It is no longer news that the highest court in the country – the Supreme Court had reaffirmed the election of Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed of Kwara State, but what is news is the aftermath of the landmark judgment.
Before the Tuesday’s ruling of the Supreme Court, Governor Ahmed of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recorded similar victories at both the state governorship elections petition tribunal which sat in Ilorin, the state capital as well as at the Appeal Court.
No doubt the litigation over the battle for the control of the State of Harmony by both the Action Congress of Nigeria (A CN) and the PDP was a tough one and this explains the tension that enveloped the state capital on Monday March 5, when the Supreme Court was expected to deliver its judgment on the A CN’s petition.
There was palpable fear all over the state as stakeholders in both sides were busy calling people on phone to know the outcome of the court case. But the Supreme Court eventually delivered the much awaited judgment the following day; Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
Expectedly, the court ruling brought relief to both the state government and stalwarts of the ruling PDP, most of whom had kept vigil in Abuja since the weekend that preceded the day the judgment was delivered.
Another germane issue that forms part of the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling is the determination of the A CN to continue ‘the struggle to liberate Kwara and its people’.
Barely two hours after the judgment was delivered in Abuja, the A CN governorship candidate, Dele Belgore (SAN) restated his commitment and that of his party, adding that, “whilst the legal battle is over, the quest for freedom and the fight to bring meaningful and good governance to the people of Kwara continue”.
Belgore in a statement signed by his media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye further submitted, “we salute the courage of the good people of Kwara State who stood firmly behind the campaign for a better Kwara State. Even though we did not get the ultimate prize, together, with their unwavering support and courage, we have changed the political map of Kwara State forever.
“The ruling of the Supreme Court notwithstanding, we assure fellow Kwarans that there is no going back on our well-reasoned resolve to banish poor governance, impunity and anti-people political leadership from our state. We will redouble our efforts.
We therefore call on our supporters and all well-meaning people who have the love of Kwara State at heart to continue to support our cause. Winners don’t quit, and the struggle to change the face of Kwara State for good does not terminate today. It continues until victory is won and our people liberated. It shall be daybreak in Kwara state soon.”
He, however, said that he and his party have accepted in good faith the verdict of the Supreme Court, adding that, “as law-abiding citizens and members of a political party with profound respect for the rule of law and public peace and order, we accept the decision of the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land.”
He concluded that the struggle for a better Kwara State continues and urged Kwarans to remain steadfast, irrespective of the position of the highest court.
But while the A CN was still in ‘aluta’ mood, the governor of the state, Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed extended the hand of fellowship to the opposition in the state, urging them to join hands with his administration in the task of taking the state to a greater heights.
The governor in his reaction to the Supreme Court’s judgment urged the opposition in the state, “having exhausted the judicial option, to join his administration in the renewed efforts to evolve an agro-driven economy for the state”.
Governor Ahmed called on Kwarans at home and abroad to join the moving train of the PDP administration premised on shared prosperity.
He also described as a call to greater service the Supreme Court judgment which reaffirmed his election as the duly elected governor of the state, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji AbdulWahab Oba.
He noted that the judgment has affirmed, beyond any doubt, that the 2011 elections in Kwara state reflected the popular wish and aspirations of the good people of the state.
Dedicating his victory to Allah and the good people of Kwara, Governor Ahmed commended Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels in the State for their steadfast support before and during the litigation.
Governor Ahmed, who disclosed that his administration was not in any way distracted by the litigation from the onerous task of consolidating the solid foundation the PDP government had laid in the state since 2003, however, assured the people that the drive to consolidate the achievements of the last eight years would be accentuated.
In his reaction, the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki described the Supreme Court judgment that gave victory to Governor Ahmed as validation of the truth pursued by the PDP during the 2011 general elections.
While congratulating Governor Ahmed over the victory recorded at the court, Saraki also praised members of the panel for discharging their duties creditably, honestly and courageously despite media intimidation and propaganda by ACN.
The chairman, Senate committee on environment and ecology said “this is a victory to all Kwarans that line up at the polling centres, inside scorching sun to vote for PDP and Governor Ahmed in the last general elections. It is also a victory for democracy and rule of law”.
The former governor called on the opposition in the state to join hands with the governor in moving the state forward instead of engaging themselves negatively, spreading ‘falsehood’ about the government and criticizing the good policies of the PDP-led government.
The former governor also said “all opposition are welcome; our doors are open all hours for new members, because no any other party exists in Kwara outside PDP. All other parties in the state don’t have internal democracy”.
The former governor who spoke through his media aide, Akintoba Fatigun also charged Governor Ahmed to use the Supreme Court victory as energy recipe that will propel him to deliver more dividends of democracy to Kwarans who stood by him during the election period and all through the court cases.