By Muhammad Ajah
The philosophy of putting the past behind does not only disprove courage and bravery, it depicts lack of foresight and preparation for the future. That is why we have found it difficult to develop as a nation. That is why Africa remains crawling in its developmental structuring. How dangerous it is to forget the past! But it is surely not in this context.
The danger this philosophy implies is that there should always be new thing, new policies and new creations. This means that the past should not shape our present and stir us for the future. A forgotten past is a wasted present and thus an uncertain future. In this kind of ideology, there is disintegration and lack of synergy in governance, no continuity and therefore no clear justification for governance and leadership. The good as well as the bad to be put behind!
The victory of President Jonathan at the tribunal was not to any contrary expectation. The five-man Presidential Election Petition Tribunal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja unanimously upheld the election, not only dismissing the petition of the Gen. Buhari’s led Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), but also asserting that Jonathan and Sambo were validly elected in accordance with the Electoral Act 2010. The Justices were Kumai Bayang Akaahs (Chairman), Mohammed Garba, M.A. Owoade, Igwe Aguibe and Obande Ogbunya.
Not also to any contrary expectation, President Jonathan described the judgment as a triumph for democracy and an affirmation of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people, praising CPC and its presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, for their respect for the rule of law and the 1999 Constitution.
The president called on CPC and Buhari to put the past behind them and support his administration’s efforts to transform the nation.
Three groups are seen after this national event. While National chairman of PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, and his party men hailed the judgment, the National chairman of CPC, Prince Tony Momoh and his people have expressed dissatisfaction with it, thus the decision to proceed to the Supreme Court to appeal against it. Former minister of the FCT and CPC chieftain, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is in this group, even as he links this to the removal of former head of Appeal Court, Salami from office.
The third group is led by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who advocates that future constitution amendment should take into cognizance the resolution of all election matters before swearing in of elected public officers – particularly the office of the president – as was suggested by the Justice Mohammed Uwais-led Electoral Review Committee.
The worry of many Nigerians is what CPC expects from the Supreme Court. However, el-Rufai has provided a seemingly convincing answer when he averred, “We are going to appeal, not because we think we can win but we want posterity to judge everybody.” And we ask what all these men now in CPC from PDP did after the 2003 and 2007 Presidential Elections.
Well, there is no harm in trying. The CPC stand is against the philosophy of putting the past behind. CPC is not happy with the past and the present. CPC does not want to forget the painful electoral past the country had undergone: still worst the last. But, like the systematically weakened ANPP, like the collection of all other 54 registered political parties and like the weakened multitude of Nigeria – nay the publicities – has the past not always been forgotten?
However, the special adviser to Mr. President on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati is optimistic that things will change for good. His assertion that Jonathan’s administration will continue to provide good governance anchored on the strong foundations of honesty, transparency, hard work and fairness to all, we all look onto with unabetted eagerness and yet feverish calando.
Muhammad Ajah is a poet, writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org