Connect with us

Opinion

Youth Unemployment: Another Disaster Waiting

Published

on

Fashola
Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Works

 

-After 10 Years Of Unemployment, I Resort To Learning New Things To Earn A Living, Man Cries

-Government Jobs Are Difficult To Get Except You Buy Them-Shola Akintunde, Job Seeker 

-Unemployment In FCT Is Growing Geometrically, Kelvin Ike, Director of Statistics

 

Lukmon Akintola, Felix Igbekoyi, Justice Iyasere, Toyin Adebayo, Yaqoub Popoola, Christian Nwokocha

Lagos, Owerri, Asaba, Warri, Abuja, Ekiti

Youth unemployment is fast becoming a global trend, as countries all over the world have a varying percentage.

Economist considers unemployment rate as the number of people in the workforce divided by the number of people looking for jobs but not working.

This number does not include students and retirees due to the fact that they are not considered as looking for work. It also does not include discouraged workers, people who have given up on finding a job.

According to a research conducted by Statista, the global youth unemployment rate stood at 13.2 in 2019, the rate at which it had been since 2016. Prior to then, it fluctuated between 12. 9 and 13.1.

In 2017, Burkina Faso led the global unemployment chart with 77 percent. Basically, it meant that for every 100 members of the workforce, 77 did not have jobs at the time of the survey.

Other countries with a huge percentage in terms of unemployment as at 2017 included Syria with 50 percent, Senegal with 48 percent, Haiti with 40.6 and Kenya with 40 percent.

Djibouti also had an alarming unemployment rate with 40 percent, while Marshall Islands had 36 percent, and Namibia’s percentage stood 36.

Unemployment is not peculiar with African countries alone as it is also a problem in more developed countries although in less percentage.

In 2018, the unemployment rate in the United Kingdom (UK); was put at 4.1 percent, the lowest it has been since the mid-1970s.

Between 2000 and 2008, unemployment in the UK fluctuated between 4.8 and 5.7 percent, before it rose suddenly in 2009 to 7.6 percent. After peaking at 8.1 percent in 2011, the unemployment rate gradually declined before returning to the level seen in the early 2000s.

Statistics show that in the first quarter of 2019, the unemployment rate in the UK fell even further to 3.8 percent, before increasing slightly in the second quarter to 3.9 percent. This amounted to approximately 1.3 million unemployed people, which was around 700 thousand fewer than it was just five years earlier.

In Nigeria, the youth unemployment rate is also at an alarming rate with young men and women being pushed into the labour market annually randomly.

While it is naturally assumed that conflict is the main cause of migration leading to unemployment in developing countries, there are peculiarities with each and every country.

In 2012, the number of unemployed youths in Nigeria was put at about 11.1 million, 12.9 percent.

By the third quarter of 2018, it had risen to 23.1 percent of the workforce, up from 18.1 percent a year earlier. This is according to Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria (NBSN), Yemi Kale.

Statistic from various states and Abuja, the capital of Nigeria make up these figures. The NBS put the rate of unemployed Abuja residents as 8.74.

The state of unemployment in the capital city of Abuja is better understood in the words of some of the city’s residents. 40 years old Stephen Acka said: “I have been unemployed for the past 10 years. Every effort to get another job is yet to yield fruit. I have to rely on learning new things in order to earn an income. The income though has not been regular, it is better than nothing.”

 25-year-old Grace Samuel stated that she has never had a steady job since graduating.  “I graduated over five years ago. Most of the companies I have been involved with either folded up or are unable to pay my salary at some point in time,” she said.

“I cannot say I have had any fantastic job. In Nigeria, you get jobs easily when you are connected. Government jobs are more difficult to get except you have someone that can help you or you buy the job,” Shola Akintunde said.

On his part, Sikiru Usman revealed that most of the jobs he has had have been in the private sector, but with ridiculous salaries. He now drives a Taxi in Abuja to make ends meet. Such are the experiences of a few residents of Abuja, but it is indeed a reflection of a bigger picture.

The alarming rate of unemployment in the FCT is also buttressed by the Director of Statistics, FCTA Department of Economic Planning Research and Statistics, Kevin Ike.

According to Ike, “Unemployment in Federal Capital Territory (FCT); is growing geometrically instead of arithmetically although none of the proportions are good. When it’s growing on a geometric proportion, it means it is growing at a supersonic speed. How did we get to this level? It is because of both Nigerians in the FCT and the city administrators. They were not prepared for it, we are not prepared to have this number of people looking for jobs in FCT, the jobs were not created.

“We don’t have seaports, no airport, what we have is just passenger airport and there are no industries.  Many people would want to invest in FCT. I think the bureaucracy of going into business here is something the government should look into. There should be a deliberate attempt to attract large industries, manufacturing industries, and corporate organisations in order to accommodate the number of school leavers who are looking for jobs here.

Also Read:  Why do some people enjoy experiencing pain during sex?

“FCT is the seat of government, so almost all the corp members who passed out don’t go anywhere; they stay in Abuja looking for greener pastures.  The rate of job seekers in the capital is alarming. All these politicians that come to Abuja, they don’t come to FCT alone they come with legions of men and women. So, Abuja will continue to be a host of all these job seekers until we are able to turn the city into both an administrative and business capital.

“A large portion of Abuja land should be dedicated to investors, especially large industries such as petrochemical companies, production companies, and marketing companies. Companies should also come in. We have a chunk of land for Agriculture and there is no mechanised means of Agriculture in FCT. If it continues like this, in the nearest future, people will start running from Abuja instead of running into Abuja. The rate of vices will grow to a level that they are going to pursue us from the city. The decentralisation of places like Maitama and Asokoro within the seat of power would also help,” Ike said.

The situation is no different in Delta State, a state located in the South-South region of Nigeria. The troubling reality was made vivid when the Delta State Government recently announced vacancies for 1000 classroom teachers specifically targeted at the riverine areas of the state.

For the 1000 vacancies, over 50,000 qualified persons applied. This is the true situation of things. The situation is not helped by the loss of jobs arising from hitherto buoyant businesses folding up.

Saturday INDEPENDENT’s visit to Premium Steel and Mines Limited formerly known as Delta Steel Company, Ovwian-Aladja confirmed the already known fact that there is a high percentage of unemployed youths in the state, as a heap of unsolicited applications from job seekers was seen in the office of the Human Resources Manager (HRM).

At McDermott Yard in Warri which used to house as many as 20 companies, the situation was not better, as the bubbling business location had turned a shadow of itself, with most of the companies shut down and their staffs plunged back into the labour market.

The situation has thus seen individuals with Masters Degree turning to tricycle riders, all in a bid to make ends meet.  The ugly picture of graduates turning tricycle drivers is common at Udu Local Government where an average of over 5000 commercial riders operates.

The unemployment rate in the state is also visible in the number of Nigerian graduates visiting the website of the Nigerian Federal Government, N-Power for a monthly stipends of N30,000,oo, while female graduates are forced into prostitution with some even leaving the country for places such as Italy where they can ply the trade internationally.

While it would be expected that the state government would be able to alleviate the problems of the people, it appears that it is beyond them.

Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeayin Okowa painted this picture recently when he said that the Federal government allocation to the state had dropped drastically from what it used to be, adding that a state which used to be paid N 7billion now gets N 3billion. He revealed that the present economic down tune, coupled with the debt profile of the state, which runs into N637.22 billion had not helped the situation.

Okowa was quoted saying: “I just learnt from the Accountant General of the state that this month allocation is about N3 billion. This cannot even pay the wage bill of workers. The low allocation is as a result of the recent pipeline vandalism in the state, this will also affect our allocation up to the month of August. This criminal act is destroying our state and preventing Deltans from enjoying the dividends of democracy to the fullest.

“It would be illogical for a state that is grappling to meet its payroll obligation to start employing more persons,” Okowa said, adding that his administration has done its best to meet up with its electoral promises through infrastructural development, and youth empowerment programmes as encapsulated in his SMART agenda.

Indeed, the Senator Okowa-led government has been diversifying the state’s economy via the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneur Programme (YAGEP) and the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) under which over 17,000 employment opportunities have been supposedly provided.

At a recent Orientation and Personal Effectiveness Workshop for trainees, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Youth Monitoring and Mentoring, Eddy Mekwuye, represented by Senior Special Assistant to the Government on Youth Monitoring and Mentoring, Olorogun Frank Ozue, said the Governor’s vision was to take youths off the streets in order to create employment for them, curb youth restiveness and to build entrepreneurs that would drive the economy of the state.

He reiterated the state government’s commitment to monitoring and mentoring of trainees during training and after establishment to ensure sustainability of the programmes.

The trainees were enrolled in various STEP skills such as Catering and Confectionery; Decoration and Event Management; Fashion Design and Textile Design; Cosmetology (Skin and Facial Care); Hairdressing and Makeover, including Braiding; Information Technology Services (Open to youths with a minimum of OND/NCE; and Welding and Fabrication. Other skills are Electrical and Solar Works; Carpentry and Joinery; Tiling and Interlocking; Plumbing; Production of Cleaning Agents; POP, Screed-Making and Painting; and Audio-visual Services.

Aside from that, the government has also embarked on a weeding process of ghost workers in the state’s employ; a move which it has assured would yield results that will help the economy.

Despite this, there have been questions regarding the cancellation of created jobs such as EduMarshal and Environmental Marshals that were already playing significant role in the state.

Also Read:  At last, Biodun Fatoyinbo's Wife Speaks On Husband's Allegation Of Rape

If the situation is bad in Delta State, it is worse in Ekiti State, a state referred to as Civil Service State due to its lack of employment from industries, a state dominated by government-owned agencies and institutions.

With arguably the highest number of workforce in the South West, the state is said to have as high as 50,000 workers while almost same number of youths are also unemployed.

Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) remains the largest private employers of labour in the state with staff strength of about 3000.

The unemployment level is mirrored by the governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, when he decried the over 20,000 applicants into the University Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Seeking solutions to the problem of huge unemployment in the state, the governor, like his counterparts in other states advocated entrepreneurial skills and knowledge-based economy to address the sharp shortfall in jobs, while allegedly considering the sack of some of the state’s staff.

Reacting to the move by the state government, the Chairmen of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Com. Sola Adigun, Nigerian Labour Congress (NBC), Com. Kolapo Olatunde and Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Com Kayode Fatomiluyi, Adigun advocated the an increase in internally generated revenues.

“Government must look inwards and increase its IGR. Nigeria Customs Service has increased its monthly revenue generations, by plugging all loopholes. There is also increment in oil supply at the international level, all these will help Ekiti economy in 2020, as sacking civil servants is not the best option,” he said.

The NLC chairman, Com Olatunde and his counterpart in JNC, Com. Fatomiluyi advised that government shouldn’t perceive sack as panacea to irregular payment of salaries.

It is also not different in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, as residents of the zone are groaning over the high rate of unemployment too. This is despite the years of resourceful efforts and entrepreneurship drives by different governments.

According to the former Minister of National Planning Commission, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman who spoke during the opening of Gross Domestic Computation in Nigeria for the South East located in Awka, Anambra State had the lowest unemployment rate with 10% in 2012, while Enugu State recorded 18.7% in 2018. The situation has since increased leaving young school leavers on the streets looking for jobs to help family members who spent their hard-earned resources to get them educated.

In the South East, residents of cities like Aba, Nnewi, Onitsha appears to be self-sufficient judging from the volume of commerce and industrialisation from the area. These are cities where everybody seems to have something doing to earn a living.

However, the story is different in states such as Awka, Abakiliki, Enugu, Owerri and Umuahia known for Civil Service jobs. Interestingly, there are also millions of youth and others above 50 years looking for jobs.

While it might be hard to show adequate data to confirm the alarming rate of unemployment in the South East, one fact remains that universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and vocational schools in the zone like other zones in Nigeria continue to push new graduates into the labour despite the fact that previous graduates continue to seek jobs.

In Ebonyi State, the commissioner for Information, Barrister Uchenna Orji said the state has an office for Planning and Statistics responsible for issues relating to employment and unemployment.

Speaking on the state’s unemployment level, Orji said: “The unemployment rate had reduced to 30%, stating that the state had been reduced to a construction site and people are usefully engaged. You can determine this when you check the crime rate. When there is employment, the crime rate reduces.

“We have empowerment programmes of government and attitudinal change. You can also measure this with the outstanding records of unemployment. Over N7m has been earmarked for children out of schools. We have a database and it targeted at University graduates, vocational, entrepreneur, technicians and Craftsmen.”

While statistics for unemployment in Abia State are not readily available, the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu is known to have inaugurated “Education for Employment Scheme,” a move to reduce unemployment and elevate Small and Medium Scale Entreprises (SME). While some say that the move has yielded results, others maintain that an unemployment rate of 17.5% as at April 2019 is not good enough.

Like many other states in Nigeria, Imo State has also not feared better, as the state’s established office for Directorate for employment which was set up in 1988, and attached to the office of the then military governor to create and supplement the efforts of the Federal Government at reducing unemployment appears not to have yielded any meaningful result.

Meant to help the youth to articulate, implement and create self-employment jobs that will form the basis for self-reliance, our correspondent could not find out from the office of the state statistics what the official record of unemployment was. However, unofficial sources put it as the highest in the South East at 31.3%.

While it might be difficult to talk about total eradication of youth unemployment and individual states continue to advocate self-employment, one fact which stares Nigerians both old and young in the face remains that there is an alarming rate of youth unemployment which is likely to trigger other negative and damning vices, even as more people not considered youths continue to seek jobs to do.
Share
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Hitlist N Cruzin To The Next Level A Priority In 2020–Mursty Adinoyi

Published

on

Mursty Adinoyi

Seasoned entrepreneur and producer, Mursty Adinoyi, is the brain behind one of Nigeria’s leading television shows, Hitlist N Cruzin. For over a decade, he has successfully changed the lives of young Nigerians across several states via the programme which takes people on a dream shopping spree. In this interview with Lukmon Akintola, he speaks on his 2020 development plans for the show, the need for youths to be more dedicated to the country and the impact of terrestrial television on the society.

2019 was a positive year for you and Hitlist N Cruzin, tell us about your 2020 plans.

Personally, I have a lot of plans for myself, long term plans that will culminate into awing developments. In addition to our flagship programme, Hitlist N Cruzin, we have AIT Music+, and both programmes have garnered positive followership.

Are there plans to take the programme to other parts of the country where it is not popular?

Most definitely. We are expanding the map to other states. We want to take it to places where we are not known, not just where people are already watching us. Talking about plans, I pray that all the ideas we have materialise. At Emrose Adinoyi Productions, we don’t make one-year plans, but long term plans. It’s our lifestyle and we’ll keep seeing what we can do to get better.

You are known to be passionate about Nigeria, do you have plans to start a programme that will dwell on Nigeria’s peculiar challenges?

Having a programme that focuses on Nigeria’s issues will not make any change. If you watch Kakaaki on AIT or Channels Television in the morning, you will see all of this stuff ongoing. If you watch Focus Nigeria on AIT as well, you will see all these discussions ongoing, but have there been changes? They say that democracy is the best for us, but we have to find a way to make sure that it works for us, because the way it is right now, I don’t think it’s working for us.

What are the peculiar challenges in your industry?

There are so many challenges. Don’t forget that to shoot Hitlist N Cruzin, we go out, looking for winners to take on a cruise. You hit the road, you see bad roads. You get a good car before you know it, it’s gone because the roads are bad. Some major roads are bad, how much more the roads in the hinterland? So, the challenges are enormous.

These challenges have seen a lot of people relocating out of the country, are you thinking of joining them?

Also Read:  Why do some people enjoy experiencing pain during sex?

If your father’s house is not painted, instead of looking for an apartment to rent, look for money and paint it, that’s my belief. So many young people are leaving the country because they’re looking for greener pastures. You can’t blame anybody, but for those of us who believe in the Nigerian dream, we will contribute to the development of the country. I will rather do that than leave for Canada or anywhere in the world.

You have also been making political statements in recent times, are you thinking of going into politics?

This is our country and some of us are committed to its development. If things are not going well, we have to speak out. We should all know that life is in stages, we are in our forties right now, it’s just very unfortunate that the Nigerian system tells us that at forty we are young, we are actually not young. Very soon, leadership will fall into our hands. So we need to be consciously telling ourselves the truth so whoever amongst us has the opportunity to occupy an office can do the right thing. If we’re doing the right thing, people will not travel to other places, and even if they travel, it will be for fun, they won’t abandon Nigeria.

There have been calls for people to make their industry buoyant such that it can contribute to the country’s GDP, do you think the television industry can do this?

Content can be created from the training that an ex-military man has gotten. People will benefit from it, and then there will be much money for him and even the television station airing the programme and other participants. I am telling you there are so many things we can create, lots of things, even an ex-banker can create a programme. So, there is a lot of money to be made here, but first, we have to develop Nigeria first, using television.  Everything about us can be on television and we would make money from it. Okada, for instance, can be used for stunts. If independent producers can have good money with them and we are tax-free, we can gather Okada riders, create stunts, stage them, put them on television and make money out of it for development of the country. We see all these things on foreign channels and we think they are just for the foreign market, but they are also applicable here. There are lots of independent producers that can create good content for television consumption that will engage hundreds and thousands of people. That way, the unemployment rate will definitely drop.

Also Read:  The Not-so North Korean showdown

You have severally called for a tax-free media, can you justify this?

When I say tax-free television, I am not referring to cable television because there is a lot of money on pay television. There is a lot of money coming in because people subscribe to watch. I am speaking in relation to terrestrial television, some of these stations cannot even pay salaries. You need to realise that a local television station and independent producers are capable of employing more hands. But if you tax this sector too much, there will be no much money to even sustain what they have talkless of bringing in more hands. If we are actually looking at a better country, policies that we create should be those that would be for a better Nigeria, that will benefit Nigerian companies. When I say tax-free, I don’t mean for foreign companies. For instance, if VAT is 7.5% media-related companies can be made to pay 2.5%. The country is not growing because the policies we make are not developmental. If we have developmental policies, we’ll definitely move forward. We need to face reality. The government needs to see beyond immediate gain and make policies to help grow Nigerian companies and also make plans for our growing population.

There are people who will argue that if a company can’t pay its staff it should close shop, what do you say to that?

That would be wrong because when you talk of a direct impact on our society, it is terrestrial television that gets it done, not pay television

You have asked for all-round development in the country, where would you want the government to start from?

The scripture said let there be light and there was light. So, taking it from that angle, I would say the first thing we should be thinking of doing in terms of development should be stable light. Light is important because if we have it, other things will grow. But it’s not just about having light because other aspects also have to work. Transportation, the train needs to be connected to every state so that instead of everybody moving to Lagos State, you can even stay in Kogi State and do your business and if you have to come to Lagos State, you come by train. There are so many things that need to be done. There is a need for a change in government policies such that it will favour Nigerians.

Share
Continue Reading

Opinion

Overrated: How Odion Ighalo Disappointed Nigerian Fans

Published

on

odion

Ex-Nigerian International, Odion Ighalo, disappointed fans when he only saw a cameo appearance for his debut.

Nigerians who were excited about Ighalo’s six-month deal move from Shanghai Shenhua to Manchester United on transfer day deadline had expected a major appearance for his debut.

However, the ex-Watford striker only got a few minutes when he came on for Anthony Martial at the 90th minute.

Also Read:  Why do some people enjoy experiencing pain during sex?

Ighalo is the first Nigerian to play for the Red Devils, making setting a record amongst Nigerian footballers.

Man United’s next fixture is against Club Brugge, while they will play Watford in the premiership on Monday, February 23. Ighalo is expected to be in the lineup for the matches.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

 

Share
Continue Reading

Opinion

Judicracy And The Fairness In Being Unfair

Published

on

Fidson

Abraham Lincoln described democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people” during the American civil war in 1863. His notion later became the often quoted definition of democracy and a benchmark of rating its success globally.

More than a few nations have actualized Lincoln’s thought, but Nigeria is lagging behind. Her quasi-democratic arrangement is what the writer terms Judicracy: representative government via the verdict of law lords. J-u-d-i-c-r-a-c-y is a flawed democratic system in which the court repeatedly determines who rules, instead of the electorates.

2019 general election is the worst in Nigeria’s history as it produced the highest ever, about a thousand lawsuits. Virtually all the governorship election outcomes were challenged up to the Supreme Court. The judgments issued bagged no dispute, except that of Imo and Bayelsa States. In Imo, the lordships sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the fourth winner. Despite the unprecedented controversy and protests this sparked, the Supreme Court courageously made another upset in Bayelsa by nullifying David Lyon’s mandate barely a day to his inauguration.

The Bayelsa Case

Two lawsuits emerged from the Bayelsa 2019 governorship election. The first is an intra-party candidacy tussle between Hieneken Lokpobiri and David Lyon, both of the APC. The Supreme Court ruled in the case that Lyon was validly nominated. The other lawsuit is an inter-party, deputy governorship candidate qualification case, instituted against the APC by the PDP. Lyon’s running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo was accused of forgery and perjury. The Supreme Court pronounced him guilty, and consequently sacked him and Lyon on the basis of their joint ticket. Lyon did no wrong, but was fired for the sins of Eremieoyo. The judgment is both fair and unfair.

Why the Judgment is Fair

It is fair to sack persons who aspire to rule or are ruling with false documents. Eremieoyo’s deputy-governorship nomination form shows he has answered five different names since he was born. In his first school leaving certificate dated 1976, Eremieoyo bore the name Degi Biobaragha. He bore the name Adegi Biobakumo in his o-level results dated 1984 and Degi Biobarakuma in his bachelor’s degree dated 1990. Also, he bore the name Degi Biobarakuma Wangagha in his master’s degree dated 2002 and he’s currently bearing Degi-Eremieoyo Biobarakuma. One person. Five names.

Eremieoyo’s trial judge proclaimed that only a woman who’s been married five times could have changed names the way Eremieoyo did. My take is Eremieoyo may have been a fraudster who kept changing names to conceal his identity and wrongdoings. Before the advent of fingerprint technology, fraudsters conceal their identity by changing names and appearance.

Eremieoyo’s counsel and apologists argument that his periodic change of name was as a result of the chieftaincy titles he bagged holds no water. Traditional honors rarely require name change; the titles are only placed before the recipient’s conventional name. Though not impossible, it is very rare to come across honors that would require a total change of name. Bola Tinubu’s name didn’t change when he was made the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom. Also, Atiku Abubakar’s name didn’t change when he was turbaned the Waziri of Adamawa Emirate. Even kings don’t change names after coronation.

Nigerians are comparing President’s Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate and identity controversy case to Eremieoyo’s, but the facts are different. Buhari presented an affidavit and a re-issued copy of his disputed result to the court, while Eremieoyo only presented an unverifiable affidavit. Besides, in Buhari’s case, the spelling of ‘Muhammadu’ only changed to ‘Mohammed,’ on a single occasion and Islamic clerics clarified that both names are one and the same. On the other hand, Eremieoyo’s name changed significantly, sometimes completely, multiple times. God forbid a Nigeria where the court would free such a dubious personality to govern despite convincing evidence. Cry or smile, the Supreme Court judgment is fair.

The implication of allowing Eremieoyo rule Bayelsa is grievous. Every deputy governor is a governor-in-waiting. If Lyon had been sworn-in and (God forbid) dies in office, Eremieoyo will take over. By then, the same Eremieoyo the lordships fail to sack will be appointing judges to do his bidding and hounding those who fail to. The same Eremieoyo that has no clean record and certificate will be commanding professors who have many degrees and appointing vice chancellors. Haba! Nigerians should be grateful to the Supreme Court for saving Bayelsa State from such catastrophe.

APC’s failure to act right made her pay the hard price. Eremieoyo shouldn’t have been nominated, or better still, the party should’ve replaced him in the wake of the scandal. The court did no wrong to have enforced the law made by APC members for themselves and the national laws, made by the legislature in which APC is in the majority.

Also Read:  Which Dokubo Runs the Amnesty Office? Hilda or Charles - Berepubo

APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole’s aspersion on the judiciary over the Bayelsa judgment is dishonorable. He should rather resign for failing in oversight. If the party he leads deliberately fail to obey legitimate laws and the court decides to punish accordingly, how dare him utter unfair!

It is indeed a great loss to APC members and chieftains, but protesting Eremieoyo’s sack in the face of overwhelming evidence is a display of sophisticated foolishness. Will any of them, as an employer, retain an employee that secures a job under them with false identity and fake certificate? In this case, Bayelsa people lack the power to sack Eremieoyo for his dishonesty, but the constitution empowers the court to, and that has been done. Instead of belittling the lordships, they should be praised for acting right. Eremieoyo’s sack is fair and should not end there. He should be prosecuted for bringing pain to APC and Lyon.

Why the Judgment is Unfair

The Supreme Court’s verdict is deserving on Eremieoyo, but unfair to Lyon. Recognizing two persons as one is an unfair custom that will always make the guiltless sink with the guilty. That is not justice. If a father cannot be imprisoned for the crime of his son despite their blood ties, it is absolutely unfair to punish Lyon for the crime of Eremieoyo, a nonrelative.

Moreover, Lyon has been a businessman all along, while Eremieoyo is a career politician. Based on the difference in their yesteryear engagements, the governorship election is probably the first relationship between Lyon and Eremieoyo. There is word on the street that Lyon never chose Eremieoyo as running mate. He was imposed on him by the minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva and the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. With the lordships awareness of the rampancy of imposition in Nigerian politics, crucifying Lyon with Eremieoyo is not justice. It is, in my opinion, a miscarriage of it.

Lyon shouldn’t suffer for Eremieoyo’s misdeed, especially when he never partook in the crime. The judgment would have been fair on Lyon if he’s complicit, but he’s not. With the judges’ awareness of such fact, it is unfair to waste Lyon’s 352,552 votes because his deputy broke the law. Such verdict is an injustice to the electorates that voted Lyon and his party, the APC.

Duoye Diri, the PDP candidate who lost at the ballot shouldn’t have been foisted on Bayelsans by the court. Such action will lead to an increase in political apathy. Electorates will no longer troop out to vote because the court may upturn their will. With apathy, rigging will increase and democracy will die slowly. To my mind, it is undemocratic for the court to keep installing those who lost at the ballot. It happened in Zamfara, and now Bayelsa state. The law should be amended if necessary and politicians must endeavor to always play by the rules.

A number of Supreme Court judgments states that votes are for the parties and not the candidates. This is premised on the reason that the names of candidates don’t appear on the ballot; only the parties’ logo appear. In this respect, it is disappointing that the lordships annul 352,552 votes when some previous judgments can be referenced and applied to save APC’s mandate. The judges should have protected APC’s vote, but punish Eremieoyo. Ordering that he be replaced with another person would have been just. Although the Supreme Court has the power to judge as it pleases, the adverse implication of the judgments on lives and properties must be considered, especially in sensitive cases.

Kogi State’s 2015 governorship election tussle also establishes the inconsistency of the Supreme Court. When candidacy dispute arose after Abubakar Audu’s demise during the Kogi election, the Supreme Court denied his running mate, James Faleke the chance to inherit the votes of the Audu-Faleke ticket. The mandate was surprisingly given to Yahaya Bello, who was selected by the APC to replace Audu. If Faleke wasn’t allowed to inherit the mandate of Audu, then it’s a miscarriage of justice to drag Lyon into Eremieoyo’s conviction. The logic is simple. Since Faleke wasn’t allowed to profit (positively) from Audu, it is unfair to make Lyon profit (negatively) from Eremieoyo.

Also Read:  Outcome of Bayelsa Guber Election Confirms Our Findings- NGIJ

The people of Bayelsa felt PDP hasn’t served them well, so they voted the APC. Upturning their decision means the court is forcing them to remain under the rule of an unwanted government. Such action itself is a murder of the democracy and rule of law the court is trying to protect.

Since Eremieoyo’s qualification case is a pre-election matter, justice would have been appropriately served if the ruling was given before the election. Democracy would’ve still manifest even if APC was denied participation. Several parties fielded candidates and the people may decide to vote massively for any them if they don’t want the PDP. With that, the leadership production process remains democratic and the people’s right of choice remains protected. The law must be amended to effect this.

A more sad side of the unfairness of the Supreme Court’s verdict is the cost and emotional effects on Lyon’s families, followers and political associates. It would have been kind if the judgment was delivered a week earlier. Governorship inauguration is a big ceremony in Nigeria. Even if Lyon chose to celebrate low key, his nearest and dearest would blow the trumpet with their personal fund.

Think about the level of preparation that would have been in place before Lyon was sacked some few hours to his inauguration. Special attire for the occasion (aso-ebi) have been bought and sown; cows have been slaughtered and stewed; wines have been iced; guests have started landing from across Nigeria and abroad; and all hotels had been booked. Furthermore, Lyon had rehearsed how to inspect the guards of honor and people were already addressing him as ‘Your Excellency.’ Even the President was preparing to grace the inauguration. But, all of a sudden, the Supreme Court threw Lyon into confusion. He was disgraced few hours to his glory for a crime he never committed. That’s unfair!

The Supreme Court should have kindly reduced the emotional and cost effects by issuing the judgment earlier, at least a week or two before the inauguration. Perhaps the judgment was delivered late to teach APC a bitter lesson for failing to learn from the annulment of its candidacy in Zamfara and Rivers States.

End Note

It is unfortunate that the court that is expected to be the last hope of the common man is now taking away the wishes of the common man in Nigerian elections. Judicracy is not good for Nigeria. It is a recipe for crisis that may tear the nation apart. Election must start and end at the ballot. Shifting the contest to court is distracting the APC and PDP from concentrating on governance. Both are devoting their energy and resources on winning in court, rather than tackling the nation’s challenges.

Certificate may not be the perfect means of measuring intelligence, but it is the global standard of confirming that an individual have passed through the rigor of acquiring knowledge and proficiency. Eremieoyo’s ordeal is a lesson for everyone to get some education and always act right. Although Nigerian courts sometimes fail to command justice on apparently guilty influential persons, Eremieoyo’s conviction may be beginning of the long-expected turnaround. The three arms of government must collaborate to address the flaws and lacunas in the laws. They must also devote attention to strengthening the institutions and the electoral process.

Lyon’s misfortune shouldn’t be the end of his political career. President Buhari should appease him with a major appointment. The APC should also give him an automatic ticket in the next election. On the other hand, PDP should not over rejoice as it may suffer the same tragedy if it doesn’t learn from APC’s mistake. Nigerian politics is an intriguing, suspense-filled, unending movie. New issues keep evolving each time the population thinks they’ve seen it all. It won’t be a surprise, if for the first time, the Supreme Court reverse either the Imo or Bayelsa verdict. Even at that, politicians must always abide by the rules, else the court will keep determining who rules.

*This piece is an innocent analysis and not an aspersion on the integrity of the Supreme Court. The writer, Omoshola Deji has profound respect for the judges, their decisions and the institution they represent. Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via moshdeji@yahoo.com

Share
Continue Reading

Facebook

Trending

Copyright © 2019, February13 Media