By. Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.
The judiciary has been referred to as the last man’s common hope and the fourth estate holding up the pillars of any democracy. Today, untrue to its supposed nature as an objective arbiter of truth and justice, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has elevated technicalities against substantive justice to authenticate Governor Oyetola.
The journey to the disaffirmation of what we have long known as the truth has been arduous and trying. The path to justice was strewn with setbacks, proxy wars, shadow-battles and concerted efforts which meticulously pulled a wool over the eyes of justice against the good people of Osun state.
Today, our apex court substantially spat in the face of the Osun electorate undermining a key feature of its very own creation being that manifest justice must be done and seen to be done at all times. We’ve witnessed today a huge chunk of the integrity of our Supreme Court blown to bits by its insistence on disregarding a substantive suit whose merit affects the lives and livelihood of a state and its people to tow the path of technicality.
Regardless of today’s verdict, I would like to commend Senator Ademola Adeleke whose effervescence, free spirit and resilience reinforced his faith in the courts to do right by the people of Osun state and also helped him stay the course of his legal battles against the backdrop of several attempts to derail the people’s mandate. Apparently, his faith in the courts and our judicial process has gone unrewarded and has been sacrificed on the alter of vain glorious pursuit of legalism and its damning rigidity.
Sir, some of us believe you duly won the election and a referendum by our people even though same has now been disregarded by the courts on the alter of legal summersaults. You are a man of vision and focus, true to the values which underscore unity, growth and development of the people.
You were courageous and bold, refusing to be stagnated by the antics of your opponents to sacrifice the people’s mandate. I celebrate your doggedness, and it is my prayers that may history remember you for standing up in defense of what is just.
You soldiered on against the most daunting odds, being at all material times the source of our confidence in the courts and its processes. Today, the long drawn trek through the wilderness have brought us upon the shores of legal rigidity and the bitter aftertaste of this technical loss will forever haunt us all.
I must not fail to commend the solidarity of our party, the PDP, under the able leadership of Hon. Soji Adagunodo, its members, resource persons, well-wishers and lovers of democracy who kept faith with this quest for justice that led all the way to the apex court. You have labored hard without let nor rest, believing in the rightness of this course and exerting yourselves in the name of all that is just and fair. Today, our hearts are grieved with a truly misplaced ruling by the Supreme Court but our spirits must remain undefeated having stood up for truth and never wavering.
Our dear great people of Osun state, beautiful men and women of valor, you have persevered these past months under a state government who, having stolen the people’s mandate, failed to prioritize your needs. We have gone many steps backwards since that unfortunate theft at the polls and sadly, the Supreme court has made it worse, killing the long vision of liberating Osun State.
I am livid with the reality that our courts would chose technicalities over doing justice to the merit of a matter before it. It is only in a corrupt entity called Nigeria that the mistake of a judge in a case is ruled as the mistake of a litigant! The Osun election judgement is strictly based on the absence of a Judge out of three Judges in just a day at the trial court without recourse to the substantive issue before the Court. This rape on our democracy enforced by the Supreme Court is diabolically unprecedented!
We shall take solace in the stoic acceptance of the court’s verdict by our leader, Senator Ademola Adeleke. He is the pride of Osun state and the poster. He has asked that we be consoled that we have our integrity intact, and I am proud that he refused to be cowed from day one.
We move on and will never stop wishing our state and people well. Just like Senator Adeleke, I will continue to do the utmost in serving my people where duty calls to the best of my means and capacity while we encourage Governor Oyetola to see his position as sacred trust for the people
God bless Osun State.
Pelumi Olajengbesi is Public Interests Lawyer, and Principal Partner at Pelumi Olajengbesi & Co. Law Corridor.