Feature Article of Friday, 25 January 2013
Columnist: Damptey, Daniel Danquah
The Supreme Court has power to remove Mahama from office and make Akufo Addo President.
We know that when big masquerades appear, little ones take to their heels. Nobody has and will ever dispute the fact that those who start running usually start walking and in most times, crawl? Is it not equally true that neither the Amalgamation of Nefarious Alliance against Democratic Dividends nor a conglomerate of deficient and criminally-minded persons have ever succeeded in any part of the world? The Nefarious Destructive Cancer seems to have forgotten one important thing and it is better they are reminded to enable them come to the realization that a day of reckoning awaits them and that the day the lion is fatally crippled will be the day the sheep will go to demand what rightly belongs to it. Surely, there can be no peace without justice.
But it is a sad phenomenon today to realize that this cardinal principle has been thrown overboard by Ghanaians. Our philosophy of being one another’s keeper is no longer tenable. Negative Politics has taken the better part of us for everything one does or think is hinged on that.
The December 7, 2012 Elections have come but the reverberations are still with us. The New Patriotic Party which happens to be the largest opposition party in the country has smelt a rat in the conduct of the elections and is in court to challenge its outcome. All eyes will from now on be feasted on the Supreme Court which is the final adjudicator of the case.
The likely scenario at the Supreme Court: There are four likely scenarios to emerge from the petition at the Supreme Court. These are –
1) The petition can be thrown out due to lack of evidence. Under that scenario, the status quo remains.
2) The results from polling stations where irregularities took place can be annulled and fresh elections ordered.
3) It can order a Re-Run Elections between the top contenders in the last elections.
4) The Supreme Court can order that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo won the elections and should be sworn in as President.
Nigeria as a Test Case: I have been an expert on Nigerian politics and have chosen to use the country as a test case because we share a common history and ancestry with that country. We cannot discount the fact that when Nigeria sneezes, Ghana catches cold. Recently, when there was gas shortage in the country, President John Mahama quickly rushed to Nigeria to have discussion with the country’s political leadership on how to remedy the situation here in Ghana.
Nigeria was the first to stage a coup d’état in 1965. Ghana followed suit in 1966. The two countries have had a history of expelling nationalities of other African countries from its territory. Ghana first did it in 1969. Nigeria retaliated twice in quick succession. Ghana was the first of the two countries to hand over power from the Military to a civilian administration when in 1969 the NLC’s Three Member Presidential Commission led by Lt. Gen. Okatakyie Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifah handed over power to Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia in 1969. Twenty years later, Nigeria’s Matthew Aremu Okikiade Olusegun Obasanjo of the Supreme Military Council Handed over power to the newly elected President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
Nigeria introduced the National Service Scheme and Ghana quickly followed suit. Nigeria began the concept of the JSS& SSS concept and Ghana had no choice but to tag along. Here, it must be stated that one or two English speaking West African Countries had earlier taken the lead before Nigeria. Again, it was Nigeria that mooted the ECOMOG idea and Ghana joined. What about the National Road Safety Corps? It was Nigeria First, Ghana Second. The same with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation! Ghana now has the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation whose one time Chairman, Tsatsu Tsikata was sacked by Jerry Rawlings at the twilight of the First NDC’s administration.
Nigeria is yet to execute any of its past leaders for alleged acts of embezzlement, corruption and dissipation of public funds. Ghana had in 1979 executed eight high ranking military men including three former heads of states. We must however not overlook the fact that in the Eighties Nigeria had executed more than sixty soldiers and civilians for their complicity in a coup attempt to remove the evil genius of a President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda and his Vice, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu from power. But enough of the comparison!
The country called Nigeria: It is a Federal State, made up of 36 States with Abuja as its capital. The status of Abuja is like that of Washington DC. The country has an Executive President assisted by a Vice President and an Executive Council made up of Ministers. In appointing Ministers, the issue of Federal Character is strictly adhered to, for each State of the Federation has to be represented. The Government is modeled on that of the United States. It has a bi-cameral legislature, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each State is represented by Two Senators. Representation in the House of Representatives is based on population - for the larger the population the larger its representation at the House of Representatives.
State Governors: Each State is administered by a Governor, assisted by a Deputy who is elected on the ticket of a political party by the citizens of the State. Its le legislative functions are performed by the State Legislature headed by the Speaker.
Many of the State Governors have been removed from office due to proven acts of voting irregularities, including blatant rigging. The following are examples of how different State Election Petition Tribunals and the Courts of Appeal handled cases in respective states of the Federation. We should not forget that in a Federal States, Governors wield executive powers similar to those held by Presidents of countries like Ghana.
Anambra State: Dr Chris Ngige of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was sworn in as Governor in May, 2003. He fell out with his God-father, Chris Ubah. In the heat of the confusion, Chris Ubah had stated publicly that he would tell the true story of how the PDP won the election and how it did not win the elections. Peter Obi of the All People’s Grand Alliance (APGA) filed a writ challenging the declaration of Dr Ngige as winner of the 2003 Gubernatorial Elections. In March 2006, the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu declared that Ngige’s electoral victory in 2003 was fraudulent. Peter Obi was then sworn in as Governor when his submission that he had scored majority of votes cast in the Anambra Gubernatorial Election was upheld by the court.
He had only served for nearly one year out of his Four Year mandate when the Electoral Commission ordered a General Election thereby bringing his tenure to a premature end. Andy Ubah of the PDP was elected Governor and sworn in May, 2007. Peter Obi brought an action at the Federal High Court challenging INEC decision to hold gubernatorial election in Anambra State, arguing that his tenure would end in March 2010, rather than 2007, having taken the Oath of Office on 17th March, 2006. His petition was thrown out at both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal. On further appeal before the Supreme Court in June 2007, the Court ordered his re-instatement on grounds that his tenure would start on the day when he took the Oath of Office.
Osun State: Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the PDP became Governor in May, 2003 and was re-elected in 2007. Rauf Aregbesola initiated a petition against the election and declaration, but the State Election Petion Tribunal threw the case out. He appealed again and fresh hearing started in 2009. Governor Oyinlola was caught on tape telling local PDP politicians on how he would supply army uniforms, arms and ammunition to party foot soldiers so that they could rig the re-run elections in nearby Ekiti State.
On November 26, 2010, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan and presided over by Justice Clara Ogunbiyi ruled that Oyinlola had not won the 2007 Gubernatorial Election and that Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) be sworn in as Governor.
Ondo State: Olusegun Agagu of the PDP was declared winner of the April 2007 Gubernatorial Election by INEC. The candidate of the Labour Party, Dr Olusegun Rahman Mimiko challenged the results of the declared election.
On July 25, 2007, the Ondo Stat Election Petition Tribunal, chaired by Justice Garba Nabaninwa sacked Agagu from office after discounting invalid votes in 3 Local Government Areas. The Tribunal found out that Olusegun Agagu had 128, 669 votes against Rahman Mimiko’s 198, 269 votes. It ordered that Mimiko be sworn in as Governor.
Ekiti State: On 26th September, 2006, the State House of Assembly impeached Governor Ayo Fayose of the PDP and his Deputy, Mrs. Abiodun Christine Olujumi on charges of gross misconduct.
On 19th October, 2006, President Obasanjo declared a State of Emergency and appointed Lieutenant Colonel Tunji Olorun as Sole Administrator. He was replaced by Tope Ademuluye in 2007.
Olusegun Oni was elected Governor in April, 2007. The Action Congress Party’s candidate, Dr. Fayemi Kayomi challenged the results. The Tribunal ordered a cancellation of the results in 63 wards and ordered a Re-Run in the affected wards. The State Electoral Commissioner refused to announce the results alleging fraud and went into temporary hiding. The incumbent Governor, Olusegun Oni won in May, 2010 by a split decision of 3 to 2 at the election Tribunal.
Not satisfied with the judgement, Dr Kayomi appealed at the Appeal Curt, which is the final adjudicator of gubernatorial elections. On September 14, 2010, the Court declared Dr Fayemi Kayomi as Governor after nearly three and half years of legal battle.
Edo State: In the April 2007 Gubernatorial Elections, Dr Oserheimen Osunbor of the PDP was declared winner over Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomole of the Action Congress of Nigeria by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC). Comrade Oshiomole contested the outcome in court. On March 20, 2008, Edo State Election Petition Tribunal nullified the election of Osunbor and declared Oshiomole the winner.
On November 11, 2008, a Federal Appeal Court, sitting in Benin City upheld the ruling of the State Elections Petition Tribunal declaring Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomole to be Governor of Edo State. The decision was based on several voting irregularities.
The Ghanaian situation: I have given these copious examples to illustrate how the court system works in various African countries of which Ghana is one. The write up is to serve as a precursor and prepare the minds of the citizenry on the likely consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Alhaji Bature’s assertion: I vehemently disagree with the assertion by Alhaji Bature that the Supreme Court cannot declare Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo winner of the December 7, 2012 Presidential Elections, if evidence points to the fact that he obtained the highest number of valid votes cast. Evidence abounds in the examples I have given. In the case of Ondo State, the court even gave the exact number of votes gained by the contending parties.
Alhaji Bature by his assertion is attempting to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians. It is mischievous and if not challenged and rebuffed, is bound to cause chaos and confusion in the likely event of the Supreme declaring Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo as President–Elect. Alhaji Bature’s assertion has been echoed by other devious characters like THE TRAITOR Kwasi Pratt and the turn coat Kakra Essamuah.
Unnecessary delay at the court’s proceedings will be meaningless: Any of the contending parties, especially the NDC can adopt all the delay tactics in its arsenals, but it will amount to nothing. No amount of ‘filibusting’ can prevent the Crossing of the Rubicon. The pragmatic forward march of the progressive forces cannot and will never be halted by any amalgamation of Nefarious Alliance Against Democratic Dividends.
People are under the erroneous impression that if the court process is not concluded within four years, that will be the end of the matter. But that is not correct. The mandate of the President is Four Years. Therefore, if even the case is concluded in December 2013 and Nana is sworn in as President in January, 2014, his mandate will expire in January 2017, not in January 2016 as is the belief amongst members of the Nefarious Destructive Cancer. To such people I advise them to face reality and not be taken in by the propaganda of agents from the kingdom of darkness who are out to win converts for their rapidly shrinking kingdom.
Need to enact a law to punish EC officials who aid or abet in rigging elections: I am very optimistic that the Supreme Court’s verdict will make it necessary for an amendment to the electoral laws to be effected. The verdict, if it goes against President Mahama and the EC will open a can of worms whose cancerous spread can only be checked by meting out stiffer punishment to staff of the EC and anybody who aids or abets in rigging elections to make it possible for an unpopular candidate to emerge. This of course, includes the Commissioner himself.
Parliament should start thinking of enacting a Law to establish a Special judicial body to ensure enforcement of the Court’s verdict, should it go against the incumbent government.
No need to panic: There appears to be a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. It is hoped that the two contending parties will willingly accept the court’s verdict whichever way it goes. Both parties were signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Kumasi. Thus, the call on both parties, especially the President to give an undertaking to abide by the verdict is neither here nor there. Both have already committed themselves.
Conclusion: Ghanaians expect nothing but the truth from the Nine Eminent Judges of the Supreme Court who will adjudicate over the petition. The future survival of this great country of ours depends on their arriving at a fair decision which will be acceptable to all including the international community. We therefore pray that in arriving at such a decision, the Judges will be guided by the principle of fairness, transparency and the Fear of God.
Daniel Danquah Damptey. (0243715297)