By Dirisu Yakubu
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Segun Showunmi, has said that the 2023 presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar, chose the path of legality to seek redress at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal because he is a democrat.
Showunmi, who stated this in Abuja on Sunday at a parley with journalists, added that the call on the judiciary to be alive to its responsibility as it prepares to deliver judgment on the petitions challenging the declaration of President Bola Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 poll, is justified given its role as the last hope of the common man.
Atiku, he noted, could have resorted to other alternatives, stressing however that his democratic disposition means he would only choose the path of decency and civilization to press home his demands.
He said, “Atiku has done no harm, he is a democrat. The only thing Atiku has done is that he has chosen to remain a democrat. You don’t expect a Fulani man not to be able to find Boko Haramists, killers to destabilise things. Not doing it is because he is a democrat. The entire world and even the ancestors that have gone are eagerly awaiting this judgment.
“Sometimes, the judiciary has a mediating responsibility to stabilise the society. But the judiciary cannot stabilise the society against the perception by the generality of the people of that society. If it is the general opinion of the people that something is fundamentally wrong, the judiciary has a duty to let the society understand that it is not called the last bastion of all persons for no reason.”
Reflecting on the disruption of democratic order in some African countries over the past few years, the PDP chieftain said the society must expect a reaction anytime the will of the people is usurped by power forces.
“We should let the judiciary know that if democracy is failing all around us in Mali, Niger Republic, Burkina Faso, and Guinea among others, it is because people are beginning to feel that there is no rescue anywhere for their will. Normally, it is the judiciary that is supposed to rescue the will of the people. We must remember that national cohesion is better than performance sometimes because you cannot perform at the expense of the critical stakeholders of the Nigerian project.
“We need to remind our society that this country became independent on the backbone of three persons. A South-Western man, the Hausa-Fulani man and an Igbo man,” he added, even as he aimed a veiled dig at President Tinubu who has been quoted many times for asking Nigerians to endure the pain of subsidy removal from petrol.
He said, “You cannot be telling society to endure when you have not cured illegality. We have the oxymoron, “Eyes on the judiciary’ but the truth of the matter is that the judiciary is not immune from what is going on in society. Wives and children of judicial officers are not immune from what is going on in society. Sometimes, the will of the people is by extension, the will of God.
“The only thing they can do not to stand against God is to rule in the best interest of their conscience and the mortality of their judgment because it will be quoted in the course of time. The entire world is looking at Nigeria and they are not going to be ashamed to do the right thing. If democracy fails, we can patch it up with the judiciary but if the judiciary fails, that society has failed.”