Aisha Alhassan’s Subjective Conscientious Objection

Even though there is a notable dearth of moral up-manship among politicians, there contrastingly appears to be a steadily-growing moral re-armament among the populace. In the light of the nation’s fraying infrastructure, of the inadequate education system, costly fuel subsidies that strain or choke the budget, a pervasive corruption, a slothful civil or public service, etc. this contrast is markedly obvious even as it is playing out daily.
The stern and bitter force of a common grievance among the people based on the open or brazen denial of the terms of their social contract has tied or bound them together even as ambitions, desires and hopes of politicians change rapidly or without notice. Politicians do not cohere for long periods simply from sentiment or in the hope of common advantage. They are an awfully imponderable breed of homo sapiens.

Aisha Alhassan’s insurgent self-assertion show-cased in her recent BBC interview in which she distanced herself from what otherwise could have been a bloc or unanimous cabinet support for or endorsement of a second-term ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari is not only intriguing but indicative of the growing sense of despair and exasperation even among the ruling elite. Aisha has reportedly pitched her tent with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who may have to explore another platform for his ambition as there may not be room enough for him in the APC boat. In the end, the party runs the risk of rending itself into two equal but acrimonious halves.

One is tempted to see Aisha as a woman of great personal independence and courage. I have wondered whether if she had more than a university first degree the blade may not have lost some of its blazingly daring temper in the effort to further sharpen it. This writer’s worry, however, is the lack of ideological content in our politicians’ preference for or choice of flagbearers or political parties. “Atiku is my god-father” is the a posteriori uncritical reason for Aisha’s choice.

The social and ideological framework for the change of our present unthinking, unethical or amoral bearing lies in the cultivation of a deep-seated culture of a popular democratic social order devoid of god-fatherism, ethnic chauvinism, religious bigotry, disrespect for hallowed institutions of state and impunity regarding order and set rules.

If President Buhari’s ailing health condition has prevented him for about 105 days from personally performing state duties, if his general body condition is such that he needs to pay more attention thereto and, if the rigours of presidential assignments will necessarily bear on his intellectual, physical and emotional make-up, it is insensitive, unkind or, in fact, wicked for any group of people to drum up support for him or to drag him into the race for a second term in office.

Buhari himself should be content to recite to himself and to his self-serving supporters the lucid counsel of a former American presidential candidate whose friends suggested to him to run for the presidency again. In a deserved tribute to his sense of proportion decorum or contentment, he intoned:

I have had my fling and a good one, done my share of the work according to my lights and am now a candidate for a comfortable arm-chair in the ranks of retired statesmen … I don’t wish to be uplifted, reformed or exhorted. All I ask for is a comfortable enjoyment of my own sins.”

In that particular instance, there was no slightest possibility the party would have him. But he recognised that dead politicians fall into two categories: those who do not know they are dead and those who know it and are glad of it. Buhari is suggested to be in the second class and so ought to excuse himself honourably.

Mrs. Alhassan’s seeming impetuous stance is one example of a changing mindset which in itself is a national strategic challenge. Female opposers of “settled” political social or religious issues are rare to find particularly in the ultra-conservative northern Nigeria milieu where male dominance in all matters is the rule and is taken for granted. Aisha as a high-profile female protester is sure to be a role model even as many people still have a hard time envisioning themselves as trailblazers. Gender parity is enhanced when women do better what men labour under their breath to do. Aisha should include in her role the requirement to confront upbeat religious bigotry, forced marriages, girl-child abduction, etc. all of them rampant in northern Nigeria and take up the gauntlet to vigorously interrogate these vices.

She should, for instance, send a sustained strong message to lascivious men all over the country, particularly more so in northern Nigeria, who hide under the cloak of a controversial or un-clear religious creed to commit untoward offences, especially paedophilia, against the girl child. Her relevance in politics will receive legitimation only in her practical confrontation of obnoxious practices particularly those which do not encourage or promote the cultivation or maturation of the academic or intellectual interests of women and girls in many parts of northern Nigeria.

As politicians begin to quibble over 2019 regarding their place or status in that mythical year, it is proper to draw attention to the requirement to fully discuss ahead of the election year, issues pertaining to the continuing existence of the country. The hard-worn creed or catechism that the future of Nigeria is settled and so not negotiable is unprogressive and inane. It is naïve to the extent that it does not take account of the need for the progressive improvement of the country’s processes. It ought to be made clear that Nigeria may not survive if any of the core principles of the people’s co-existence are ignored or abused for political, personal or sectarian reasons.

The people may have resolved, going by the resolutions of many of the national conferences held to determine the country’s political future direction, to live together as members of the same political community but only ceteris paribus. It is not true that they have discounted or eliminated the necessity for periodic re-appraisal of the workability or otherwise of the management modus, method or mechanics of the union. The unity of Nigeria is manifestly negotiable.

Conscientious objection arises when a person resolves not to allow his moral opinions settled by the majority and would not promise to act against what might be in the best interests of humanity. The right of conscientious objection is a long-established order of things even as it is understood to be implicit in many liberal constitutions. The rights of conscience are adjudged to be beyond the just reach of any human power as they are presumed to be given by God and may not be encroached upon by human authority “without the criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural as well as revealed religion.” Conscientious objectors propel society in the path of progress and new thinking as they interrogate existing value judgements or systems. Much of human progress have been self-effacingly brought about by these attitudes and actions. There is need to consciously court, encourage and promote conscientious objectors particularly in the circumstances of our own dire situation.



Source: The Guardian

2019 Election: APC, NWC Interrogates Alhassan Over Pro-Atiku Comment

Senator Aisha Alhassan, the Minister of Women Affairs was on Thursday invited the senator for questioning for about two hours by the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress.

Aisha was invited by the party leadership to defend the controversial comments she made about whom she would support for the 2019 presidential election.

The minister, who arrived at the APC National Secretariat at about 2 pm, held a closed-door meeting with the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC until 4 pm.

She told newsmen she could not speak on what transpired at the meeting since the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, was available.

The minister said, “I can’t make any statement when the party spokesperson is here with me. I am not the party spokesperson.”

Abdullahi, who spoke to reporters shortly after seeing the minister off to her vehicle, confirmed that the minister was at the secretariat to respond to issues relating to a series of controversial comments she made about the 2019 presidential election.

The party spokesman said the party leadership refrained from making official comments on the issue because it felt it was only proper to hear her side of the story before taking a position.

Abdullahi further explained that the party leadership agreed that there was nothing wrong with her decision to declare support for another member of the party.

It, however, queried what it described as her “indiscretion” considering the time she made the comment.

Abdullahi said, “Since the issue of the comment she made came up, the party has not said anything regardless of what individuals might have told you because we are a party that recognizes the right of her members to express their opinions.

“We also had an opportunity to discuss with the minister to understand what she said and in what context she said so before we know how to respond.

“So, when she came, we asked her to explain to us what truly transpired and in what context she said what she said and she did offer these explanations.

“Now, having offered her explanations, we acknowledged that as a member of this party, she is entitled to her opinion and she is entitled to her choice.

“However, as a senior member of this party, her statements represent an act of indiscretion because, with the kind of position she occupies even within the party, she is a party leader in her own right, what she said was not what she was supposed to say at the time that she said it.

“She ought to have exercised greater judgment than she did and she acknowledged that maybe the timing was wrong, and she apologized.”

The party spokesman stressed that nobody questioned her right to take the position she had taken because she had the right to support whoever she wanted to support.

He noted that this was even more so that the person she declared support for was a member of the party.

Asked if Allhassan was advised to resign her appointment, Abdullahi said, “No. That did not come up. What we just said was that we understand the context in which she said what she said, but it was an act of indiscretion for someone occupying the position she is occupying in the party to make that kind of statement.

“If this was 2018 and the people have filed their applications to say they are contesting and she now comes out and says she is supporting this person, how can that be an issue? But we are still in 2017.

“We are still far away. Atiku (Abubakar) has not said he is contesting. He has not collected any form. He has not announced to anybody that he is contesting. So, that is what we mean by the timing. It is not that she had no right to say what she had said.”

He, however, refrained from making any comments with respect to recent comments made by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

Alhassan caused a stir last week when she declared support for Atiku for the 2019 presidential election should he decide to run.


Eta Seeks Expulsion Of Alhassan

The National Vice Chairman, South South, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ntufam Hiliard Eta, has called for the expulsion of the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan from the party, describing her open support for an Atiku Abubakar presidency in 2019 as the “highest level of disloyalty.”

Eta made the call during an interaction with newsmen in Calabar, Cross River State yesterday after a thanksgiving service at St Charles Lwanga Parish, Essien for the safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari to the country after a long period of medical treatment in the United Kingdom.

He said: “I think that what she has done is the highest level of disloyalty. I believe that as somebody who believes as strongly as she does about her support for Atiku, the best and most honorable thing to do would be to resign and begin the campaign for the Atiku presidency.

“But for you to sit in a Buhari presidency and be talking about the presidency of another person, it smacks of irresponsibility and as a member of the National Working Committee, I would do my utmost to make sure she is sanctioned as a member of that government. I would call for her suspension or even expulsion from the party.”

On 2019 in Cross River State, he promised to work hard to ensure that the APC takes over the government. “What we have here is Mis-governance or lack of governance. There is no government in Cross River State. Since the House of Assembly has become an ally in the misgovernance of the state, we will wait until 2019 when we would have the opportunity of effecting a change. I am very sure that APC will win in Cross River in 2019. If there is anything I know of, it is that Cross River would not remain in the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) come 2019.”

Eta thanked God for President Buhari, saying “We have to be thankful that this man that has done so much for Cross River State and has planned to do much more is still alive with us. A lot of people had wished him to be dead, we are very grateful to God that he is alive today to continue with his good work for Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, in a report circulated in Kaduna yesterday, the embattled Alhassan threatened to expose the role allegedly played by Governor Nasir El-Rufai in the kidnap of Chibok girls by Boko Haram following an altercation between her and the governor over his support for Buhari to contest the 2019 election.

In the report, the minister said she was surprised that El-Rufai could comment against her preference for Atiku for the 2019 presidential race.

Alhassan was quoted as saying that there are lots of things Nigerians need to know about the planning and execution of Chibok girls’ kidnap because those behind it will be unmasked very soon. She reportedly said the intention was to defame and blackmail PDP and former President Goodluck Jonathan out of power.

The statement purportedly issued by Alhassan reads in part: “The same El-Rufai was among those who plotted against Jonathan by tactically supporting Boko Haram and kidnapping of Chibok girls. The information is out there where he lied that Jonathan wanted to kill him and other top members of APC by raising a false alarm about a sniper list.

“The same El-Rufai who claimed to be loyal to President Buhari is sponsoring some bloggers and his errand boys in the media to keep attacking and defaming Buhari, at least Nigerians and our party can see his deliberate action to blackmail the president when he
released his memo to the media which was supposed to be a confidential memo to the President in his bid to tarnish and embarrass Baba Buhari.

“I am not a coward, Buhari is my President and one of the fathers of my party, APC. If I can’t be real with my choice of Atiku, then it would amount to eye service, I am not that kind of person.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, however, posted on his face book a denial by the minister of the purported statement.

The denial posted by Aruwan, which emanated from the minister, reads: “The current APC government under President Buhari inherited a series of problems from the past administration – the kidnap of the Chibok girls by the dreaded Boko Haram happens to be one of them and President Buhari and our military have been able to rescue some of them and checked Boko Haram’s excesses.

“Senator Jummai is not in possession of any security report and therefore will never have made the statement allegedly made by her against the person of Governor El- Rufai. Boko Haram kidnapped many other people, including women and children apart from Chibok girls. And this government has been able to rescue most of them. The plot to cause bad blood between Senator Jummai (Alhassan) and her APC colleagues will continue to hit a brick wall.”

Alhassan further said she respected El-Rufai and saw nothing wrong with the views he earlier expressed on her.

Resign If You Want To Work For Atiku – Shehu Sani Tells Minister

The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, has advised the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan, to leave President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet if she want to work with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
He condemned the criticism that followed the open admittance of her loyalty to the former vice-president, saying the minister was better than others in the Buhari’s government who were nursing political ambitions and were undermining the administration.
Sani further, “The difference between that woman, who made the statement as a minister and others, is that she was open and others are still having it in their minds.
“If she is prepared to work for the former vice-president, I think in the event that this President contests (again) or not, she can easily excuse herself from this government and concentrate on what she believes in in 2019.”

Aisha Alhassan Has No Locus To Challenge PDP’s Nomination Of Ishaku – Supreme Court

Supreme Court on Monday stated that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in Taraba State, Aisha Alhassan, had no locus standi to challenge the nomination of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate Governor Darius Ishiaku by his party.

The court made the declaration while giving reasons for dismissing the appeal of APC and Alhassan in its judgment on February 11, 2015.

According to Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who read details of the judgment, the appeals and cross appeals had no redeemable substance.

The apex court held that Governor Ishiaku was duly sponsored by the PDP, to contest in the election, adding that evidence brought before it had confirmed Ishiaku’s membership of the party.

“The matter is very simple, the apex court has ruled on matters of this nature at different occasions.

“There is no way a candidate of another political party who did not participate in the primaries of another political party could suddenly rise to challenge the conduct of such an exercise.

“It is therefore, clear that the appeals and all the cross appeals against the election of Governor Darius Ishiaku have no redeemable substance,” Rhodes-Vivour held.

Besides, the court declared that the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal grossly misdirected itself by upturning Ishiaku’s victory.

It would be recalled that the tribunal had nullified the governor’s election and went ahead to declare Alhassan as duly elected governor of Taraba.

However, an appeal by Ishiaku set aside the tribunal judgement, prompting Alhassan and the APC to approach the apex court, which dismissed their appeals and affirmed the validity of the governor’s election.

Taraba: Supreme Court Upholds Gov. Ishaku’s Election

The Supreme Court has upheld the outcome of the April 11, 2015, governorship election that produced Governor Darius Ishaku of the People Democratic Party, PDP.

A seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court, in a unanimous judgment this afternoon, dismissed the the appeal that was lodged by Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour who delivered the lead verdict, affirmed the earlier judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal ‎which declared Gov Ishaku as the valid winner of the gubernatorial contest.

“I am of the firm view that there is no merit in this appeal and it is hereby dismissed. The Judgment of the ‎Court of Appeal is affirmed and the election of governor Darius Ishaku is hereby upheld”, Justice Rhodes-Vivour held.

However, the apex court panel reserved its reasons for the judgement till February 22.

Senator Alhassan who is currently the Minister of Women affairs, had prayed the apex court to set aside the verdict of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which earlier upheld governor Ishaku’s election. ‎

It will be recalled that the appellate court had on December 31, 2015, reversed the judgment of the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which nullified Ishaku’s election.

In voiding the decision of the tribunal, a five-man panel of Justices of the appellate court, held that Ishaku, validly won the governorship contest. It maintained that the Justice Musa Danladi Abubakar led tribunal,‎ “grossly misdirected itself”,  when it not only nullified governor Ishaku’s election, but went ahead to declare the APC candidate winner.

Justice Abdul Aboki who read the lead judgment, said the tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction when it invalidated Ishaku’s election on the premise that he was not validly nominated by the PDP. The appellate court stressed that the issue of nomination of a candidate by a political party “is clearly a pre-election matter which no tribunal has the jurisdiction to entertain”. ‎

According to the court, neither the APC nor its candidate, Alhassan, had the requisite locus-standi to query the outcome of the PDP governorship primary election that produced Ishaku. ‎It emphasised that under section 87(9) of the Electoral Act, only those that participated in the said PDP primary election, has the statutory right to challenge its outcome at the Federal High Court or State High Court.

‎The appellate court said contention on  whether the PDP rightly or wrongly conducted its governorship primary election, did not fall within matters that could be entertained by an election petition tribunal.