Akinyemi’s Letter as a Strict Liability Trap By Nasiru Suwaid
As a student of the quintessential essence of the Rule of Law and of course, legal jurisprudence, nothing fascinates me as the concept of Strict Liability, not merely in the Law of Tort or the Criminal Law, where it is proclaimed ‘loudly’ as a civil relief but also, in the instance where it occurs ‘silently’ in the relationship between a principal and an agent, in the actions that the latter takes, which automatically confers liability on the former. The problem is generally not more than two, which are; whether the mere fact that the principal appoints an agent on a particular matter, he has ceded the right of any action to the appointed representative or indeed, despite the fact an agent could ‘act’, did not preclude on him the right for consultation with the principal, especially on matters that require deep introspection and most importantly, the principal is within range of communication. Fortunately, these are relationships built on specific agreements, thus on a written deed and premised on agreed terms by both parties subject of this exploratory discussion.
Unfortunately and normally, within the premises of the Nigerian laws, Strict Liability relationship issues are after the fact, thus they are usually created by inference, just like when you sign into an agreement to take responsibility for the actions and inactions of every Nigerian citizen indigenous or domicile in the nineteen states of the North or how could a single individual to be blamed, for the criminal activities of the Niger-Delta militants, even if the person were to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, outside the constitutionally bestowed duties of a Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to safeguard the republic against any breach of the law and order. Indeed, this is the norm within the context of the Nigerian laws, which is that the destructive ‘crimes’ of arson, murder and public breach of peace, as enumerated in the letter by Professor Bolaji Akinyemi to the two leading presidential contenders of the People’s Democratic Party and All People’s Congress are guaranteed not to happen, not by a personal vow of any candidate but due to the deterrence of the enforcement of the rule of law and the probably sanction to follow anyone caught breaking the law.
The most scary aspect of the letter is not what it projects as the fate of the country after the 2015 elections, rather, it is the clever attempt to ‘induce’ the parties to enter into a Strict Liability agreement, by taking responsibility for the actions of hundreds of millions of Nigerians, who were branded as supporters of the two candidate yet by the applicable electoral laws, political parties are barred from assuming regional dimension and by the operative legal norms, candidates must fulfill enshrined constitutional requirement of getting one-third of votes in the two-third of the states in the Nigerian federation, surely, anyone seeking to meet this requirement, cannot be limited in supporter base to on any part of Nigeria. Besides, it is said that politics is game of winner takes all and subterfuge is an essential instrument in its play, thus, what stops an opponent from orchestrating violence in the so called ‘territory’ of the opposing political camp and framing him, knowing so well that his adversary have signed to a Strict Liability agreement, transferring liability unto himself, for all ‘criminal’ actions which happened, even if taken without his knowledge or consent.
The simple truth is that the open letter was never written with any genuine desire or motive of having free and fair elections in the coming year or to prevent any foreseeable violence in the future. Rather, it was just a mischievous attempt at entrapment, pure and simple, because, were it not so, it could never have ‘slandered’ a dead confidante, who cannot defend himself in Late General Andrew Azazi, to make a point, by projecting him as an incompetent National Security Adviser, who did not listen to advise to prevent a forecasted national calamity, that led to the death of many innocent lives but wasn’t it the same Azazi, who was removed from office for daring to accuse the People’s Democratic Party senior membership of promoting Boko Haram insurrection.
In fact, despite the litany of arms smuggling cases everywhere in Nigeria, Akinyemi could only single out to mention, the one found in Kano, that is of international dimension having links with the Hezbollah group and the ‘prosecuted’ Iranian connected attempted arms smuggling, which was dispensed with by the present administration but of utmost significance, the illegal arms was found in the territorial region of one of the candidates, while the mere mention of Iran projects guilt by ‘faith’ association. However, it was the mention of the 2011 post election violence that truly clarified the subterfuge, which he inferred to have been committed by supporters of one of the candidates. Thus, were General Muhammadu Buhari to ever accept to enter into any agreement, at the ‘promptings and urging’ of Professor Akinyemi’s letter, he has accepted the ‘indicting’ content of the open pleading of a correspondence, that the 2011 violence was indeed orchestrated on his behalf.
And this two other things:
NOW THAT BRIGHT OKOGU HAS ADMITTED
Within the arena of public discourse in Nigeria, there is no issue as polarizing as the oil subsidy debate, as every commentator and analyst speaks from the position of pure self interest. To the government representative or appointed public official, fuel subsidy is existing and is a burden on the government, which is forced to divert necessary needed developmental funds, into an unsustainable support to a socio-economic policy activity that is prone to abuse and a distortion of the general economic equilibrium balance of the Nigerian state. For the citizen, be they an academic scholar, a labor activist or even an ordinary person on the streets, subsidy does not exist any longer in Nigeria, rather, it is just a fallacy and a fraudulent myth, concocted by those individuals who represent the government, to continue to fleece the nation state and exploit the Nigerian masses.
However, for the first time in the history of the country, the Director General of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu admitted upon strenuous prodding, by the Channels Television Sunrise Daily morning show exceptional crew, that indeed due to lower price of crude oil in the international market, if computed from the price of purchase to landing cost, the Petroleum Motor Spirit is not being subsidized by the Nigerian government. Now, for an economic management team that ‘exudes’ best practices in accountable financial management, shouldn’t such an emerging situational reality requires full disclosure of a world press conference and a declaratory proclamation in the 2015 Appropriation Bill.
JUST WHAT GAME IS DANGOTE PLAYING
Generally and usually, the concept of a chief launcher to an event, gathering or occasion, does not have any standard but identifiable characteristic requirement to be fulfilled and performed at the public forum, except two, which are; that the chief launcher must always be present or ably represented and two, he or she must serve as a ‘motivation’ to the other invitees to also pledge their financial support. It is worth noting, that usually, the organizing committee is always in constant contact with the chief launcher, when setting the date for the event, to avoid scheduling difficulties and to tackle problems that could likely cause the absence of the invited guest.
Unfortunately, the People’s Democratic Party Presidential Fund Raising did not follow the usually established pattern. The question that immediately arises is this, why should a chief launcher refuse to make donation in public and on the occasion, rather, he would prefer to do it ‘secretly’ unto the office of the national chairman or has Aliko as a ‘streetwise’ business man, who have often proclaimed to the global media, that he has always backed the winning party, knows something about the ‘fate’ of the present administration, which other Nigerians do not know about. Moreover, as an unwavering friend of the ruling party, he has never failed to appear and pledge during the preceded presidential fund raisings of the past.
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