By Newman Ubani
It has almost become a culture for defeated politicians to file court cases against winners of elections in Nigeria politics. This culture has never favoured the Nigeria democracy cum economy. The reason is not far fetched, litigations have been the bane of development in various States of Nigeria, as politicians have always admitted that such distractions have contributed to their inability to achieve all they intended to do for their people.
Sometimes, the defeated individuals may not appreciate going to court, but cabals around them are always pushing them to spend money in court. Of course, that helps them to milk such politicians dry.
It could be recalled that after 2015 general elections in Abia State, Uche Ogah, Friday Nwosu and Alex Otti all dragged Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to court for various issues bordering on elections. These politicians did not just stop at High or tribunal court but ensured that the Governor was brought to Supreme court. These actions made the Governor to become first Governor in Nigeria, who was dragged to Supreme court three times on issues surrounding elections.
As a matter of fact, the court cases lasted three solid years as the last Supreme court ended on 12th May 2018. In all these cases, both the petitioners and defender, being the Governor spent huge amount of money handling the case.
All the money spent by these Abia citizens would have been channeled to development and better democracy dividends in the State, but these desperate politicians would not relent. Abia has always remained in the list of States that enrich lawyers, most of whom are Yuruba lawyers.
In recent years, the courts have been increasingly involved in resolving electoral disputes in many countries across the globe. This is part of the direct involvement of the courts in electoral processes and the political system of the country. The facts remains that despite court visibility and involvement in election matters, the failure rate of election dispute remains high and its effect on body polity has never been positive.
In Abia State as a case, from the birth of the current dispensation in 1999, litigations at different levels has never done Abia any good. It is a well known fact that the litigations against distinguished Senator T. A Orji, the former Governor of Abia State in 2007 by his then opponent Chief Onyema Ugochukwu affected development then. Glory to God that the elder statesman later reconciled with the then Governor, which lessened the litigations of Ochendo in his second term.
Come to think of it, statistics of the outcome of disputed elections in Nigeria, show that courts
It is obvious that with the overwhelmingly margin the Governor used to win, the oppositions cannot have any evidence to drag him to court. Hence, it will only amount to spending money both by the government of the day and the opposition parties.
Another set of elections have just been concluded and political jobbers and those lawyers who have sworn to milk Abia economy dry are now angling to offer themselves for legal battles against the Governor. It is true that they have not made their decisions public, but their body language has already spoken to the right thinking members of the society of such plans. It is imperative to underscore that it would amount to unnecessary distractions to the Governor and spending of money that should be deployed to work in the State for litigations. It would also mean an act of wickedness against the good people of Abia State, who are expectant that the second tenure of Dr. Ikpeazu would bring double democracy dividends to them.
However, it is advisable that both Uche Ogah and Alex Otti should resist the temptation of approaching the law court to spend money again and distract the Governor, who, in spite of their plots against him in the first half of his administration has performed well and even beyond their expectations. Dr. Ikpeazu is more poised to do better in this second half of his administration and should be allowed to do so.
Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has vowed to bring to reality, the Enyimba Economic City which would employ over 700 thousand people, achieve the completion of Osisioma flyover and build more. He equally promised to mainstream women and youth in this second term and to realize the new city that would emerge in Ohafia and Ubani industrial cluster among other beautiful plans for the State.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has already extended hand of fellowship to his opponents, urging them to join hands with him to move the State forward. So, if they love Abia as they claim, it is incumbent on them to jettison litigations and work with the Governor of the State.