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Nigerians are anxious two months before the tribunal’s decision

Jul 24, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

The presidential election petition tribunal (PEPT) will rule in September if all goes well.

Nigerians are seeing how poorly managed elections can lead to electoral legal issues.

“The electoral commission’s failure to collate ballots transparently and questions about Tinubu’s eligibility for the top post have prompted legal challenges to the results,” the International Crisis Group reported in May 2023.

Many are looking to the elections’ petitions for a reset as the economy has crippled them.

Tinubu, APC have no reason to undermine judiciary – Presidency
Others, especially supporters of incumbent President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would like judicial confirmation of his February victory.

APC flagbearer Tinubu won the February 25 election with 8,794,726 votes.

Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) are challenging Tinubu’s victory.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the presidential election’s judicial inquest will conclude the electoral process.

The Nigerian Electoral Act gives the Tribunal 180 days to decide petitions. The court should finish its work by September 16, 2023.

“Democracy may be about choices and decisions by citizens in theory,” said Fletcher School Professor of Practice in International Human Rights Law Chidi Odinkalu. However, Nigerians mostly watch. Nigerian judges decide every election.”

He added that judges play a larger role in elections under the presidential system.

Since 1979, Nigerian presidential elections have usually ended in court. Courts have consistently upheld election manager outcomes.

Nigeria’s highest court rejected Atiku Abubakar’s bid to invalidate President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 re-election.

Odinkalu saw every sign that this season would be different.

The Nigerian judiciary needs more public confidence. Nigerians distrust the judiciary. Nigerian courts are more technical than just.

Castro Ginigeme, an attorney, argues technical legal procedures “should lead justice, not obstruct it.” Nigeria looks to follow the latter.
Ginigeme doubts they would act ethically.

“Shock me. Even if the Tribunal is correct, the Supreme Court might overturn it. Judicial corruption is alarming. It’s unreal. Corruption abounds. The Supreme Court is untrustworthy. All corrupt.”

Election petitions “have become a concern of judges in Nigeria and beyond Africa and a defining procedure in the public view of the courts,” Odinkalu said. They formerly supplied forensic and legal drama.

But, they are increasingly ceremonies for sanctifying electoral theft and celebrating judicial capture. Burglars and judges benefit.”

Nigerians value judicial decisions. February’s Tinubu triumph was unpopular. He advised his accusers to sue.

Abuja construction contractor Jubilee Ogwoja said, “Nigerians would be glad if the court eliminates Mr. Tinubu as president. Yesterday, all callers except one indicated they did not vote for Tinubu on a radio station. I hope the court eliminates this unlawful government.”

Since becoming president, Mr. Tinubu’s economic policies have been widely praised as sensible but unanimously vilified for their destructive effects on Nigerians.

After replacing Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu eliminated the fuel subsidy scheme, which immediately raised petrol prices by 300 percent, a vital commodity affecting other economic areas.

Read also: Analysts predict the first MPC meeting following Emefiele’s resignation.

His harmonization of international exchange rates plunged the local currency.

Tinubu may have charmed the business elite, but to the quiet mass of Nigerians burdened by his economic policies, he is as awful as Muhammadu Buhari.

“Run smart, not fast. “This tax collector is likely to expand our suffering index without creating the economy to pay the taxes,” stated Jos engineer Kiyitwe.

Last Monday, Tinubu’s lawyers threatened pandemonium if their client was removed as president.

Tinubu’s attorneys, led by Wole Olanipekun, acknowledged his inability to garner 25% of Abuja’s votes but maintained it was insufficient to invalidate INEC’s declaration of victory.

“Any alternative interpretation will lead to folly, turmoil, anarchy, and change the entire objective of the legislature.”
The president’s response to chaos enraged many.

@MalcomInfiniti tweeted, “Tinubu telling the Tribunal that his removal as president may cause chaos is a threat and blackmail of the judiciary. The opposition did not riot after the election was manipulated. You requested legal action. You encourage violence in court.”

The president’s attorneys’ warning of Kafkaesque violence came a few days after Julius Abure, the Labour Party’s national chairman, urged party members to prepare for a presidential election rematch.

He said that President Bola Tinubu’s All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration was likewise preparing for a repeat.

“Government officials are already organizing a repeat, and we will ask for your support. As the administration is preparing for a repeat, we should too.

A repeat “gives anybody who lost a race a second bite at the apple,” Castro Ginigeme says. Reruns are unnecessary if you can prove who won and who lost. Reruns deny victory and give the loser a second chance.

Who will run the elections? Yakubu’s INEC?”

The European Union Election Observer Mission to Nigeria during the 2023 general elections criticized INEC for mismanaging and conducting the polls, as did most other foreign observers.

It claimed the election was neither transparent, inclusive, nor up to the commission’s criteria, damaging democratic progress.

“I would not trust INEC under Mahmood Yakubu to organise an election in his family not to mention of staging a rerun for Nigeria,” Abuja dentist Segun Olupitan said.

This legal drama may affect how Nigerians and INEC secure a free, fair, and safe voting process. Since voting is a hallmark of democracy, INEC should understand how and why to eliminate non-legitimate barriers to voting.

Nigerians want their ballots counted. Their votes should count. Judges should not choose their leaders.

Anarchy is improbable if a court ruling changes the country’s government. Violence is unlikely if President Tinubu stays in office. One analyst suggested it may only fuel animosity against a government many consider unlawful.

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