Whiffs of anxiety and anticipation grip Nigerians as the presidential election tribunal sets to deliver judgment on live television today.
The verdict of the tribunal will determine whether President Tinubu stays in power or not.
Accordingly, there have been various speculations on what will be the outcome of the judgement. However, as the judges set to deliver the long-awaited judgement on live TV, anxiety mounts in the hearts of many Nigerians on what will be the ruling of the judges.
Having defended his victory, President Tinubu travelled to India ahead of the G20 summits to woo investors to the nation, although the organized labour has accused the president of being indifferent to the plight of the people, leaving millions of Nigeria hungry and battered as he heads to an international summit. Interestingly, the union has embarked on a two-day warning strike, shutting down government offices, banks, and media houses across the country.
Meanwhile, the election proceeding which had lingered for five months will be coming to an end today as the appellate court decides the fate of the three leading candidates, Tinubu, Obi and Atiku of the February 25 election.
Labour Party Raises Concern Over Judicial Integrity
Earlier, Peter Obi’s Labour Party raised concern about the integrity of the judiciary, citing the remarks of Justice Odili praising the litigants of the All Progressive Party (APC) to be worrisome.
According to the Labour Party in a statement by its National Public Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, the “unfolding development” ahead of the presidential election raises questions about the independence of the judiciary to pass a fair judgement.
The statement reads,
- “The unguarded statement from the former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Mary Odili in Abuja last week at a colloquium to mark the 25th anniversary of the elevation of a renowned jurist, JK Gadzama to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and the boasting of some persons, serving Ministers and notable legislators about the outcome has left our party in shock.
- When those who should know the importance of the sanctity of the judiciary descend to the arena of abusing it with their preemptive utterances just to show loyalty and support to their interests, we as a party see this as unfortunate and dangerous to our democratic journey as a nation”.
Tinubu Not Worried about Tribunal Verdict — Aide
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the president, Ajuri Ngelale, has said that the president has no reason to be worried or anxious over the outcome of the election, claiming that Tinubu won the election fair and square.
While featuring on Channel TV on Monday, Ngelale further stated that President Tinubu is by no means threatening the judges to give any favourable judgement, as some have alleged.
According to him, the President sees no need to threaten judicial officers, saying that the judiciary is in the best position to make independent decisions based on the merits of the case before it.
- “The President sees no need to threaten judicial officers. He sees no need to raise speculations against the integrity of judicial officers; he believes in the sanctity and integrity of the Nigerian judicial system, and he believes the great men and women on the panel will make their decisions based only on the facts before them.
- “He will continue to ensure that no matter what the outcome of the judgment is, he does his part and ensures that our institutions continue to be respected, not just by him, but by all actors.”
Disqualification, Rerun or Dismissal
Umar Bangari, the Registrar of the Court of Appeal, disclosed on Monday that the Tribunal was set to pronounce judgments on the cases challenging the win of Tinubu, who had been the All-Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the February 25, 2023, electoral contest.
In addition, the court has granted permission for interested television stations to air the proceedings live. Tinubu’s election is under dispute by Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),
Both Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar are praying the court to either disqualify Tinubu or order a rerun of the election based on the allegations of irregularities, non-compliance from INEC, alleged forgery of the certificate presented by Tinubu as well as 25% mandatory votes in Abuja, which they claim Tinubu did not have.
On the part of the respondents, INEC and Tinubu have asked the court to uphold the election, citing that the evidence presented by the petitioners was not sufficient to prove that the election was not credible enough.
Given the diverse evidence put forward by the petitioners as well as the respondents, the judges will determine whether to rule for Tinubu’s disqualification order a rerun of the election or dismiss completely the case based on the merit of the evidence.
It’s worth noting that no presidential election has been overturned by the court since 1999. Yet many Nigerians believe that this might be a turning point in the political history of the country.
Nevertheless, a significant number of Nigerians will stay glued to their TV screen for another eight to nine hours as the five judges seated in Abuja deliver the judgement.