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Buhari Didn’t Defeat Atiku; The Judiciary Defeated Nigeria

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D. Twitter: @farooqkperogi The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal’s tendentious and predictably predet...

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal’s tendentious and predictably predetermined judgement on September 11 that upheld Muhammadu Buhari’s electoral fraud was not such much a defeat of Atiku Abubakar as it was symbolic judicial violence on Nigeria and Nigerians.

As I pointed out in my April 20, 2019 column titled “Atiku’s Citizenship and Buhari’s Illiterate Lawyers,” Buhari assembled unbelievably ignorant and rhetorically impotent lawyers to defend him, not only because he loves to mirror his trademark incompetence in everything he does, but also because he knew that there was nothing at stake for him in the petition since the tribunal’s ruling was a foregone conclusion, as I pointed out in a social media post titled “WhyAtiku Isn’T Coming” a day before the tribunal’s verdict.

The tribunal judges, who were supposed to be neutral arbiters, were infinitely more effective defenders of Buhari’s stolen mandate than his own lawyers were. Imagine the severity of ignorance it must take for any Nigerian to make the case that someone born in the former British Northern Cameroon (and whose immediate ancestral provenance is traceable to the nucleus of the defunct Sokoto Caliphate) is not a Nigerian citizen even when the constitution explicitly confers citizenship on people that were born in British Northern Cameroon.

Even the unambiguously partisan tribunal chose to not touch such sophomoric legal and constitutional illiteracy with a barge pole. It dismissed it. That says a lot. Nevertheless, there are many fundamental respects in which the tribunal’s ruling has wounded the very soul of Nigeria.

When (not “if” because this is all prearranged) the tribunal’s verdict is upheld by the Supreme Court, it would mean that barefaced electoral fraud perpetrated through the arbitrary manufacture of fanciful figures for an incumbent office holder, intimidation of voters with the aid of the nation’s security apparatuses, and all the other unmentionably unconscionable electoral malfeasance Buhari perpetrated to hold on to power are now entirely legitimate.

The implications of this are many and varied. For one, it has destroyed the vaguest vestige of hope that democracy will grow and thrive in Nigeria. It will inaugurate unexampled voter apathy in the future since voting no longer matters. Buhari’s predecessors also did rig elections, to be sure, but they rigged elections  that they would have handily won because they had no opposition.

Buhari was the serial opponent of his predecessors, but until 2015, he never even campaigned for votes outside the Hausaphone Muslim North (he routinely ignored even predominantly Muslim Kwara and Kogi states and, of course, snubbed the entire Christian North), so he couldn’t have conceivably won a national election with such an insular focus.

Even Nasir El-Rufai described Buhari in an October 4, 2010 article titled “Buhari Should Stick To Facts” as “perpetually unelectable because [of] his record as military head of state and [his] insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus.”

Perhaps the most distressing implication of the tribunal’s ruling is that education and even a pretense to honesty will no longer matter. Buhari’s claim to possessing a school certificate is supported only by an affidavit in his INEC forms, which turned out to be false.  That’s a prima facie case of perjury.
He could very well have truly sat for his school certificate exam and received proof of this. But that is not the issue. He consistently swore under oath that his school certificate was in the custody of the Nigerian military. It has now come to light that this is entirely false. The tribunal said this lie is immaterial.

This doesn’t just legally endorse official mendacity, it also disincentivizes education. It means any Nigerian can claim to possess any qualification, and the only evidence that would be required for such claims would be a mere affidavit. That’s why Nigerian social media is now suffused with transgressively humorous affidavit-supported claimants to all sorts of bogus qualifications. The most humorous yet instructive I have read so far is from someone by the name of Osaze Jesuorobo.

He wrote: “First, I have a sworn affidavit stating that I have the required qualifications to… be admitted into… Law School and that my credentials are with the Director of Administration of NTA, the establishment I retired from.

“Secondly, I have a recommendation from the Vice Chancellor of the university I attended, the  University of Benin that I WILL PASS the final Bachelor of Law degree with a Second Class Upper.

“Thirdly, since my records at NTA show that I have a Bachelor of Law degree, I will present a statement from NTA Director of Corporate Affairs to the effect that from their records, I have a Bachelor of Law degree and was educated to university level even though the original, CTC or photocopies of my credentials  are not in their possession.

“If the Law School requests... the originals and copies of my credentials, I will tell them that there is nowhere in the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) that says I must accompany my admission forms with copies of my credentials. I will also tell them that their condition that I should attach copies of my credentials is a subsidiary condition inferior to the Nigeria Constitution.

“If the Nigeria Law School denies me admission for not producing the credentials to back up my qualifications claim, I will sue the Law School relying on the Atiku/PDP vs INEC & others (2019) per Garba Mohammed (or is it Muhammad  or Muhammadu), JCA. I am waiting for the Nigeria Law School to dare me by refusing me admission.”

This reminds me of a community college president in California who sent out a mass email to the academic and non-academic staff of his school demanding that he henceforth be addressed as a “Dr.” because some nondescript university in the middle of nowhere awarded him a pay-to-play honorary doctorate. The response of the staff was as sarcastic as it was hilarious. Staff of the community college, most of whom didn’t have PhDs, decided to also prefix “Dr.” to their names; they said they too had been awarded doctoral degrees by some no-name university. The president got the message and dropped his title.

But Nigeria’s situation is graver. Buhari will get away with his subversion of law and decency, and the damage to the nation will be irreversible. Related to this is the controversy relating to the spelling of Buhari’s first name. The tribunal was reported to have said, “The question about whether the name in the certificate is ‘Mohamed’ or ‘Muhammadu’ doesn’t matter so long as the name Buhari is attached to the name.”

That’s a dangerously ignorant thing to aver.  A more acceptable statement would have been for the tribunal to say “Mohamed” and “Muhammadu” are different spellings/renderings of the same name. Every time you use a different orthography to spell a name that was originally written in a different orthographic tradition, you often have several variants. Names originally written in Latin alphabets also have different variants when they are written using different scripts such as Arabic, Cyrillic, Chinese, Thai, etc.

I can relate to this. I insist on my name being spelled as “Farooq,” but my primary school headmaster spelled it as “Faruk” in my school leaving certificate. Again, to my utter annoyance, Bayero University spelled my name as “Farouk” on my certificate but, mercifully, my transcript has my preferred spelling. So this isn’t unusual.

Buhari obviously prefers to spell his name as “Muhammadu.” Even in 1961 when he applied for the Nigerian military’s qualifying exam, he spelled it that way. Nevertheless, his principal, who was a white man, spelled his name as “Mohamed” in his recommendation letter to the military on Buhari’s behalf. It was obviously the principal’s variant that went into the official school records.

The tribunal, being the gaggle of incompetent and compromised partisans that they are, couldn’t defend their benefactor on an issue as simple as variants of the spelling of his name.

Buhari shot democracy in 1983 with bullets and left it for dead. But it managed to survive his attempted murder after a prolonged convalescence. Then he came back in 2019 to finally kill it with rigged, poisoned ballots. But when the story of Buhari’s premeditated murder of Nigeria’s democracy is written, the role the judiciary played in endorsing and legalizing it will take up reams of paper or disproportionately large nibbles of bytes.

Related Articles:
Questions Still Remain About Buhari's School Certificate
Formal Enthronement of Buhari's Illegitimate Rigocracy
Buhari's New SA on Infrastructure is INEC's Amina Zakari's Son


  1. It is too bad that the common man cannot look up to the Judiciary as the last resort for hope. While we operate on an obsolete constituion, it is not divergent to say that the tribunal rulings is dangerous to our moral compass as a society. More apparent is the twist of justice of the issue of perjury is a slap on our judiciary.
    But until then we keep fighting and believing...

  2. JCA Garba Mohammed, Muhammad or Muhammadu and his co "I Agree" JCA's are Buhari's defence counsels. Nigerians will make reference one day.

  3. It is very disappointing, I watched in shock as the judge declared that Buhari's certitificafe was with the military, even though a military officer under oath swore that it was not with them and that another ex officer said it was never the practice to submit credentials to yhr military. The judge, without fear, transfenestrated the perjurious claims in the affidavit and declared that Buhari was eminently qualified.

  4. For those of you that still believe in Nigeria,your children will ask you someday why were U poor,just as you asked your father why was he poor.

  5. Just tired of this country. Dear God please take away this plaque called Buhari from Nigeria please GOD.

  6. So proud of you Sir! It's very unfortunate that these judges didn't just raped Nigeria's Democracy and Nigerians of justice, but blatantly killed the judiciary as a hope of the common man in the society!!! I weep for Nigeria and the judiciary! Am ashamed to be addressed as a lawyer!!!

  7. What I believe is that God's Judgement Has No Appeal.Nigeria kangaroo judges shall reap their unfaithful judgement sooner or later.God shall Continue To Be Our Tutelage, ljsmn.

  8. Justice subverted, fairness murdered,honesty chattered, integrity interment,and the hope of democracy slaughtered on the table of hand-shake.

  9. We are in a hopeless situation. Only God can deliver us.
    My heart bleeds each time I take a walk and see poverty stricken, helpless Nigerians all over the city.

  10. A man who could get up to 11m votes on his own, now got 15m votes with an alliance, yet it was rigging.

    INEC declared figures gave him 15m votes, but server results said he had 16m, yet it was INEC that dashed him figures.

    Judges did not say Mohammed and Muhammadu can be used interchangeably, what they said was the man whose name was written as Mohammed is the same man whose name is now written as Muhammad.

    To puncture a judicial pronouncement, the least expected of a PhD holder, is to weigh it against what the laws say

    1. You are suffering from abject poverty

    2. And on what basis or proof did the Judges arrive at that conclusion?

  11. Nigeria needs revolution

  12. All of them that helped kill this democracy will and shall perish.Thier Children are all coming up and they would reap the consequences of their atrocities perpetrated by thier fathers..All of thrm will burn in hell .All of them will burn in hwll for setting that country aback for 30 yrs.God will remove them like sodom and Gomorrah.

  13. I had expected the Samuel, Peter and Joseph who were JCAs of the tribunal to write their names in gold but they opted to go with devil. The Panel was deliberately arranged in such a way that there were 3 supposedly Christian Justices who will rig the judgment. One day the Buharists will come out to say that Christian South Justices gave the ruling having been the majority of 3 persons and that's y PMB do not appoint Southerners into sensitive positions in his government.

    1. What is this one saying? Issues are being analyzed from a professional point of view and yu are tslking about petty stuffs like religion.

    2. They can't try it. The worst narrative is that even Supreme Court judges are afraid.

  14. This judgement has created confusion in our baby democracy and more harm to Nigerians that reminds me of my name spelled correctly but the names were not arranged properly my bank asked me to get an affidavits because the named started with my 2nd initial instead of first initial and followed by 3rd initial now no more for any reason someone will ask you to do the right thing as regard the case of Buhari vs Atiku and Inec.

  15. I think @farooqkperogi now surfers from the failure of his projection that Atiku will defeat Bihari. we had told him that even in his hometown of Baruten PMB will floor At ik u. How I wish he was at home to vote so as to witness how unpopular PDP and its candidate ,At ik u were in Kwara,his home state before election. Sorry diminished your popularity. Your only support base is now South east .

  16. Nigeria is a terrible place to obtain justice

  17. So, our judiciary would have been ok if Atiku had won? Is dat what you are saying?

    1. You definitely do not understand the argument. I am tempted to believe it was beyond to.

  18. Buhari has proved that Totalitarianism, Dictatorship, Fascism can thrive in Nigeria contrary to our thinking prior. All it takes is the large heart of Satan.


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