Lawyers love to say that ‘he who comes to equity must come with clean hands’ . In politics and in a
democracy however, it is the electorate that determines who has a clean or dirty hand and that is sorted out at election time. Democracy is a game of numbers and in a first past the post democracy prevalent in most parts of the world including specifically Nigeria and the US election time is pay back time for those seeking or renewing power. When however they get the power, politicians follow their mandate and deliver on them or failing in that regard must expect expulsion from power as the penalty for their failure to deliver. Which means ultimately that performance matters and the electorate is the sole judge of that at election time, no matter the cacophony of campaigns prior to election day. Such is the day of judgement in Edo State today and the man on trial, take it or leave it is the incumbent Governor Obaseki of the PDP who faces Ize Iyamu from the same party APC , from which Obaseki defected , very close to today’s election.
We take a look at today’s Edo state elections in terms of the earlier mentioned indices of performance and electability or re electability. We proceed to examine two strong Attorneys General in both Nigeria and the US, who are unabashedly executing the mandates of the presidents they serve and are certainly showing that they are not bothered whose ox is gored in the process. Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami SAN is literally prosecuting the head of the anti corruption body EFCC Magu for corruption and is even moving on to set up a body to take care of recovered loot, the mismanagement of which formed the core of his ire with the EFCC boss. In the US Attorney General William Barr has followed up on US President Donald Trump’s uneasy reluctance to close up the US economy on account of the pandemic by saying that the lockdown on account of the pandemic has been the greatest violation of liberty in US history outside slavery .And that his position is political as Attorney General even as he functions as the Attorney General in pursuit of justice in the American political system. These three events form the kernel of our discussion today.
As I said before, the Edo State election is all or mainly about the incumbent governor seeking reelection on the platform of the PDP to which he fled after he could not get the ticket for the APC. A strong voice in the APC, the Jagaban Bola Ahmed Tinubu has already asked the electorate in Edo not to vote for Obaseki because he is not a democrat and did not allow the swearing in of legislators in the state The NLC in the state has asked the voters in the state to reelect Obaseki because he paid salaries and pensions as and when due. Not much is known of Ize Iyamu and indeed if he wins he will become the Otedola of Edo politics when an unknown political entity and opponent was voted into power in Lagos state, because the electorate was disenchanted with the candidate of the popular party. What the Jagaban has said is weighty and voters should be wary of leaders with dictatorial tendencies but then, the choice is for the people of Edo state to make in a free and fair election which I think is possible. This is because both parties know each other so well that it will be difficult to surprise each other in any rigging attempt. So the die is cast and the ball is in the court of the Edo Electorate to reward or punish Obaseki or bring in Ize Iyamu from the cold as it were. Today’s Edo election is like a litmus test of Caveat Emptor which means Buyer Beware for the Edo State electorate and I wish them well in their choice because they have to live with it there after. Good luck.
In Nigeria the Attorney General is proceeding to make the law that will create a body to look after recovered loot. Which to me is a step in the right direction although it is a bit bizarre that recovered loot can somehow, be re -looted. Which sounds very unbelievable and stands logic or accountability on its head. The admission of poor record of recovered loot by the government that was elected and reelected because of the integrity and reputation of the president , is a brave one by the Administration and the Attorney General who has maintained control of the anti corruption brigade and flagship of this Buhari Administration. One thing is clear. That is that this Attorney General means well and will not shirk his responsibility in the fight against corruption even as corruption is fighting back with its ill gotten wealth and massive loot armory. I wish him well in laying a solid foundation for the anti -corruption crusade in our very corrupt economic and socio – political environment.
We now go back to US Attorney General William Barr’s view that in terms of violation of human rights the pandemic lockdown is similar to slavery. He is not alone in condemning the lockdown advocated by scientists and infection disease experts as some people have been demonstrating and protesting along such lines in Germany recently. Barr lamented that state governors and governments that decree lockdowns as it were, are treating their citizens like children who do not know what is good for them. He said governments should not behave like bureaucrats and should make pandemic rules but should allow people to think out how to apply them and use their initiative in saving themselves from the pandemic. Instead of putting them under what he called house arrest with the prevailing lockdown. This goes very well with the views of his boss, the US president in admitting that he tried to play down the pandemic so as not to cause panic at the outset. But Trump’s opponent want to use this to nail him as an irresponsible liar of a leader and that is dangerous for his reelection chances in November this year. Of course Trump’s AG is not mincing words in saying that the lockdown and the pandemic are affecting the reelection chances of his boss and that his duty is to ensure in the Department of Justice he heads as AG to protect the political chances of his boss for reelection in November this year. That is saying it as it is , and that has my commendation because their opponents are really using the pandemic and lockdown and its handling as a potent political hemlock to make sure that Trump is never reelected. His AG is saying however that this would be over his dead body and that is why he is equating the pandemic lockdown to slavery. It may sound like an exaggeration but then that is his opinion on the pandemic and he is entitled to it. That, pandemic or not, is what politics and democracy is all about. Freedom of speech , after all said and done, is an inalienable right especially in American politics. And really, it is not easy to lose power with your eyes wide open, even in God’s own nation like the US. Once again – From the fury of this raging pandemic, Good Lord Deliver Nigeria.