Virtuperations and the decadence of political campaigns in Nigeria
Few days ago, a video surfaced on social media where a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ondo State and a senior lawyer was talking to some group of persons where he issued threats of giving the Ondo State electorates the Yahaya Bello and Militant treatments. The said the video was confirmed by Hon. D. Isaac Kemekeke himself in his response to a genuine concern raised by Her eminence, Moyinoluwa Olubunmi Falowo, the Regent of Ibulesoro, Akure, Ondo State in an open letter to the learned senior lawyer who went ahead to affirm his militant treatment prescription but was silent on the Yahaya Bello’s treatment.
For those who haven’t watched the video or those non-Yoruba speaking persons who may have seen the video, Hon. Isaac Kekemeke mentioned ‘Idajo’ (appellation/nickname for Ondo State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Bayo Igbira, and Amoda. My interactions with members of the public on the relevance of the above-mentioned persons revealed they are non-state actors and they are politicians who have tendencies to disrupt and cause mayhem during electioneering campaigns and the election proper.
He went ahead to mention ‘Federal might’ (a reference to the use of the various security apparatus of the Federal Government to intimidate the electorates of Ondo State during the election). He stated that Eyitayo Jegede, SAN the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has been ranting that his posters have been defaced and stated that he hasn’t seen anything. He went further to state that he is a Militant and that none of the candidates in the upcoming election can withstand and or talk to Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State whose election was characterised by violence and death of many persons in November 2019. The long and short of the content of the video is to instill fear in the hearts and minds of the indigenes and electorates in Ondo State as they approach the Gubernatorial election scheduled for 10th October 2020 through the use of non-state actors to foment trouble, destabilize and or intimidate the electorates during the elections.
I believe that a lawyer like myself ought not to make inciting comments at all how much more in public. Furthermore, a lawyer is under obligation amongst other things; ‘to uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and shall not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner.’
The above is the exact words of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners which rules are made pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act by the Attorney General of the Federation and Chairman of the General Council of the Bar.
Hon. D. Isaac Kekekmeke, Esq is a senior lawyer, a former Attorney General of Ondo State and Commissioner for Justice; a former Commissioner for Lands; an elder in the State and a leader in his own right as well.
I am well aware that Hon. D. Isaac Kekekmeke did express his intention to be Governor of Ondo State in the last Gubernatorial primaries of one of the political parties and lost. May be his loss is not unconnected to his inability to control what comes out of his mouth or diarrhoea of the mouth. Who knows?
Let me digress a little by going historical. I have known the senior lawyer for over three decades while living at Chief Aworunse’s House (down) Irewole Street, Okitipupa, Ondo State and I was endeared to him then as a young school leaver by the fact that he was a gentle and humble lawyer. Amongst his contemporaries then were Chief Olusola Oke SAN; Chief Olajide Ajana, SAN; Honourable Justice Fola Adeyeye; Honourable Justice Peter Ikujuni; Apostle O. B. Tobase; late Ade Ayeomoni etc. Subsequently, I became a classmate to his younger sister at Mr. Goma’s lesson in 1993 when I was preparing for Joint Admission and Matriculation Board JAMB examination.
Fast forward to 2002 while doing my Court and Chambers attachments at the High Court of Ondo State in Akure (the Court and Chambers attachments being prerequisite for the award of the Bachelor of Laws (BL) Certificate by the Nigerian Law School) where he had his office at Toyin Bookshop. I was opportune to visit his law firm before I concluded the said Court and Chambers attachment.
All my respect and regards for Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke, over the years, were deflated and lost the day I watched the video where he threatened the entire people of Ondo State with the Yahaya Bello’s treatment and Militant attack.
It may be that Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke has lost sight of the circumstances surrounding the General Elections in 2015 where an incumbent President with the enormous powers at his disposal was defeated in the first of its kind in Nigeria’s history as a nation. The then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan even congratulated the winner before the final results were declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) thereby laying a foundation for the country to accept defeat where necessary and avoid overheating the polity. It also earned the former President accolades around the world. Again, in 2019, Governor Seyi Makinde defeated an incumbent party in Oyo State to emerge as the Governor of the State. Other states in the country where the incumbent Governors were defeated are Adamawa and Bauchi States and the people in the said states were not given Yahaya Bello or Militant treatments.
The lessons in the above instances are that incumbency without more is nothing.
What helps the incumbents is the opportunity to affect the lives of the people when in power. Democracy is good and efficient as it makes the election a recurrent that no matter how powerful a Governor, a President or a Legislator is a day will come at least once in 4 years when he or she will go before the electorates to seek for their votes and no power on earth, not even the power of the guns, artilleries, and mortals could prevent the electorate from exercising their right to choose who they want.
If Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke’s party has not done what it ought to do in the last 42 months or he has lost record of what the party has done I will like to encourage him to go back to the drawing board and take an inventory of what its party has done and started mentioning them one after the other so the people who sit on judgment on election day may consider his political party or reject it. However, elections are not won on the threat of violence or militancy and I believe the lesson of the 2007 Ondo State General Election which PDP lost to the LP will serve as a lesson here and I am sure Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke knows what I am saying because he was a senior member of late Dr. Olusegun Kokumo Agagu’s administration which the Court of Appeal sacked on the 24th of February, 2009 as a result of the challenge by the Labour Party led by Dr. Olusegun Rahman Mimiko.
The question that will agitate the minds of all the indigenes of Ondo State and their friends across the country is: What will be the gain of our leader if his militants and militiamen kill the indigenes of Ondo State? Whether in the interim or in the long run there will be no gain learned senior. History is not nice to anyone who intimidates others with powers that God gave to them. Even Paul, the Apostle, regretted his actions in the death of Apostle Stephen. In his epistle to the people of Ephesus in Ephesians 2: 8-9, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith, and not of yourselves, It is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast’.
Let me use this opportunity to remind the learned senior lawyer that he owes the legal profession and some of us his juniors and admirers a lot of explanations on the said video. Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke has stylishly in his response to the Regent said Eyitayo Jegede, SAN will not be harmed by him as he has no capacity to harm him neither will he be visited with Yahaya Bello’s or his Militants treatment. I am of the opinion that it is not only the candidates that should be assured of safety; all the indigenes of the State need the assurance that no harm will come to them. And as postulated earlier, the learned senior lawyer has a duty not to engage in any act unbecoming of a legal practitioner which duty he must observe at all times. Let me also remind him that the infractions for which the former Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, SAN was de-robed as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria was not far from what he exhibited in the uncontrolled statements made in the video and the earlier he retraces his steps, the better.
I will implore our leader and ‘Militant’ to read again ‘The Casualties’ by Professor J. P. Clark. Two lines in the poem read as follows; ‘The casualties are not only those who started a fire and now can’t put out. The casualties are many and a good number as well outside the scenes of ravage and wreck’. Professor J. P. Clark captured the above lines succinctly and the lines perfectly fit the situation on ground. The indigenes of the State who are to be given the Yahaya Bello’s treatment are our brothers and sisters; our fathers and our mothers; our friends and our colleagues; our nieces and our nephews; our cousins and our neighbours; our uncles and our aunties; our children and our siblings; our teachers and the civil servants; our farmers and students; our okada riders and our drivers; our unemployed out-of-school indigenes of the state and those who have been laid off from their jobs by several circumstances beyond their control. The people who are meting out the treatments on the other hand maybe indigenes of the State who have sold their hearts to the devil or those from other states in Nigeria.
During the 1983 General Election in Ondo State I was 10 years old then and I witnessed how an NPN leader threatened my father with his pistol which the NPN Government had procured for its leaders and 37 years afterwards that incident hasn’t left my mind and it has become worse now. I believe the best a senior lawyer and a committed party member ought to do to support his political party is to campaign on the amenities that his party has done in the last 4 years but to threaten violence by mentioning names of persons who antecedents are synonymous with violence is disastrous and below the expectation of the revered senior lawyer and leader. What happened in 1983 was a spontaneous reaction to indiscriminate statements by leaders who spoke like nonentities.
Again in 2007, the ‘OwoAgbara’ and ‘WogbaWegba’ which literarily means ‘the Hand of Power and by Force by Crook’ mentality of the PDP and Labor Party led to the highjack of ballot boxes with military men and securities agencies caused lots of havoc to the psyche of Ondo State people. The end result was the sacking of the PDP Government.
Hon. D. Isaac Kekekmeke, I do not think you want any of the above to be your lot? If genuinely you don’t want the curse of the people of Ondo State, kindly retrace your steps and seek genuine forgiveness.
Sir, don’t be fooled that the incumbent Governor of the State will hand over power to you in February 2025. I am a student of political history and those who lead and or rule this country are chosen by God and not by overzealousness which your statement and body language depict.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was not ready to be Head of State in 1976 when Murtala Mohamed was assassinated and neither was he ready to lead in 1998 when he was released from prison by the Abdusalam Abubakar Government.
Remember that the late AbubakarAudu was already a winner of the Gubernatorial election in Kogi State in 2016 when death came calling at 430am and his running mate, Hon. James Faleke lost out even as he challenged his loss from the Federal High Court through the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
I learned too Olagunsoye Oyinlola was only interested in becoming a Senator in Osun State before a party leader in PDP intimated that if he has N20 Million Naira he will become the Governor of the State.
Mr. Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State was not long in his party before he became the Gubernatorial candidate. Mind you, the initial primaries that produced the likes of Babajide Sanwoolu in Lagos and Adebayo Adelabu in Oyo State also produced Mr. Adekunle Akinlade in Ogun State but because the powers-that-be do not want the Mr. Adekunle Akinlade because of his closeness to the former Governor of the State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, another gubernatorial primaries was ordered and Mr. Dapo Abiodun won the primaries and later the Gubernatorial elections.
In the final analysis, I call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Mohamadu Buhari to urgently call Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke to order and preserve the people of Ondo State. I also call on the Director-General of the Department of State Service; the Ondo State Director of the Service; the Inspector General of Police; the Commissioner of Police, Ondo State Command to immediately invite Hon. Isaac Kekemeke for questioning.
I call on the well-meaning indigenes and leaders of thoughts in Ondo State and by extension lovers of the state across the country to prevail on the relevant agencies of government to do their work.
I call on Civil Society Groups in Ondo State and Nigerian at large to stand up to Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke and his goons who are planning violence on the people of Ondo State in the October 2020 Gubernatorial election to retrace their steps and embrace peace.
I call on all our traditional rulers: Obas and Chiefs in Ondo State and Nigerian at large to call Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke to order to embrace peace and stop the threat of violence on the people of Ondo State.
I call on our religious leaders in Ondo State and Nigerian at large to please beg Hon. D. Isaac Kekemeke not to foment violence with his Militant and militias. I call on the Body of Benchers, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) to immediately commence disciplinary action against Hon. Isaac Kekemeke serves as deterrence to others.
I call on the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, a legal luminary and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to immediately intervene and call Hon. Isaac Kekemeke to order. If after 3 years and six months in office as Governor of the State members of your party do not have any tangible things to relate with to convince their followers to support their political party, it does speak volume either they are inept or they are out to cause embarrassment to the ruling government.
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