We accept that the leaders of states may
not possess encyclopedic and relevant knowledge in all
This is why the state provides Advisers.
In a recent article entitled, “Jonathan
and All the President’s Men,” Eddie Iroh wrote about
“staff failure and timid advice” discernible in the
statements, couched by some presidential advisers.
One Mr. Charlie Agbo, in his
characteristic style, wrote that Eddie Iroh was “off the
mark”, although Charlie Agbo did not pin down where
Eddie Iroh erred but Agbo regularly veered off into
As a lawyer, Charlie Agbo is very
conversant with the General Provisions, in Chapter 1,
Part 1, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1(2), which says
that “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be
governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take
control of the government of Nigeria, or any part
thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of
The Nigerian citizens are indisputably
the victims of rigged elections, because a person, who
has been declared an illegal governor by the Court of
Appeal, took control of the government of a part of
Nigeria, as governor, exercising illegal authority.
This is a flagrant violation of a
cardinal principle in the 1999 Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria Article 1(2).
A person, who violated this provision of
the Constitution, qualifies, in jurisprudential
understanding, as an accomplice
The person is described in law as one who
associated with another, whether as principal or
accessory in the commission of an offence.
In the case of an accessory, such a
person “is concerned in the commission of an offence
otherwise than as a principal. This definition was
adopted in the Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 and
was confirmed in Johnson Youden  1 KB 544.
The Governors were joy riding, in spite
of their illegal occupation of Government House. It is
remarkable that some Nigerian judges “did not drop their
judges’ mantles to assume the mantles of advocates
(although a few did), which did not become them well”
per Lord Denning in Jones Vs NCB (1957) 2QB 55
It is universally accepted that where
electoral offences and malpractices have been proven,
the impostor loses his unearned honour, job and is
regarded as having never been a Governor.
If it is confirmed that there is an open
declaration that the President will associate with a
governor, who was removed for “taking a part of the
country in violation of the Constitution”, this could
serve as first-hand evidence whose admissibility cannot
be questioned, being direct evidence. This fits in a
case of accomplice or accessory to the violation of
Chapter 1(2) of the Constitution. The seriousness of
the matter seems to have been lost on the relevant
advisers, who vetted the speech.
For someone, who is canvassing for the
Voters approval next year, this could be seen by
critics as a public relations faux pas.
It is intra vires for the
Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General and other
Advisers to estop presidential statements of legal
nature and scream out loud if they are over-ruled.
To adopt a timorous attitude, in order
not to offend the employer does the “OGA” more harm than
The inability of Nigerians to call a
spade a spade is a cardinal reason for our political
Presidential statements are etched into
historical documents, which will be freely used when the
President is no longer in power. So, proper advice is
very crucial to governance.
The fact that many Governors from the PDP
have been unseated by competent courts provides the
irrefutable evidence that there was something illegal
with the way those governors were elected and they know
So, a declaration that the President
would lead Uduaghan’s campaign may please the PDP, but
it inadvertently suggests that the President does not
seem to see anything wrong in the irregular conduct of
the elections in 2007.
If that is the case, voters would ask
what assurance do they have that the 2011 elections
would not suffer and would not be free and fair,
should that frame of attitude become prevalent.
To support the person, who took control
of a part of the government of Nigeria in violation of
the country’s Constitution is impunity warped in an
The RULE of LAW is diminished, the
Constitution is affronted and democracy is laid bare to
ridicule. I have heard a lot of dismay by fervent
presidential supporters that the declaration was
not-well-thought out, was inappropriate and above all,
“Out of the fullness of the heart, the
I hope that my learned friend, Charlie
Agbo will accept a brief, should one wish to test the
constitutional issues; we have dutifully raised in this
We also hope that he is in a better
jurisprudential frame of mind to agree that in some
cases, presidential advisers should be more reflective.
We, the People are watching carefully,
both the style and substance of governance. After all it
is, our VOTERS RESOLUTION that will put a candidate in
Advisers come and go but We, the voters
will always decide. Where we are forcefully denied
justice at the polls, the Courts of Law will come to the
Who is better an Adviser, who presents
his thesis, with trembling hands, a bovine stare and
hanging lips or one, who is erudite, clear about the
subject and delivers with assuredness and who looks at a
more expansive definition of the terms used?
An Adviser’s weak postulations manifest
in “gaffes and faux pas”. These observations may not be
publicly canvassed in order not to be seen as “not
supporting the President”, but as they accumulate and
become common-place, the trained and intellectual mind
gets gradually pushed to go for his pen.
This, I think was what happened to Eddie
Iroh, when he made his comments on the “President’s
Men”, who are after all, part of us. The President’s men
are doing their best but are their best good enough for
the huge challenges the President faces?
Eddie Iroh does not deserve a misplaced
rejoinder, even though fame by association often leads
determined sycophants and neophytes nowadays to ride on
the tail-coats of the masters.
On Bad Advice
It is a serious matter not to understand
the serious consequences of bad or misplaced advice. A
misadvise could lead a state to embark on a wild goose
For example, when the Chief Economist of
HSBC, Mr. Stephen King presented a clearly defined
economic analysis to apprehend the volatility in
international liquidity, US government advisers in
well-tailored suits, countered him with their
permutations on negative interest rates, indiscriminate
pumping of money into the economy, non-repayment of past
debts, currency manipulations and other unhelpful
Now, America owes 5.3 trillion dollars
according to Guan Jianzong of the Global Investors Inc.
The depreciation of the dollars is affecting the world
Secondly, the Spanish economy was once
boosted by a massive construction boom. Government
advisers were timid to tell the Spanish government not
to engage in the war in Iraq as a war economy would
wreck the Spanish economy. Today, Spanish workers stand
hopelessly in long queues, waiting for unavailable jobs.
The consequences of running war economies
by the US, British and other European states have come
home to roost. Yet, when these states meet during the G8
and G20 meetings, they paper over their mistaken foreign
policies, which were manifestly orchestrated by bad,
uninformed misadvise by opinionated advisers, who got it
It can be recalled that it was bad advice
that prevented the Western European states from early
engagement with China, until Dr Henry Kissinger pushed
Sino/American relations to a good start. Today,
Sino/Chinese trade is very crucial and important to
America’s international economic relations.
Those Western anti Soviet, anti Chinese
ideologists and hard-core advisers have faded away from
the political scene, but their misadvice keeps
resonating every day.
Has any Nigerian Chief Medical Adviser
told the President that the cholera outbreak is
emergency and bad public relations for a state that
aspires to be among the great nations of the world in
20-20-29? That medical officers should never be allowed
to get to the stage of going on strike. That a choleric
populace can not vote at elections, nor can they
contribute to societal development in any meaningful
way. That international tourists avoid nations, where
epidemics are often recorded. That it is hard to brand
a nation in which political statements of good
intentions are always at variance with serious actions.
That security should be a cardinal issue to ensure a
safe environment for sustainable development.
These and more, are national political
and developmental issues, which advisers, ministers and
permanent secretaries are paid to address on our behalf
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Any other musings
fly in the face of logic and commonsense.
Anyone, who genuinely wants the President
to meet his wishes, should show concern about his
speeches, political decisions, a mastery of the
provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, “which is
Supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on
all authorities and persons throughout the Federal
Republic of Nigeria.”
If “All the Presidents Men” were to
minimize their existentialist pursuits, avidly read the
erudite and constructive criticisms about governance in
Nigeria, learn from these essays, frame sound synthesis
for the proper and enlightened governance of our Nigeria
by advising the President right, we all shall appreciate
Apart from the discord and the slandering
of each other by Nigerian aspirants and other entities
in the Nigerian political space, it is cogent to the
acknowledgement the need for a Meeting of Nigerian state
formations, where our common destiny could be
determined, can no longer wait.
Political wrangling not based on life
issues, do not meet with the aspirations evinced at this
precarious time by our citizens, whose welfare is
What is discernible in the politics in
Nigeria is that it is driven by ignorance, greed,
unpatriotic acts, ethnic antagonism, hard attitudes and
self-interest, inoculated by vainglorious pride.
This is more noticeable in our youth, who
are entrapped in the American pop-culture of lipstick,
cocaine, hip-hop and easy life.
These provide a clear and degenerative
descent to disaster. So, where is Nigeria’s hope as we
glibly talk of belonging to the most advance nations by
the year 20-20-20?
A healthy, well educated and vibrant
youth, full of concern and enthusiasm for national
development like the ones I taught in Michigan and
Qingdao permit hopes of a bright future.
Our youth’s degeneracy is a societal
exigency crying for restorative therapy. Some
adulterated and culturally depraved youths, who are
dancing with the “stars”, will end up swelling the gang
of kidnappers, gangsters that terrorize our people.
Some unemployed and unemployable
graduates roam our streets looking for jeeps to snatch.
What will they be doing in 20-20-29?
On a lighter note.
There is a Voters Resolution, which
favours the distribution of “Rice and soup, very
plenty,” as I witnessed during one of the First Lady’s
Outing in Abuja, during the October 1 social
festivities. There were stampedes for rice!
Since there is hunger in the land, we are
about to learn the potency of rice politics next April.
I used to pick out the stones in Tapa rice before it was
cooked in our family.
Tapa rice has been partially eliminated
from circulation. To win the hearts and minds of voters,
rice may prove to be the instrument of mass mobilization
Except the LORD is our sanctuary, the
political, cultural and societal events unfolding in our
nation may get out of hand to the regret of all of us.
Political reports in circulation,
prepared by Transparency International, EFCC, ICPC and
International Intelligence Agencies are said to be
inducing deep feelings of melancholy among the political
class, whose misery is now plain
When the power of shame will again have
spiritual impact among Nigerian politicians, perhaps, a
perspicacious historian will find the words to describe
the impudence, impunity and impertinence with which
criminal acts were comfortably condoned in a Republic
that declared openly that the rule of law was a cardinal
policy and in which the churches and mosques are full on
Sundays and Fridays respectively.
How these principles of governance
quickly disappear from our memories will remain an
If politicians can act with tact,
moderation and see political struggle as a game of wits
and not brawls propelled by satanic impulses, then
Campbell, his opponents, admirers and other doomsday
initiates may calm our jangling nerves.
Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai, a
Writer and Academic, is the President of the proposed
Afemai University, Fugar, Edo State, Nigeria.