The threat by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odegie Oyegun that if the All Progressives Congress is rigged out in the 2015 general elections they would rig themselves in and form a parallel government is most unfortunate. Chief Oyegun, while campaigning for the re-election of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State in August this year said, “The battle line has already been drawn.The APC will no longer accept any stolen mandate. We shall not recognise any government that emerges through rigging in February 2015. The APC will set up a new government, which will be a peoples’ government if the PDP rigs the 2015 Presidential election. We are prepared to monitor the election and if it is eventually rigged, a new government will emerge in this country.” In Abuja, on November 20, Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, just after a street rally, repeated same threat, saying “If the APC is rigged out in 2015, we’ll rig ourselves in and form a parallel government”. Amaechi further said that APC would not go to court to seek redress if the party was rigged out in 2015 asking, “What is the essence of going to court when the federal government don’t obey the law? That’s why the APC say we won’t go to court any longer. If you rig us out, we would rig ourselves in. Which means if you think you can rig us out in 2015, we will form our own government. We have met on that and we have agreed on that. We will install our government and there would be two governments”.
It is most unfortunate for such an inflammatory statement to have fallen from the mouth of an elder statesman of the status of Chief Oyegun, a septuagenarian and a former governor of a state. The reason being that at his age and status, he should know too well the implication of such utterances considering the present uncertain state of the nation. In matters of elections, it is the electorates that determine the outcome of an election based on the manifestoes of the political parties that are involved in the contest. If the party’s manifestoes meet the aspirations of the people, they will without hesitation vote for it if not, they will vote against it. It is therefore, not for the chairman of a political party to decree that his political party must win a particular election; this is what the statement of Chief Oyegun implies. For instance, if the PDP genuinely wins the 2015 general elections and the APC forms a parallel government and that leads to another civil war, how will that benefits the citizens which the APC aspires to lead at all cost? On the other hand, if the APC is declared winner of the 2015 general elections and the PDP forms a parallel government; taking a cue from the APC and there is anarchy in the land, how will that also profit the citizens which the APC is eager to lead?
This is why the utterances of Chief Oyegun and Amaechi are indeed worrisome. One is most perturbed as to how Chief Oyegun suddenly become so powerful to contemplate forming a parallel government when in 1993 he was governor of Edo State and was ousted by General Sani Abacha, he had a golden opportunity to remain in office or form a parallel government but he ran away like a lily-livered army who deserts the armed forces in war times. The time General Abacha toppled the government in 1993 was the best of time for Oyegun and his co-travellers to have formed a parallel not now. Then, he was 54 years old and had the stamina to engage in war but at 75, it is doubtful if he can still withstand the rigour of war; so why is he beating the drums of war by calling for the formation of a parallel which is tantamount to coup d’état?
But how does one determine a rigged election without recourse to the court? It is only the court that can ascertain if an election is rigged or not. So, for any political party to say it will not go to court to subject the electoral process to judicial test is nothing but a call for anarchy which should be condemned by all Nigerians. Again, 2007 provided a rare opportunity for Governor Rotimi Amaechi to have formed a parallel government when his name was replaced with Celestin Omehia after he had won the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries to contest the governorship election. Then, Amaechi had the apple opportunity to have formed a parallel government but he resorted to the court that eventually returned him as governor. Today, Amaechi who is the greatest beneficiary of the court process no longer trust the courts so he wants to take the laws into his hands or trample upon them by threatening to form a parallel government.
The threats by Chief Oyegun and Governor Amaechi to form a parallel government if the APC is rigged out in 2015 without recourse to the courts to ascertain the true winner of the general elections is gratuitous. No political party is empowered to determine which political party wins an election or not; that is the sole responsibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). But an aggrieved political party that is not satisfied with the outcome of an election has only one option, which is to go to the courts to seek redress and not to take the laws into their hands by forming a parallel government as threatened by the All Progressives Congress.