Connect with us


Judgment Of The Presidential Electoral Tribunal Has Come But Not Gone



Judgment Of The Presidential Electoral Tribunal Has Come But Not Gone

By Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire

Those who have followed my writings on this topic would all agree that I predicted the judgment of the tribunal accurately, as far back as 17th May, 2023, well before Tinubu was sworn in.

It is basic to understand the inherent flaws and limitations in a system where you allow a person whose victory in an election is still contested to assume the full powers of the president. It is also natural that such a person would deploy every asset within his presidential powers toward ensuring that the outcome of any unresolved dispute over his claims to victory will end in his favor.

When the INEC failed to conduct a clean transparent election, the consequence was an unmitigated calamity of extreme proportions. It took the judgment of the tribunal yesterday for that to become manifest. For me, however, it was too obvious to contemplate any alternative, even in the best of circumstances.

In telling then that Tinubu could not be stopped by any judicial process, I was merely restating that obvious state of human conditions. I stated my reasons and my analysis.

I knew that the argument around the significance of 25% of Abuja votes would not sail. I recall my argument with my own brother, an avid Obident, but otherwise an intelligent medical doctor. He was referring me to what other lawyers had said or written on that point. I told him not to take those lawyers’ arguments seriously because they merely seemed to be positioning themselves for something. The fact that the constitution treats Abuja as equal to a state for specifuc purposes would not justify treating Abuja as greater than a state. Indeed, that would be a complete pervassion. Why would an Abuja vote carry more weight than a Lagos or Kaduna or Enugu vote? I didn’t push that point aggressively then because I was “afraid” of the Obidents. It was difficult to have any peace after saying anything they didn’t like to hear.

Having said this, the judgment of the tribunal had so many weaknesses. It was driven by technicalities rather than by a genuine commitment to justice. To state that INEC had the option of choosing how to transmit the results of the election begs all the questions.

No, the INEC does not have the power to choose to transmit the results in a manner calculated to manipulate and obscure the results of the votes. The tribunal should have more accurately concluded that there was a purpose for the introduction of BVAS at such huge expense to Nigeria. INEC did not have the option of ignoring the BVAS, especially where doing so rendered the results it announced questionable. This is probably the single most important error in the judgment and its consequences are most devastating. Transmission of voting results is so vital such that its processes could not logically be left up to INEC except within the four walls of tight and transparent standards.

ALSO READ: Pipeline Surveillance: Ex-General Aroni Oputu, Warri North Ex-Agitators Demand Percentage Of Contract From NNPC

If we had an independent judiciary, yesterday’s judgment would have been different. But as I stated in my earlier posts, the Nigerian judges faced existential risks if they were to give judgment against a sitting and entrenched president. This further underscores the systemic error pointed out ealier on this post. I expected the judges to be human and pragmatic, which would force them to decide in favor of a sitting president. That was my prediction and that was exactly what happened yesterday.

For the avoidance of doubts, unlike the Obidents, I never thought that a sound judgment would have declared Obi the outright winner. Of course, only those who believed in the wrong interpretation of the 25% of Abuja votes believed absolutely in Obi’s victory. I never thought that the 25% argument would control the outcome. So, I never thought that Obi could be declared the winner by any court. However, the outcome most consistent with the laws would have been a cancellation and a re-run. But for obvious reasons, nobody wants a rerun, when they believed they might be declared the winner of the last election.

The parties will definitely go on appeal to the Supreme Court. But the outcome will not be much different. The Supreme Court may vary some of the rationalizing done by the tribunal. But it will uphold the tribunal in the most important parts of the judgment.

My advice to those who lost the tribunal case, especially the Nigerian youths, is for them to be patient, to learn from the past, and use their learning in the next election. Keep your watchful eyes on the government and show your feelings through your votes in the next election. It is very difficult to achieve any change outside the ballots. Nigeria is in a big mess at the present. Any destabilization will deeply hurt those already suffering the worst hardship.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending News