You are currently viewing Court and Conmen, by Sam Omatseye
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Ghost tsetse flies yielded their toxins to the court air. It infected young and old, big heads and small, politicians and lawyers, snoring SANs, governors and ministers, shut-eyed journalists. They turned heads clockwise and the other way. Their minds clocked out. Some nodded for stress out of stress. The most comic stiffened ramrod, eyes closed, heads immobile, like some sort of electrocuted zombies. Absent Obi. Absent Atiku. We were deprived the chance to know how they dozed. Vice President Kashim Shettima did not oblige the toxins, his eyes flapping and basking in their victory laps.

But afterwards, Atiku’s and Obi’s eyes trembled with fury at the judiciary. Apparently hurt, they are hurtling to the Supreme Court. They may have to explain what the tribunal said about their con games. The judges said the petitioners gave promise without premise, advanced premise without evidence, evidence that stretched credibility, facts without figures, names without places, identities without names. They accused the president about certificate but presented a witness as expert without a certificate, and a copycat mathematician.

How do you expect a primary to pick a vice president when the law did not say that. Was that not puerile. How do you want to make Abuja citizens democratic royalty? It makes their 25 percent into 100 percent if you could win 36 states and lose but fall short of 25 percent in FCT.
What was the point of saying you had charts and tables attached but they were nowhere in sight? Why say votes were inflated and you had no figures? No mathematical explanation. No addition or subtraction. How did they want the judges to know? How did you present somebody as Amazon expert only for the fellow to have no letter of employment? What of the fellow who came as polling agent and said he visited about 20 polling units after results were computed at his own. So, he stopped time like the Old Testament miracle in the 20 polling units so he could visit them one after the other?
You say polling units suffered irregularities without naming them. How do you turn hearsay into facts. You have three weeks to get your witnesses together, and you fail. When the proceedings are in full steam, you smuggle them in. Is that judicial 419?

In trying to prove rigging, they revealed themselves as riggers, and what amateurs at the game! All eyes on the riggers. Obi deployed a phrase, “coterminous with justice.” The word simply means sharing a common boundary. Coterminous is not synonymous. If Obi wanted coterminous, it won’t help him. A neighbour is no resident. I wonder who the speech writer was.

The frauds are shouting fraud in court. Before the polls, the Labour Party acknowledged it did not have polling agents in wide swaths of the country. So how was it going to prove fraud in those areas? It must only depend on imagination. If Einstein said “imagination is more important than knowledge,” he did not mean fiction, he being a scientist himself. He meant imagination enriches knowledge. Knowledge precedes imagination. Hence, the Poet Shelley called for powers to imagine what we know. Elupee did not know. It merely imagined votes. That breeds fiction. To bring fiction to court is fraud.
As for Atiku and PDP, they had the resources and personnel to deploy agents in all the over 700k polling units. As veterans of elections, you do not only prepare for polls but also after. The big parties prepare funds to tackle post-election challenges, including funds to pay lawyers. With all the agents across the country, how could you not within a week get all the voting documents together and sort out discrepancies and inconsistencies?

The PDP elite know the facts from their agents. The facts disappointed them because they lost. Hence, they sought a crooked way out: exploit SANs to dazzle the bench. Their quest for IREV and electronic transmission is red herring. Is IREV not based on concrete voting and the forms filled by their agents? Is that not why the electoral law states that the INEC should choose its own options for releasing the results?
The so-called Obidients set up an online portal to collate in real time the results of the polls across the country. When the numbers favoured Tinubu, they shut down immediately. Let them deny it.


Lawyers who say it is impossible to prove a presidential case, deny history. It was done in a number of states in this republic. Have we forgotten how Kayode Fayemi, Rauf Aregbesola, Adams Oshiomhole and Olusegun Mimiko became governors? There was mathematical with forensic rigour. They sifted polling unit after polling unit. Additions and subtraction yielded numbers that judges could assess. It was their agents who made the forms and facts available. If we can do it in states, why not extend it nationwide? And they predated the age of IREV and digital speed.

This essayist did minus and additions of Ekiti polls on this page and some accused me of prejudging the case, or taking the wind out of the prosecution. In the same way, some people wondered over my last week’s essay if I knew the verdict beforehand. They are venting their frustrations. I knew nothing better than the average Nigerian.
I followed the proceedings that hollowed out Obi and Atiku. The obidients cut clips and video vignettes out of context and fed their folks. So, they raised hopes based on nothing. They erected their own echo chambers.


I also pity the greed of its lawyers who flatter the secret hopes of Obi and Atiku, especially Atiku. One of the petitioners’ lawyers was copiously quoted in court. Did he feel flattered or chastened? He had warned in his book that a lawyer must follow all the rules, including amassing all documents within time. The judges mocked him for not abiding by his own precept. Remember Isaiah, “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” The scripture was teaching how we should be faithful to our written word.
It is lawyers like those of the petitioners that prompted Shakespeare’s character with the madcap name Dick the Butcher in Henry the VI to say, “the first thing we do, let’s kill the lawyers.”

The bard meant it in irony. But the point has never been lost on those who loath legal shysters. Jesus did not mince words when he proclaimed, “Woe unto you, Lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge.” We know some SANs who make a case for one politician and take the opposite position for another. It is Janus-faced.


Obi knows he can’t win in court. He is keeping the hopes of his rabid folks on the burner. He needs the movement. They fetishise his name and hallow his halo. He enjoys the idolatry. Obi cons his folks that he is selling democracy but he is retailing his own ego and ambition. Give him some credit. He speaks with practised charm, even if he could not transport his razzmatazz to the court. False stats about China cannot prove you won a polling booth. Such folksy bravura has its limits.

During the campaigns, Obidients were told, including on this page, they were Tinubu’s ticket to victory but they jeered. Obi was APC’s hero. Ross Perot’s followers gifted Clinton the same grace against George Bush. Bush never forgave the billionaire with a southern twang. I likened the Obidients to Asahel’s folly in the Bible who ran, like Fela’s joro jara joro, without looking left or right in spite of warning until he rammed into his death.

The same thing took them to court. They wanted to translate social media delusions into electoral truth. As Apostle noted, they are “ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.”

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