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Presidential Aspirants: Only Shekarau Is Qualified To Contest - Nigeria 2011

01 November 2010

By Saka Raji Audu

The Presidential election scheduled for April next year is fast approaching and every one is talking about the need to have free, fair and credible election in the country. But it appears that people do not know that for any election to be seen as credible, the contestants should also be credible by cleaning themselves off the moral stains on their body.


Recently, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC was said to have made advisory list of people it perceived as not credible enough to be fielded as candidates by the political parties. The basis upon which the EFCC made its advisory list was the past records of the affected politicians in the advisory list of EFCC. While no one wishes to undermine the perceived role of EFCC in its attempt to discharge its statutory obligation, it is axiomatic to add that the best advisory role EFCC would have taken without injuring personal feelings of being political was to have strongly advised that any indicted politician who wants to contest in the 2011 elections should show evidence from competent court of jurisdiction that such indictment has been challenged in the court and it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the indicted politician is not guilty of the indictment. It is then that such politician can be fielded or stand for election.


This type of advisory role would have stood the test of time before the EFCC and nobody would have seen the economic and financial crime commission as having personal axe to grind against anybody. By allowing people to show evidence of credibility from the court, a chunk number of indicted politicians who are heating the polity by gunning for 2011 election would have quietly withdrawn from the race without much ado about any thing, knowing full well that the court would have certainly convicted him or her of the indictment. It is through this advisory role by the EFCC that our polity would have been sanitized.


We however noted with dismay how the general public has been treated with various indictments of prominent presidential aspirants who are willing to contest the 2011 presidential election. For instance, it is not quite long ago when we are told that Mr. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who is aspiring to contest in the 2011 presidential election was accused or indicted of attempting to bribe delegates of N2 million each to enable him secure PDP presidential ticket. See front page of the Daily trust of October 29, 2010. We are informed by this paper that "the acrimonious presidential statement signed by presidential spokesman Ima Niboro, was in reaction to a report, published by the rightwing American Website World Tribune, which alleged that ""major payments are now being made to each of the delegates of the political parties, particularly the overwhelming large ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who decide the primary elections for the presidential elections in 2011." The report said "the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is bring PDP delegates out of the Federal Government funds, making most of the party delegates wealthy enough to buy a new home with the bribery funds." "The report also claimed that United States military strategists had said Jonathan gave $13,000 (about N2million) to each PDP delegate ahead of the party's primaries."

Indeed, the mere denial of this substantial corrupt allegation by the presidential spokesman is not enough to convince the readers that Mr. President Goodluck Jonathan is not guilty of the allegation. Therefore, before he should be allowed to contest, even his party primary election, he should be advised to take the medium of allegation "rightwing American Website World Tribune" to court and prove beyond reasonable doubt that the allegation was false. It was not long time ago that another presidential aspirant in PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar threatened to sue his defamers to court for damages. We expect that all these should happen before the election else, both Jonathan, Atiku and any presidential aspirant who are alleged to have engaged in one form of shoddy deal and the other should either be disqualified from the 2011 presidential election or show evidence from competent court of jurisdiction that the allegation against them are not true, leading to award of damages. This also applies to IBB and others who have been variously lampooned with allegation of corruption.


Obtaining court judgment and claiming damages against the fundamental allegations will strip off the moral burden hanging as cloth on the body stains of some presidential aspirants. It will enable them to enter the election contest as free as air and in the event any one of them is elected, the country will be free of corrupt leaders that have been the bane of our nation building. A good example was the case between Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state Vs Business Eye. On 11th October 2010, a High Court sitting in Kano awarded Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardauna of Kano the sum of N1 billion as damages in a defamation suit he filed against a Lagos based magazine, Business Eye.


In December 2008, the Business Eye published unfounded, damaging and libelous publication against the humble Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardauna Kano. It alleged that the governor had eight foreign accounts through which he corruptly enriched himself by engaging in money laundering and inflation of contracts. The magazine further alleged that the governor had bank account at the National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia, several houses in choice places in France by the name Ibrahim A. Shekarau. The governor took the matter to court and the defendants failed to provide evidence to support their claims. The court, in addition to the award of damages and the cost of litigation, also ordered the defendants to write a public apology to the plaintiff on the Business Eye's website, Economy International Magazine, the Guardian and This Day newspapers. It also restrained the defendants, their servants or privy from further use of the same or similar libelous words against the plaintiff. By this court judgment, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau has now cleaned himself of the corrupt allegations.


This is what we expect from other presidential aspirants who are now suffering from moral burden. At the eve of the 2007 general election, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau was politically and mischievously included in the misguided list of Ribadu's so called corrupt politicians. An administrative enquiry was hurriedly set up by the Obasanjo led federal government in order to officially stamped Ribadu's list so that they could not stand for election. But we were duly informed through the Daily Trust of 20th March 2007 that a Federal High Court in Kaduna quashed the report of the Ignatius Ayu Administrative panel of inquiry and Federal Government subsequent white paper. It was based on this that Shekarau was able to contest in his second term election, which he won, putting to shame those behind the unfortunate incidence.


Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the then EFCC Boss and one of the presidential aspirants under Action Congress of Nigeria has once been accused of buying houses in Dubai, Leeds, Chelsea and Abuja. Mr. President Jonathan was recently accused of attempting to bribe delegates with Federal Government Funds. General Ibrahim Babangida was accused of diverting millions of naira oil windfall during the 1991 gulp crisis. We are aware that during the crisis between Obasanjo and 2ic, Obasanjo revealed some funny things concerning about his 2ic, which require some clarification. We are recently told in an advertorial by the embattled former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Mr. Akingbola how Alhaji Bukola Saraki, Governor of Kwara State and a presidential aspirant under PDP bought over the bank. These various allegations need court clarifications before the 2011 election if credibility is any thing to go by in our next general election.


The characters involved in the article written by one Naiwu Osahon, renowned author, philosopher of science, mystique, leader of the world Pan-African Movement in the Sun newspaper Nigeria weekly column of May 26, 2003 and also updated in an online website of 2/5/2010 for emphasis should also consider the option of redeeming some fundamental allegations by the author.  It is only when the presidential aspirants mentioned show the public court judgment exonerating them of the various allegations that they could be admitted into the 2011 presidential poll.


In absence of this, we should note that the only credible candidate qualified to stand for the 2011 presidential election is the Governor of Kano State, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardaunan Kano. He is the only aspirant that deserves the mandates of Nigerians when the election comes. We should therefore strongly advise the rest presidential aspirants to save the money they are now wasting for campaign to channel such fund in redeeming their image from the court. If they fail to initiate such step and any of them bulldozes his ways to get elected, such election should be considered as fraudulent and cannot stand the test of time. It. should be declared null and void. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.


Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email: 




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