" ITREALMS: Democracy Day vs Judiciary: Real enemies of Nigeria emerging in court - ITREALMS

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Democracy Day vs Judiciary: Real enemies of Nigeria emerging in court - ITREALMS

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The guilty, they say, is always afraid. This assertion cannot be truer in the face of near-direct fisticuffs taking place at the Abuja Appeal Court venue of the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPT. Since real trials began on May 30, the Respondents have been objecting to every move made in court by the Petitioners to prove that HE Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not win the election.
Democracy Day vs Judiciary: Real enemies of Nigeria emerging in court - ITREALMS
But as much as one could feel nauseated over the pursuit of technicalities by the second and third Respondents (Tinubu & Shettima) and fourth Respondent (APC) as the only ingredient of proving that they won the election, the actions of the first Respondent (Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC) in leading this quest is outrightly disgusting.

In some aspect, one could go as far as absolving Tinubu, Shettima and APC from the rigging complicity. Yes, because, if INEC did not comply, we would not have been in the present mess and there would not have been this glaring attempt to rope the Judiciary into the same mess INEC is swimming in.

The 2022 Electoral Act took so much energy in debate and lobbying to be finally signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari. This new ACT gave INEC so much freedom to be truly independent. And like Nigerians when they want to truly work, the electoral umpire did not only invent the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, they also linked INEC Result Viewing, IReV portal and spiked them up with very progressive guidelines for free, fair and credible elections. Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief, religiously followed the guidelines of the whole process till actual voting on February 25. Then the same INEC abandoned their guidelines and the Electoral Act, plunging Nigeria into deep crisis.

It has not been easy anywhere in the world to change goalposts in the middle of the game when the people are truly involved. INEC is arrogantly stretching the patience of Nigerians to the very elastic limit and recklessly taking the conduct of the OBIdients and progressive Nigerians in obeying the rule of law and order for granted. Very annoyingly so!

INEC objected to evidence of the Petitioners’ PW1, which was clearly dealing with Tinubu’s drug-related forfeiture business. What is INEC’s business in that? Has it now left being an unbiased electoral umpire to being a candidate or a political party? The same INEC objected to tendering of the documents that it (INEC) endorsed hitherto as Certified True Copies, CTC. Is this not absolute craziness?

To draw issues closer to that elastic limit, INEC was almost going physical in court yesterday to prevent the Petitioners’ PW3 from playing the video where INEC spelt out their guidelines for the election through their chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu and their spokesperson/ image maker, Festus Okoye. If there are acts that can be classified as treason in the whole transition process, INEC perpetrated them all!

Why should the electoral body frustrate their own guidelines right from the PVC registration exercise down to the election conduct proper and now straight to court to continue thwarting the wishes of Nigerians?

Tinubu, Shettima and APC may directly be benefitting from INEC’s open crimes but it is INEC themselves that should be held responsible, whatever they were induced with to betray over 200 million Nigerians. It is the electoral body that is unrepentantly making Nigeria a country of electoral criminality.

Involvement of technicalities in Tribunal matters were drastically reduced by the 2022 Electoral Act while the Nigeria Judicial Council, NJC has also drastically reduced the use of technicalities as the major ingredient of deciding cases in Nigerian courts. INEC is obviously living in the past by their tactics at the Tribunal. The major thing they ‘achieve’ is time-wasting. Out of the 21 days available to them to prove their case, the Petitioners somewhat lost the whole of yesterday because of INEC’s obstinacy.

It is very clear who the real enemies of Nigeria are in this election. INEC is setting this country back by many years. The consequences may be grave.


*Contributed by the Peter Obi Express Media (POEM)

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