Selective Application Of Law Causing Nigeria’s Challenges – Lawyer

Kenneth_OdidikaA Nigerian lawyer has attributed some challenges that the nation is facing to selective application of the rule of law.

Giving his opinion on Tuesday on the controversy surrounding the claims that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, is not qualified to contest in the February 14 election, Mr Kenneth Odidika, said that the ‘big man syndrome’ had led to the likely refusal of General Buhari to submit his credentials.

“We do not stick to rules in Nigeria and that is what is happening as regards the certificate controversy.

“We have a constitution and other laws with the constitution being supreme.

“The constitution has specified the needed qualification from every political party’s candidate but the APC has refused to give the leaving school certificate of his presidential candidate to the electoral body,” he said.

The certificate controversy had peaked when a spokesman of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team, Femi fani-Kayode, insisted that General Buhari was not qualified to contest, demanding that the APC’s presidential candidates should present his credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The APC had, in response, insisted that its candidate had the certificate, describing the fani-Kayode’s claims as ‘preposterous’ and capable of destroying the image of the Nigerian Army.

‘Big man syndrome’

But Mr Odidika said that the refusal to submit the certificate was outright disobedience.

“Selective application of the law is what Nigeria is facing. Big men refuse to subject themselves to the law.

“Big man syndrome is what Nigeria is suffering from.”

He also insisted that the INEC was culpable, accepting the forms without the certificate attached as stipulated by the law.

“They are supposed to submit the personal particulars of the person before they publish his name.

“If he had the certifications, he should have submitted them,” he said.

On Monday, General Buhari urged party members not to be involved in any violent act before, during or after the elections, a comment that was highly seen as necessary.

But Mr Odidika said the comment came a bit late and that an initial statement that the APC would run a parallel government if the election was rigged was insightful.

“What we say before something happens could be different and could contribute to why what will happen will happen.

“There have been statements from APC suggesting the necessity for violence.

“They said that if the election was rigged, they would form a parallel government. How do you determine if an election is rigged without going to the court. What that means is that once they lose, they will take to the streets to install a parallel government.

“Anything the candidates say means a lot to their supporters.

“Thank God Buhari said what he said. The Peoples Democratic Party and the APC must ensure that their members stick to the rule of the game,” the lawyer stressed.

On the challenges that the INEC had witnessed in the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that the electoral body had insisted voters would only vote with, Mr Odidika said that there was the need for the INEC to consider allowing persons with the old temporal card to vote in areas where they had challenges issuing out the PVC.

 

Osun Election: Lawyer Says Security Ensured A Free And Fair Election

OdidikaA lawyer, Mr Kenneth Odidika, has praised the Federal Government of Nigeria for putting in place security that went a long way in ensuring the success of the election in Osun state.

Mr Odidika, who was on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, on Monday, was full of praise for President Goodluck Jonathan for putting in place a system of security which ensured that people felt free to cast their votes without any fear of been molested.

He emphasised the need for security in an electoral process and wondered why people do not appreciate the presence of military personnel during election.

”It is quite unfortunate that people don’t seem to appreciate the fact that without security we can never have the free and fair election we are talking about,” he said, apparently referring to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He insisted that APC members that always complained about ‘over -militarisation’ in elections were usually the beneficiaries of the process and dismissed their complaints as sheer propaganda.

”In the Nigerian context, there is no such thing as over-militarisation as long as the process is peaceful wherein people feel free to vote without fear of molestation and APC is enjoying it.”

While supporting the use of a large contingent of military personnel in the 2015 general election amidst fears that there are probably not enough security forces to deploy for the election across board, Mr Odidika stressed that if Nigerians were peaceful in every election and do not cause chaos, there might not be need for a large deployment of military and police in 2015 election.

”We know there is no way we can have a large personnel of security forces to be deployed across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory for the 2015 general elections. So I advise Nigerians to be peaceful in their conduct and if we do, then we don not need soldiers to help us conduct a free and fair election,” he said.

On the reported arrest of some APC chieftains in Osun by the military personnel, Mr Odinaka said there was probably something that was done by the chieftains, but said that “if they feel undone, then they should seek redress in the court”.

He was of the view that the Independent National Electoral Commission had improved on previous election with the conduct of the electoral process in Osun and was optimistic that they would improve more in the 2015 general elections.

Mr Odidika, while accepting the fact that the opposition parties had a right to complain if they feel that an electoral process was being manipulated and if they feel that their vote could be subverted, said their complaints shouldn’t incite their supporters into violent acts.

”Of course they will complain and shout if they feel their votes are been subverted but their shout shouldn’t be such that can cause violence and endangering people’s lives”.

He advised politicians to do an issue based campaign prior to an election instead of the act of name calling that is usual with campaigns in Nigeria

Mr Odidika commended President Jonathan for swiftly congratulating Governor Aregbesola for winning the election in Osun State.

 

Media Asked To Pressurise Judiciary To Perform Better

Kenneth-OdidikaMedia organisations in Nigeria have been asked to put more pressure on the judiciary in the area of judgement delivery to ensure that cases are handled within a short period of time.

A lawyer, Kenneth Odidika, on Tuesday, said that delay in trail of cases had contributed to the resentment that Nigerians feel about security agencies and their inability to secure the punishment of law offenders.

On several occasions, cases taken to court by security agencies take up to one year before judgement is passed. In some cases, the media lose interest in covering the case and Nigerians will be left in the dark as to what happened to the criminal, a development that had led to increasing impunity.

This, Mr Odidika attributed to the slow nature of handling proceedings by the court judges, stressing the need for the media to demand that the judiciary show more commitment to their duty by dispensing judgement on cases as fast as possible.

On Monday, the Department of State Security paraded some persons suspected to have carried out the April 14 bomb blast in Nyanya Motor Park, Abuja, a development Mr Odidika commended.

He stressed the need for such cases to be handled as fast as possible to ensure justice.

“If these security agencies could put their lives on the line for the country, by going all out to arrest these men, then the judiciary should equally make some more commitment to handle cases fast. Nothing stops them from putting extra time into handling cases.

“Judiciary needs to be dealt with by the media to ensure that they do their work. Trials stretch on and on until the media lose interest in covering it.

“It is the responsibility of the media, which is very powerful, to put the judiciary to work. The security men are putting their lives on the line and the judiciary should also do more to prosecute these criminals in good time,” Mr Odidika.

Various Story Versions

He also pointed out that the ‘Terrorism Act’ was enough to prosecute the terrorists.

Commenting on the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok, Borno State, the lawyer said that there were indications that the abduction may have been pre-arranged.

He said that the principal of the school had given various story versions of what happened the night the abductors came.

“I do not think that there was a criminal abduction. There is a sought of cooperation between the parents, principal, students and the government.

“I think the children were removed based on a formal arrangement to evacuate them somewhere, not that they were abducted by Boko Haram.

“The principle had given us different versions of how they were removed. The state governor had promised to provide security during the exam but he never did.

“The principal first told a story about the Boko Haram members disguising like soldiers and demanding that the girls be moved to another place. This is what I think. I may be proved wrong but that is my opinion.

“The story of the girls shown in the video released by Boko Haram does not fit into the pattern of Boko Haram.

“From my observation, the girls in the video are looking so well fed and it does not portray a story of girls abducted by terrorists,” he said.

Mr Odidika, however, stressed the need for Nigerians to support the military by providing them with adequate information, needed to be able to apprehend criminals within the society.

“With the arrest made, it is now obvious that work is going on to end the insurgency. The media should make sure that the information they put out will portray support for our military,” he said, emphasising the need to make sure that media reports do not endanger the lives or military men or make their plans futile.

Analysts List Faults In Sanusi’s 5 Year Tenure As CBN Governor

Legal practitioners, Liborous Oshomah and Kenneth Odidika on Saturday listed what they found wrong in Lamido Sanusi’s five year reign as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, while speaking on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise.

Oshomah, who was of the opinion that the government fell out of favour with Sanusi, argued that the suspended governor’s tenure was characterised by crisis and inconsistencies.

While praising the former CBN Governor, Charles Soludo, for managing challenges without raising alarms, Oshomah stressed that many of the decisions taken by Sanusi, while in office, were controversial.

He also mentioned the issue of the banking crisis which resulted in several banks folding up and thousands of workers being laid off, stressing that banks are still unable to recover from it.

While commenting on the controversies exposed by Sanusi including the 25% allocation of the national budget to the National Assembly, and the NNPC missing money, Oshomah said the suspended governor waited until the near end of his tenure to hit the government he is a part and parcel of.

“If you want to be a critic of the government, it is better to be out of that government,” he said.

On the inconsistency which trailed the figures released by the CBN as NNPC missing money, Oshomah asked why it took Sanusi so long to raise the alarm and faulted inconsistencies in the figures disclosed, adding that, calculations should have been done privately before going public.

“I think all of this should have been done underground so when you come out with your figures, people would solidly believe you, stand behind you and say that look this man knows what he’s talking about. But the way he went about it showed that all of a sudden the amount went from 49 to 10 billion.

10 billion is much, I agree, but for somebody at that level, I think once you speak we ought to believe.”

Speaking on the powers vested on the CBN governor, Oshomah said the apex bank is not a sovereign on its own and faulted Sanusi for acting as if the CBN was a country on its own and he the president.

On his part, Kenneth Odidika described Sanusi as a “very brilliant man who seemed not to appreciate the enormity of the responsibilities of the office he occupied.”

Odidika went ahead to label the suspended governor a ‘talkative’ whose good diction and spoken English and “musical voice” is mere theatrics ‘from Hollywood.’

“For a central bank governor to be in every forum, talking both about the economy and all things that are not related about the economy, that was unbecoming of Sanusi, as Central Bank Governor. I could go as far as saying that Sanusi was irresponsible in discharging or not discharging his responsibilities as central bank governor.”

N/Confab: National Council Of State’s Approval Only Boosts Jonathan’s Morale

A legal practitioner, Kenneth Odidika, on Wednesday said the approval given by members of the National Council of State on the modalities of the National Conference only boosts the President’s morale and not that of the people.

“That endorsement by the National Council of State is a boost to the morale of the President not to the morale of Nigerians,” he said.

On Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odidika said there was no way 160 million Nigerians would agree on the modalities, pointing out that the fact remains that majority of Nigerians want to talk so as to decide how to live together.

“Nigerians want to live together but they want to decide how they are going to live together.”

According to him, those who are against the conference have the right to be heard but “it doesn’t mean we have to do what they are asking for or what they are advocating.”

“Remember that most of the people who are now speaking against this same conference were those who had been clamouring for it over time.”

He argued that the naysayers were in such position because they were not in charge of the process.

He also countered arguments that the Conference was coming at the wrong time, saying that the 2015 election, which is scheduled for February 2015, gives enough time for the Conference to hold as it would probably end in May or June 2014.

Mr Odidika stressed the importance of the conference which is expected to address issues bothering the minds of citizens. One of such issues is the current system of governance, which, according to him, “is flawed”.

He argued that the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’ “is just an appellation”.

“We are not a Federal Republic. We are not practicing federalism. If you recall when we had the regions was the time Nigeria was developing. The North, East, West and mid-West. That was why Ahmadu Bello was not interested in coming to Lagos to come and be your prime minister, because he had work to do in the North.

“Opara was there, very busy in the East, after Nnamdi Azikiwe while Awolowo was very busy here, developing the regions.

“That was federalism,” he said, adding that the current system of government is unitary, “but we call it federal.”

On arguments that good governance and proper practice of the constitution will make the need for a Conference unnecessary, Odidika said “even the constitution is flawed in several respects.”

He also stressed the need for the different zones to make progress at a pace determined by them and not the Federal Government. “Practicing the constitution the way it is now will not get us to where we are supposed to be.”

He also said that the reason representatives at the House of Representatives and Senate have not been able to correct the faults in the system is because they are overwhelmed by the number of issues they have to attend to.

My Odidika expressed hope that the success of the Conference would affect the elections in 2015. He added that the changes may not “necessarily be in favour of either the President or the opposition.

New APC Member Governors Are In For A Surprise – Odidika

A legal practitioner, Kenneth Odidika, on Wednesday said that members of the G7 who crossed over to the APC are in for a surprise as they would not have as much freedom as they did while in the PDP.

While speaking on Sunrise Daily, Odidika said that the cross over from the PDP to APC was because their demands for protection from prosecution was not met by the PDP leadership.

As well as a way of positioning themselves for power come 2015 but he warned that “by the time they get there, they will find out that what they thought was, isn’t.” According to him, “these people who moved into APC are going to learn some lessons because they are dealing with a master, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

 


He added that “in PDP you are allowed a lot of latitude, which doesn’t exist in a Tinubu party, whether ACN or APC.”

Odidika also stressed that cross-carpeting makes no difference in the polity as all parties are the same. The political parties do not have any ideology as their sole target is to fill their pockets with State funds and satisfy their desire to stay in power.

Members of the G7 that joined the APC on Tuesday had been labelled thieves and rogues over the years by the same party but have now become saints by virtue of joining the opposition. “The politics being played in Nigeria has nothing to do with the interest of the average Nigerian,” he said adding that “I’m not surprised they left and I won’t be surprised if they go back.”

Commenting on Governor Aliyu Babangida’s insistence that he is still a member of the PDP, Odidika said that the governor has always been vocal about his willingness to negotiate with the leadership of the PDP.
Odidika added that the actions of the governors who are currently serving their last term are in a bid to protect themselves from the possibility of being held accountable for crimes committed while in office.

“When immunity is removed, EFCC or other agencies could come after them so their problem is how to get protected having committed crimes in the past 8 years,” he said.
Speaking about the legality of retaining their position after cross-carpeting, Odidika explained that “provision of the constitution regarding cross-carpeting does not apply to the Executive arm which includes the President, Vice President, Governors or deputy Governors.

Anambra Election: INEC Could Not Have Succeeded – Election Observers

Legal Practitioner, Kenneth Odidika has stated that the November 16 Anambra election could not have been successful, no matter the level of preparations made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

While appearing on the November 24 edition of Channels Television programme ‘Politics Today’, he said “no matter the preparations anybody makes, if some people are bent on truncating the system, they will succeed to a very large extent.”

Although he was not part of the arrangement, he believed that the activities of the electoral commission that could be seen before the Anambra election showed that they did a lot towards conducting a credible election, stressing that the attitude of the voters is one of the major things wrong with elections in Nigeria, he said “the voters always make themselves available to be corrupted or to be part of the corruption of the system.”

“When the voters will openly demand for money from those who are seeking to be elected, that automatically compromises the electoral process, and this was done in the last election. I was in Anambra all through, before, during and after the election.”

Mr Odidika, who had once contested for the governorship position in the state added, “No party will honestly say it did not take part in that. I saw it, and in some cases, some particular kind of officers in some parties were moving round the polling booths ensuring that such a thing was actually done… If INEC officials took money, I wasn’t aware of that.”

Also part of the programme, live from Channels Television studio, Abuja was an Election Observer at the Anambra governorship poll, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu who was of the opinion that INEC’s staff deployment in Anambra was not in any way unusual to what they have always done in other states like Edo in the past.

In agreeing with Mr Odidika’s views on the major factors that affected the election, Mr Nwagwu added that “the things we have papered for in the past, the precedence we allowed to stand in the past have come to hunt us and that is what we are dealing with now. Some of the issues that played up in Anambra were not things that INEC were not aware of in time past.”

He also argued that INEC is still involved in what he called “defensive public relations” with their claims that the reports of irregularities “is not widespread, reports cannot stand the test of time, it’s un-statistical… ” which are things that had been papered over and never dealt with in the past showing up again in Anambra to bring ridicule and shame.

Mr Odidika resolved that he would score INEC 65% for their creative efforts at the election but they could have done better claiming the issue of logistics should not have come up, considering the road network of the state which he said could help to cover the whole of the state in 2 to 3 hours.

Mr Nwagwu was however less subtle as he stated that public officers are put in position to solve problems and not to give excuses for why they failed. He stressed that the INEC Chairman, Professor Jega’s admission of regrets says a lot and Nigerians need to start asking questions about how public officers handle their jobs.

Discussions on the programme also touched on the controversies trailing the voter register and voter verification process, issues of underage voters, INEC’s introduction of technology, as well as the November 30 supplementary election, with both men warning about the identified challenges springing up again, ahead of the 2015 General Election.

Anambra Crisis is A Way Of Making Money – Odidika

A legal practitioner Kenneth Odidika, has said that the crisis in Anambra state should not come as a surprise stating there are other parties’ asides the Peoples’ Democratic Party,(PDP) but that the best should be brought out to salvage the state.

Speaking on Channels Television Sunrise Daily, Mr. Odidika added that the heat in Anambra is a strategy of making money, “people go to Anambra to make money”.

Speaking on the developments in Taraba state, Mr. Odidika explained that the governor of Taraba state did what the law asked him to do, by transmitting a letter to the speaker, he said that the law doesn’t say that the speak has to consider it.

He mentioned that the speaker doesn’t have the right to call the letter a forgery, adding that the document has not been checked which makes them unserious.

He added that the governor has done what the law demands him to do.

Rivers Assembly Crisis Is ‘Symptomatic’ Of Nigerian Political Scene

A legal practitioner, Kenneth Odidika, on Thursday analysed the Rivers State Assembly crisis, stating that the incident is ‘symptomatic’ of what the Nigerian political system is about.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odidika decried the actions of a lawmaker, Chidi Llyod, who was filmed assaulting a fellow lawmaker with the mace of the State House of Assembly.

Mr Lloyd was subsequently rushed to the Government House clinic where he received treatment for injuries allegedly inflicted on him before he battered his colleague.

Mr Odidika, a former politician with the People’s Democratic Party, claims that any wounds on Mr Lloyd may have been self-inflicted to gather pity as such is typical of the nation’s political class.

Narrating his experience as a former politician, he questioned the credibility of Lloyd’s medical condition, asking how someone who was seen attacking a victim land in the hospital for injuries.

He said that Lloyd must be ‘Mike Tyson’ to have had enough strength to attack someone who allegedly attacked him first.

Politics in Nigeria, he added, is all about personal interest and the saga in Rivers state is the same thing that happens all over the nation, only that the situation reached a ‘boiling point’.

“The average Nigerian politician is very devious” he said, stating that this could be an initiative of either the pro-Amaechi faction or the anti-Amaechi faction.

“The characters that have the appellation leader or leaders in Nigeria will not, from what I’m seeing or from what I’m observing, take Nigeria anywhere, except downhill.”

He called on Nigerians to “rise and take back their country.”

Default Mode of Nigerians Is Fraud – Lawyer

A lawyer, Kenneth Odidika on Wednesday said that corruption is so widespread in Nigeria that the default mode of the citizens of this country is fraud.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odidika said the declaration of emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states following the incessant violent attacks in these areas is a good move by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The lawyer blamed corruption as responsible for the proliferation of illegal weapons especially those in the control of the rebel groups in Northern Nigeria.

He said, “Our default mode as Nigerians is fraud. These arms and ammunitions are not invincible; they don’t come to Nigeria and then materialize. They are brought in through our borders and I can assure you some of the borders are not even the ones we talk about in Yobe and Adamawa. I’m talking about through our ports and we have Customs people there.”

Speaking on the state of emergency declared on three troubled states in the North, Mr Odidika said this is a sign that President Jonathan is not weak and should serve as a warning to other state governments that have not been able to curtail violence in their domain.

He said, “By virtual of what he did yesterday (Tuesday), it is obvious now to those who thought he couldn’t act that this man could actually act and he could bite.

“If what has happened in Kano continuous, chances is that he will take the same action and even more drastic one.”