortcomings is enough reason, in my humble opinion, to abandon the Nigerian contraption project, which at any rate, has forever been a work-in-progress.

Any suggestion that the solution to the glaringly evident flaws in the last bastardised “elections” (which are legion and nauseating), is an unconstitutional structure called an ‘Interim government’, would not only subvert the presumed will of the people, but would also replace an admittedly repulsive and compromised system with a raging amoebic monster, so grotesque that it’s precise form, shape and structure are unknown. Such an idea – if it ever sees the light of day – will, in all likelihood, not only make a bad situation infinitely worse; it might end up consuming all of us. It may open a Pandoras Box, whose contents are presently unimaginable. It is like opening a whitened sepulchre. Know it now that the fowl does sweat, but it is its feathers that prevent us from seeing its sweat. Having an interim government to me, is simply akin to a man who pours palm wine in the ground in the name of preserving it, but ends up getting the spirits drunk.

To put it bluntly, the idea of an Interim government (even if it was historically expedient 30 years ago during the military dictatorship of General Ibrahim Babangida), is simply unworkable under the present political dispensation. The situations are quite dissimilar. It is when the termite decides to fly like a bird that it enters into trouble.

This is because the circumstances in which the Ernest Shonekan interim government was installed in 1993 was the June 12, 1993 annulment of the Presidential elections won clearly by Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

The annulment was executed by the Babangida military junta. Such circumstances do not presently exist- unless the proponents of the ING are calling for the replication of the same scenario. Once again, God forbid! At any rate, that IG only lasted for barely 90 days, before it was promptly declared illegal by a Lagos High Court on 10th of November, 1993. According to late Hon. Justice Dalapo Akinsanya, the courageous Judge who declared the Shonekan ING illegal, the erstwhile military ruler, General Babangida, had no legitimate power to sign a Decree post-August 26, 1993, after his exit from power. She held that “the Decree by which the Interim National Government was established was void and of no effect”. The suit had been filed by the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election Chief M.K.O Abiola, who was not only prevented from governing Nigeria, but was also killed in hazy circumstances in Aso Villa. (See Ernest Shonekan and Interim National Governance in Nigeria; Oladiti Abiodun Kazeem on October, 03, 2014 < Accessed on 2nd April, 2023>). See the case of Madzimbamuto v. Lardner-Burke (1969) 1 AC 645.

The abhorrence of coup d’etat in Africa has since been formalised. On Monday, the 25th day of April, 2022, the representatives of the African Union (AU) Member States; members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU; AU Organs/ institutions and the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management, and Resolution (RECs/RMs); as well as the representatives of African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs); academic, professional bodies; youth and women groups; and other stakeholders, strongly condemned all forms of unconstitutional change of government in Africa, coup pepertrators and manipulation of democratic processes to effect constitutional amendments and urged all interested parties to address political concerns through the available national legal mechanisms to find solutions in a constructive, peaceful and constitutionally accepted manner.

To the extent that the circumstances in which interim governments are viable options, such as the India experience in the build-up to her independence in 1948) do not exist in Nigeria, to that extent must we remind ourselves of the dangers and bitter lessons of history in our previous unpalatable experience with that idea. If an unelected military junta could not sustain that Shonekan experiment, it is hard to see how a civilian government, which has just concluded a most shambolic general election can accomplish it. This government will never agree to hoist an interim government. Doing so will be self-immolatory. It will be tantamount to the story of a beetle – whether it rolls its dung forward or backward – it ends up rolling it into its burrow. An interim government, though called a government, is never a legitimate government. Surely, the alligator is not a crocodile, even though they look alike. The alligator is a mere infantry officer, while the crocodile is a Naval Admiral. It is only the tortoise that knows how best to carry its hard shell.

Let us now explore the world of IGs to show us why they are detestable. It is important at this juncture, to define exactly what an IG means.

According to the Institute for Integrated Transitions (See htpps://ifit-transitions-9rg; Interim Governments: Lessons and Guidelines, November, 2020<Accessed on 2/4/23), “an Interim government is a formally constituted government holding an extra-ordinary mandate to conduct governmental affairs for an extraordinary term lasting until the election of a new government for an ordinary term with an ordinary mandate.” The Institute adds that this definition excludes the following:
i Unelected governments established for an interim period without the promise of ordinary elections within a reasonable timeframe; and
ii Elected governments that remain provisionally in place as part of the ordinary process and rules for the transfer of power or the temporary filling of a conventional constitutional vacuum.
Also,, regarded an IG as “a provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government. It is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition generally in the cases of a newly formed state or following the collapse of the previous governing administration. Provisional governments are generally appointed, and frequently arise, either during or after civil or foreign wars. Provisional governments maintain power until a new government can be appointed by a regular political process, which is generally an election. They may be involved with defining the legal structure of subsequent regimes, guidelines related to human rights and political freedoms, the structure of the economy, government institutions, and international alignment.” Provisional government (See Wikipedia; https: //en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Provisional _ government).

Again, in one of its publications on March 30, 2023, had this to give as the meaning of interim government; “Therefore, an interim government is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition, sometimes in the case of a newly formed country or following the collapse of a previous administration. It can be an unelected government established for an interim period or an elected government that remains provisionally in place pending the successful conduct of an election. This can be at the state or federal level.” (See Interim Government; What you need to know – Simply Law;
We can therefore comfortably surmise that an interim government can only result or manifest in a situation where the norm, convention or legally institutionalized system and/or process fails. Interim governments from the definitions above and from the instances that will be analyzed in this intervention, will and should only be in contemplation where there is an impossibility, or at worst, a near impossibility to continue the norm or the legally provided mode for change of government in a state. Interim government should just be a mechanism to hold the state intact pending the return of a legitimate government.

Viewed from this perspective, it will mean that an interim government should not be in contemplation where the legitimate mode for change of government is still in process, and has not failed or been exhausted; and where there is no situation or state of emergency. This will therefore suggest that any calls or clamours for an interim government before the occurrence of any of the following conditions listed below, will have no justification, or be ripe. Such calls may therefore be interpreted to mean a motive to sabotage the lawful and peaceful existence of the state. It may amount to a home rat venturing into the forest to wrestle with a bush rat.
Interim governments must therefore be seen as a mere contingency plan, designed to normalize a bad situation.

Interim governments do not just spring forth from the blues in normal circumstances. No. The factors and causes would have been there for long – even if dormant and latent. But it is only the ant that hears the whispers of the sand; just as it is only the worm that knows what is buried in the earth. Vigilant Nigerians had seen these signs long ago. Aare Babalola is one of them. I am one of them. My daily write-ups and frequent television appearances wholly attest to this. (To be continued).

“The government is us; we are the government, you and I”. (Theodore Roosevelt).

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Quo Vadis Interim Government? (Pt. 1)




By Mike Ozekhome


I grew up in the village in the sixties – my then rustic but very beautiful village of Iviukwe, near Agenebode, Edo State. With forests, game and nature as our only inseparable partners, I sat down and listened to my unread, but very intelligent and wise parents; and the greying elders, as they piloted the affairs of our community with commendable efficiency and proficiency. They used sundry endearing proverbs and parables to unknot difficult puzzles. Proverbs were always the palm oil with which words were eaten, as Chinua Achebe most admirably put it in his epic, “Things Fall Apart”.

So, permit me today to employ some proverbs and parables in this discourse, to express myself on a very sore national issue that has caused much ruckus and brouhaha – Interim Government (IG).

Now the questions: Et tu Interim Government? Quo vadis Interim Government? IG has become the tsetse fly that delicately perches on one’s scrotum. It must skillfully be killed, lest one ends up breaking his own scrotum. The reason to be wary about IG is simple: when a millipede crawls out of its hole, you may never tell if it will return as a millipede or as a snake. I have therefore decided to discuss this vexed issue today because an elder does not sit idly by and watch a goat deliver on its tether. I owe this duty to Nigerians.


In the latest manifestation of our seemingly endless fascination with things that are apparently bizarre and absurd, Nigerians have almost, overnight, become animated, besotted and infatuated with the fanciful idea of an IG. Afterall, when the moon shines at night, even the lame becomes hungry for a walk. They see it as a panacea and successor to the incumbent colourless and uneventful administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. That suggestion, first patriotically mooted last year by no less a personage than the iconic legal sage, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, had recently gained traction. Many Nigerians did not then grasp his deep jurisprudential thoughts and genuine concerns about the calamitous destination Nigeria was headed. He saw it as a journey to no destination. I had shared his opinion. (See https: //www. Youtube .com/ watch?v = wmw9OuXxAM0).


However, arguably the greatest catalyst for thrusting the debate into the front-burner of current national discourse was the interview granted to Channels Television by the running-mate to Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate in the last presidential election, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed. In the interview, he seemed to raise the spectre of the presumed winner of the election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, not being sworn in or inaugurated on the 29th day of May, 2023, as constitutionally mandated by section 140 of the 1999 Constitution, upon Buhari completing his second term of 4 years. This suggestion generated such a storm of controversy particularly among the Tinubu handlers who quickly called for the sanction of Channels TV that aired the interview. As expected, they were seamlessly obliged. Channels TV was fined #5m by NBC. This is Nigeria. I can almost always predict events including the questions and answers. Is this not a country where leaders force the led to first show them the limbs of a snake before the led can enjoy the dividends of democracy?

The brick-bats have since then continued unabated, with the proponents of the “No-Inauguration” agitation seemingly coalescing around the mantra of an ‘Interim Government’, to which President Buhari will hand over as a provisional or stop-gap measure. The Buhari government demurs. It is this IG which will presumably organize yet another Presidential (or, indeed general) election that will ultimately produce a ‘permanent government’. Nigerians have so experienced many oddities that they now appear unshockable. Afterall, when a sparrow gets beaten by a raging storm too many times, a mere drizzle no longer frightens it. But our leaders must realise that when the cripple dances in the village square in the presence of agile youths, the elders become ashamed of themselves. Have we lost our individual and collective sense of shame?

To probably pull out a burning palm kernel from the blazing furnace of fire, Aare Babalola stepped in, and propounded his thesis in April, 2022. It was based on the sound premise then that without such intervention of an IG, the just concluded elections (which were then imminent) will produce, in his words, ‘recycled leaders.’ His proposal was that the last general elections ought not to have been held at all. Rather, he suggested that they should have been suspended, while an IG should first be put in office for six months, which will then develop “a new-look people’s Constitution.” That Constitution, according to the sage, “should provide for part-time legislators and a non-executive President.” In terms of its composition, he suggested, most attractively, that members of the IG should be selected from previous Presidents and Vice-Presidents, Ministers and Governors, as well as members of professional associations. (See 2023: Afe Babalola Proposes Interim Government, Says Nigeria Needs New Constitution:;published). The Aare’s worries have since been vindicated afterall by the farce and national embarrassment which the last discredited presidential election symbolises. Has this great educationist and legal prodigy not been vindicated by subsequent events? I think so. Or, do you not?


Interim Governments, some have argued, suffer from a serious fundamental defect in the sense that they are wholly unconstitutional and tantamount, in effect, to a coup d’etat. Proponents of this school of thought liken an interim government to the load the hunch-back man must carry on his back, whether he lies facing down, or sleeps facing up. After all, he who brings a maggot-infested piece of firewood into his home should not complain of visitation by a colony of lizards.

Some questions naturally agitate the mind here, on the question of an interim government in Nigeria:

Was the idea a mere mooted plan, or was the DSS merely flying a kite so as to test the waters and the mood of the Nation?

Why should Nigeria’s elite Secret Service cause such national hoopla and frightening alarm without quietly arresting such proponents and charging them to court, if there really were any?

Datti Baba-Ahmed’s televised statement that Ahmed Tinubu should not be sworn in 29th May, 2023, was a mere advocacy that did not in any way infract sections 37, 50 and 51 of the Criminal Code, CAP C38, LFN, 2004; nor amount to an attempted coup. In 2015, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo outrightly called for a “parallel government” if his APC (then in opposition), were denied victory. (See, interview dated January 4, 2015; and, 2014 interview in Washington DC, USA). APC, through its then Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had also threatened to set up a parallel government (see Rotimi Amaechi, a chieftain of the APC, followed suit in threatening to form a parallel government (see The very Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, who held press conferences in the US, urging the US to sanction Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed for alleged treasonable felony did not only threaten Nigeria in 2015, but actually vowed that the APC would form a parallel government (see .html ?tztc=1) if they were rigged out of the 2015 elections. All these threats were made at a time when elections had not even taken place. Yet, heavens did not fall. No one called for their arrests and prosecution. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who believed his “second term ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian”, simply smiled and walked away in the face of opposition stringently threatening his legitimate government. Yet, these party chieftains are now threatening fire and brimstone for such mere suggestions even when they are aware of the historic electoral malfeasance that took place. By the way, did the DSS need to announce a coup publicly without arresting the alleged coup plotters? Aside apparently flying a kite and testing the waters, did the DSS need to publicly pledge its loyalty to a president-elect that has not yet been sworn in, and whose election is still being hotly challenged by his two major co-contestants? Was the whole scenario merely simulated as an artifice and design to give Tinubu an upper hand, and thus hint the petitioners and the Presidential Elections Tribunal not to waste their time in litigating their petition?

What will be the fate of the winners at the various levels of the last elections were an Interim government to be set up? Are they expected to simply accept their fate and wring their hands in despair on the altar of hopelessness and helplessness?

How exactly will such Interim government come into being or function? Will it simply materialize out of thin air? Does it require a legal instrument to birth it? Who will author that legal instrument? NASS? President? In what capacity and on what basis?

Is the idea of an Interim Government even known to, or acceptable within the confines of the 1999 Constitution? Is it envisaged or provided for therein, whether specifically or by necessary implication?

This last question neatly dovetails into the most fundamental question of all – and the greatest obstacle to the erection of such contraption- that is, the provisions of section 1(2) of the 1999 Constitution which clearly outlaw the unconstitutional takeover of government in any part of Nigeria in the following words: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”.

The implication of this provision is obvious: without a constitutional amendment in accordance with section 9(1)&(2) of the 1999 Constitution, the whole idea of an interim government is itself legally a non sequitur. That process of amending the Constitution is quite cumbersome, tedious and time-consuming, as it requires the buy – in of at least 2/3 majority of the members of the National Assembly as well as a resolution passed by at least 24 (or 2/3) of the 36 State Houses of Assembly. If experience is anything to go by, it will be simply impracticable if its main objective is to create the legal framework for establishing an Interim government. Will those who believe they have won the last election – even if illegally and by brute force – not certainly resist such an amendment? I believe so. Or, do you not? (To be continued)


“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter”.  (Winston Churchill).


God bless my numerous global readers for always keeping faith with The Oracle on the Mount of the Nigerian Project, by humble me, Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN, CON, OFR, FCIArb., LL.M, Ph.D, LL.D. kindly, come with me to next week’s exciting dissertation.

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The Oracle: Go to Court




By Mike Ozekhome


The journalist and prose writer in me screams to manifest today. Far away from gladiatorial courtroom litigation and suffocating trenches. They urge me to move away today from the classroom, soapbox and television screen. I am today compelled to write on the topical trending issue of the moment – “GO TO COURT”. Yes, you heard me right: go to court. Nigeria is a great country, but a very interesting one with spectacular oddities and oxymorons. Every day is new. I love her to no end.


Politicians, sorry, Politricians, have popularised “Go to Court” in their morbid desperation to acquire power at all cost. By hook or by crook. They are desperados. They have been very successful in messing up our hard-earned democracy. They carry out unspeakable acts – bizarre acts drained of logic, legality, constitutionality and morality – and then tell you to your face, “Go to Court”. This is a sad sarcasm of their obvious derisive, pejorative and derogatory euphemism for our beleaguered justice–delivery systems.

What the Politricians are saying cheek-in-tongue, in effect, shorn of all pretences, affectation and braggadocio, is that they believe you cannot get justice in the courts. So, they taunt you to ‘go to court’. Before, during and after elections, they kill, maim, burn, thumbprint; steal and allocate ballot boxes and paper; steal BVAs machines; propel their candidates to “win at all costs”; select their winners; and collude with INEC to announce their preferred victors. Then, they humour you with, “Go to Court”. For you, my readers, if you do not like this my introductory part, please, do me a favour – go to court.


The new refrain in town – go to court – is therefore an obvious addition to our ever-elastic warped political lexicon. Webster, Oxford, Collins, Longman, Black – all Dictionary exponents – must be green with envy from their cold graves.

I have since added new words to our political vocabulary and encyclopedia – “Electionocracy”; “Selectocracy”; “Judocracy”; “Executocracy” and “Legislatocracy”. (see, “Mike Ozekhome says we are not practicing democracy in Nigeria”;, Is this the Nigeria of our dreams?”;, Nigeria is a captured state”.


The last Presidential, NASS, Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections were the worst I have ever witnessed in this contraption called Nigeria since the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates by Lord Frederick Lugard (22nd January, 1858 – 11th April, 1945), on the 1st of January, 1914, to found Nigeria. If you do not like this opinion of mine, go to court.

I guffawed when I heard President Muhammadu Buhari, in congratulating Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on his presumed victory at the 25th February, 2023 presidential election, say, “None of the issues registered represents a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections”. Mr. President, did I hear you correctly sir? I can already see through the eyes of the minds of his handlers and coterie of media snipers, and those of Tinubu, calling me out. I can hear them telling me to “go to court” if I do not like the President’s biased stance expressed in the face of stiff challenge by his co-contestants. My simple response is, go to court if you do not like my own critique.

No sir, Mr. President. I humbly disagree, sir. The last elections were neither free, fair, transparent, honest, respectable, nor imbued with any iota of integrity and dignity. They represented an abysmal retrogression into Australopithecus stone-age election farce. The elections were clearly shambolic, unsystematic, mismanaged, violent, vicious; highly compromised; and drained of any local or international respect and recognition. The outright rejection of, or at best, very lukewarm tolerance of (not wholesome acceptance or embrace) by the international community, speaks volumes of the elections’ lack of rectitude and honour. Any final emergent product of the fundamentally flawed presidential election will have a moral burden to contend with – even if court judgements were to favour him. The moral burden will hang like an albatross, on his neck throughout his entire tenure of office. It will be more like an ignoble trophy or diadem. I shudder to conjecture the ricocheting effect and dire consequences this forebodes for Nigeria. I am not a seer or clairvoyant, but I can tell Nigerians categorically to brace up for harder times ahead. If you are not comfortable with these humble views of mine, then go to court.


The hallmark of this “go to court” mantra finally crystallised last week during the gubernatorial election in Adamawa state. The events there represent the shame of a country whose citizens, having experienced too many doses of travails, now appear unshockable. I have since been stressed and distressed. Can this shame be wiped off our electoral slate, or democracy syllabus? I do not know. Or, do you? The deeds and misdeeds that attended the Adamawa macabre dance of death remind me of the regretful and symbolic words of Macbeth, in William Shakespeare’s epic “Macbeth” (Act II, Scene II).

In bemoaning his unprovoked decision to assassinate King Duncan, Macbeth lamented that all the oceans of the world would not be capable of washing the blood from his hands. This was even before killing King Duncan. Hear Macbeth: “Will all great Neptune’s Ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red”. If you do not like my taking you back to Shakespearean literature to allegorize and metaphorize these points of mine, then, go to court.

Like many Nigerians, I keenly followed the Binani phenomenon – now “BinaniGATE” (most unfortunately). I like the Senator’s quiet mien, respectable carriage, calm disposition and ever-smiling exterior. She appears incandescent, even if shy. These qualities belied a steely, strong-willed “Margaret Thatcher” of an iron lady, who had taken Adamawa politics by storm, breaking down chauvinistic barriers, and mauling entrenched fixations and stereotypes.  My love went straight to her, like the one I had for my late dear mother who died in 1997. I had grown up with my parents in Iviukwe town, in the 60s and 70s. I went to the farm, and far-flung streams with my late mother and late father, who died in 1992. I followed her to dig and plant into ridges, groundnut, beans, cocoyam, maize and yam. I fetched firewood from scorpion-infested dried trees. I fetched water from stagnant spirogyra-infested streams and dirty ponds, with calabashes. We then used alum to purify the water. So, I saw my mother in Binani. I also suddenly saw in Binani, my dear wife – my pillar of strength; my soulmate; my girlfriend; my confidant and sister; my mother and best friend in the world. For these reasons, and propelled by her top-notch political credentials, I, like many Nigerians, silently yearned that she won in a free, fair and transparent election. This, for me, notwithstanding that the big “home boys” holding fort in Adamawa are my elder and younger friends, respectively – former VP, Waziri Atiku Abubakar and Governor Ahmadu Fintiri. But what did we see? A damnatory and ruinous anti-climax.

A sad summersault indeed! Binani was declared “winner” of an election whose supplementary results were still being collated and counted. It was done by an unauthorized and illegal person – the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) – rather than the INEC-appointed Returning Officer. This, even while she was trailing her main opponent, Governor Fintiri, by over 31,000 votes! Wonders shall never end. She had wanted to foist on INEC, the courts and sympathetic Nigerians (like me), a situation of fait accompli. She will then tell Fintiri to “go to court”. The INEC REC’s audaciousness and brazen acts appear modeled after the INEC leadership itself, which had condoned and facilitated huge electoral malpractices, and told Nigerians to go to court.


Let us have a historical background to this electoral fraud which was actually, a failed coup d’etat.

On 18th March, 2023, Adamawa residents went to the polls, hopeful of the workings of democracy – a concept defined by Abraham Lincoln (with penetrating erudition) in his Gettysburg Declaration on 19th November, 1863, as “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. At the close of voting, sitting Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, garnered a total of 421,522 votes to lead in 13 of the 21 LGAs of Adamawa State. He beat his closest rival, Aisha Dahiru (A.KA. Binani) by over 32,000 votes, as she trailed with 390,275 votes obtained in 8 LGAs. Mohammed Mele, a Professor of English at the University of Maiduguri, who was the INEC-appointed Returning Officer (and who is the only statutorily authorized person under section 25 of the Electoral Act, 2022, to declare governorship results and announce the winner), however, announced that the election was inconclusive. His reason was that the margin of victory by Fintiri was less that the total votes expected from 69 polling units in 20 LGAs affected by serious electoral issues. In those polling units, there are 42,785 registered voters. But those who collected their PVCs were only 36,955.

All very well and good, if, this was systematic and methodical. It was not. Why didn’t the same INEC use a similar yardstick to withhold declaring Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State as the winner of the same 18th March, 2023 gubernatorial election, when the challenger, Chief Oladipupo Adebutu only trailed Abiodun by a mere 13,915 votes, with only 18,835 votes rejected? Why the duplicity and double standards by INEC in declaring Abiodun the winner then, as against its refusal to declare Fintiri the winner at the first election of 18th March, 2023, under the same circumstances? Abiodun and APC (and even INEC) had simply told Adebutu to go to court. Go to court, he has since done.


What happened next could be taken straight from a poorly acted local movie, with desperate script writers and caricature choreographers. It was like a dramatic circus show; a Baba Sala’s Alawada Keri Keri piece of histrionics.

During the supplementary election that took place on April 15, 2023, Fintiri had been clearly leading, with 19,337 votes, to Binani’s 6,513. The gap difference was 2, 824. This was, however, only in 10 LGAs of the 20 LGAs in which voting took place. When you add these 2,824 votes to Fintiri’s March 18 lead of 31,247, Fintiri was surely galloping home to victory with 34,071 votes ahead of Binani. Then some unseen hands struck. They usually behave like witches and wizards in a coven.

With results from 10 out of 20 LGAs already in, the Returning Officer adjourned proceedings to 11 am of the following day. Suddenly (like Fela Kuti of blessed memory would say), one Hudu Ari, the Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), struck at 9 am, before the 11 am earmarked for the continuation. Surrounded and escorted by an armada of recruited armed-to-the-teeth Soldiers, DSS operatives, Civil Defence goons, the Police, and thugs, Ari casually strolled into the collation centre, brandishing a folded written piece of paper that contained no final result.

To the shock of all present, he proceeded to announce and declare Binani as the “winner” of the election, whose results were still being collated. The loser who was trailing behind by over 34,000 votes was declared “winner”. Their agenda? Go to court? And bam! Binani “accepted” her “victory”. She was undoubtedly part and parcel of the orchestrated charade and shameful events. If not, how would she have prepared an acceptance speech for results she had not yet seen or known about, just like others? How come only NTA (the Federal Government’s megaphone) was the only media that covered the vaudeville and travesty? In her 21 seconds clip of historical profanity and feminine remissness and delinquency, she told angry Adamawa citizens that “you’ve made history in electing the first female governor in our dear country, Nigeria. This will no doubt broaden political participation by encouraging our daughters, aunties, mothers and indeed our girl child”. Oh blimey! The sentiments! The emotionalism!

Binani not done, even audaciously approached the Federal High Court (yes, in fulfillment of the “go to court” carol), through an ex parte application and urged Justice Inyang Ekwo on 17th April, 2023, to give judicial imprimatur to her sins, in motion No FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2023. Ekwo was a “Daniel come to Judgement”. He rejected the ex parte application. The cerebral Jurist suo motu raised the critical issue of jurisdiction. He directed Binani’s Counsel to return on 26th April, 2023, to convince him that the court has jurisdiction over the matter.

For once, INEC acted swiftly, salvaging whatever remains of its bruised image in the Adamawa theatrics. It suspended further collation; recalled Ari to Abuja; declared null, void and of no effect, the purported declaration of Binani as winner, as it amounted to usurpation of the powers of the Returning Officer. It also vowed to petition IGP (Usman Baba) to investigate and possibly prosecute Ari. INEC also requested the SGF, Boss Mustapha, to brief Buhari (the appointing authority), about Ari’s show of shame.

Will Ari, the DSS, Police, Military, FRSC, Civil Defence Personnel and even Binani be prosecuted under sections 64, 120 and 121 of the Electoral Act, 2022, to set a clear signal that Nigeria is not a banana Republic? Only time will tell. But, for now, go to court. Did the alleged bribery with the sum of N2 billion actually change hands to bring about this attempted monumental heist and thievery? Who will dig in and inform Nigerians? Which rat will bell the cat? Only time will tell. But, for now, go to court.

As at today, Fintiri has been properly pronounced re-elected Governor of Adamawa State. For those who are dissatisfied with this, go to court. For those who enjoyed this write-up, go to court. For those who loathe what I have written, go to court. For all Nigerians, go to court. For the Judges who will sit over this election matters, go to court. Finally, for the court themselves that harbour the Judges who will hear the matters, go to court. Let us all go to court.

Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, CON, OFR, FCIArb, LL.M, Ph.D, LL.D, D.Litt.

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