BY TONY DANIA
I predicted that the Judgment will favour President Bola Tinubu, but I didn’t know that the Judges will go on such a long voyage, conducting the cases based on their own research and knowledge, and went far out of the submissions made by all the Counsel in the cases, to dismantle the arguments canvassed by the opposition and to justify their decisions, which is also tactically calculated to preempt the decision of the Suprem Court.
Because, an appeal is based on everything that transpired in the trial or Lower Court, except you are permitted by the Appellate Court, i.e, the Supreme Court (SC) in this context. Check the voice vote I posted by 7.am on the day the judgment was delivered.
The live broadcast of the judgment was also strategic, and it positively impacted the security situation. It made the majority of Nigerians watch the judgment proceedings live, and this was further assisted by the warning strike by NLC on the day of the judgment. Nigerians have made their impressions from the judgment.
I agree with most of the ratio decidendi that informed the decisions of the PEPC or the Court of Appeal. He who alleges must prove, depending on the nature of the assertion. Technicalities should not be totally ignored. Election matters are sui generis, but it is substantially the same generic law principles that apply.
Most of the allegations made against the victory of PBAT in the 2023 Presidential Elections, as emotional as they are, affected all the Candidates, almost equally, so, you must prove that they affected only your own candidate, or that your Candidate suffered most.
With respect, the SANs canvassed general irregularities, the biggest of which relates to electoral violence, early closure of votings at polling units, non- voting, theft of ballot papers, compromises of the processes, non-electronic transmission of votes at some states, the Constitutional provision for “two third and 25% of votes in the States and the FCT”, respectively. And the issues with the BVAS. They demanded a cancellation of the elections or a declaration of their candidates or conduct of a fresh Presidential Elections!! No sirs!!
No specific evidence were produced to convince the Judges that PBAT won because the said irregularities were deliberately orchestrated by him, to favor him, and they actually favoured him, and that his victory at the polls were based on the said irregularities.
When the word “and” is used, as I have used it in this instant write up, it means, literarily, that and comes after the word “and”, share the same category, flow, sense, narratives, contextual meaning, reference, interpretation or sense, as the words that were deployed before the word “and” was used in a sentence.
NOW, GIVEN ALL THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES THAT LED TO THE PETITIONS THAT INFORMED THE JUDGMENTS GRANTED, ASSUMING ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR OR MR PETER OBI WAS THE INCUMBENT PRESIDENT AND THAT EITHER OF THEM WAS IN THE CURRENT POSITION WHERE PBAT IS, HOW WOULD THEY RESPOND IF PBAT’S LAWYERS CANVASSED THE SAME ARGUMENT THEIR OWN LAWYERS CANVASSED, AND THE JUDGMENT WENT IN THEIR FAVOR?
Those irregularities were bad. We noticed some of them, but, most objectively, except there is prove to the contrary, it can be presumed that they affected all the presidential candidates, almost equally. The quantum to which the irregularities affected each candidate was not, and can not, and could not be determined, with specific certainty, so, could not be measured or determined by the judges.
But, without prejudice to the above, a provision contained in a law is not meant to decorate the law. The Makers of that Law had an intention to cure an abnormality. There is no doubt that INEC has the power to declare the result of an election, but with all modesty and humility, as a true Nationalist, my fear is that that judgment might become a precedent!!
The judges ought to have taken judicial notice of the waste of BILLIONS of Naira by INEC !!! THIS IS SO ANNOYING!! Why invest in the BVAS, and get Nigerians to key into it and relied on it totally? Why deploy the technology for the elections? If you knew that you would not use it or rely on it? And nobody is talking about it. I demand that the finances of INEC SHOULD BE AUDITED, BY A RENOWN AUDIT FIRM.
The late President Yaradua admitted that the elections that brought him in were not regular, and he set up a panel to address the issues. Even though there is no convincing prove that the irregularities inherent in the 2023 presidential elections favoured him, I recommend that the issues should be effectively addressed by PBAT to prevent a recurrence.
I have been a lone voice in continually recommending that we either go back to Option A4; or vote from our homes, electronically, via our NIN or details of our NationaI ID cards. At least, one person, in every house, has access to mobile internet. Let other countries copy from us. In the history of the conduct of elections in Nigeria, the 1993 presidential elections, where the Option A4 was deployed, remain the cheapest, fastest, most transparent, most peaceful, and best organised elections in Nigeria. Thanks to Prof. Humphrey Nwosu.
Above is my own candid and objective position. I deliberately refrained from delving into legalities and technicalities.
CHIEF ABDULLAI TONY DANIA ESQ, IS A HUMAN RIGHT LAWYER .