Centre accuses Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal of selling its conscience

The NEO AFRICANA CENTRE has said that the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) sold its conscience for a mess of pottage by adopting a position that was not original to it. 

Reacting to the judgment of the tribunal delivered on Wednesday September 6, 2023, on the February 25 presidential election, the public policy think tank said it is convinced that the judgment was drafted and written from outside and merely passed over to the tribunal for adoption and affirmation. 

The Centre said it came to this conclusion given the uncanny similarity between the position canvassed by the respondents in the matter and the verdict of the PEPT. It therefore submitted that such a coincidence is not only disingenuous but also doubtful and suspicious.

In a statement by its Director of Public Affairs, Jenkins Udu, the Centre argued that it is only an unusual development that can make members of the bench such as the Justices in the instant case to throw the law overboard and rely on handouts that are procured from outside to serve a programmed purpose. Even worse in the matter is that the intruders who procured the judgment for the Justices subjected our laws and Constitution to perverse interpretations that are strange to both the letter and spirit of such laws.

The statement reads in part:

“After a thorough review of the judgment delivered by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) on the February 25 presidential election, we have come to the conclusion that the judgment is not original to the tribunal. Rather, what played out suggests that their Lordships sold their conscience for a mess of pottage and, consequently, abdicated their responsibility both to themselves and to the country all in the bid to serve the interest of external agents and perverse forces. In fact, the uncanny similarity between the content of the judgment and what the respondents canvassed in court bears eloquent testimony to this and therefore gives the judgment away as something procured from outside.

“Consequently, after taking a dispassionate look at the issues around the judgment, we have come to the reasoned conclusion that the judgment was not written by the Justices that sat in the tribunal. Instead, it was drafted and written by external agents and then passed on to the tribunal for adoption and affirmation. That was why matters that border on the constitution and the laws of the land were subjected to whimsical treatment by the tribunal. A case in point is Section 134 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which clearly states that “A candidate for an election to the office of president.....must have nothing less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.”

“We find it strange that this clear and unambiguous constitutional provision was subjected to a perverse interpretation to suit the purpose of those who have been caught on the wrong side of the law. This is not only fraudulent, it is dishonest and unconscionable.

“We are equally perplexed that the Electoral Act, 2022 , the grundnorm upon which the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission rested in the conduct of the 2023 general elections, was treated as an optional piece of law. That was why the provision of the act, which mandates the electoral commission to transmit results electronically was observed in breach. Yet, their Lordships defended the aberration. This twist introduced to matters that are legally binding in order to arrive at a predetermined outcome is an affront to our electoral jurisprudence and an embarrassment to the Nigerian legal system.

“By their action, Justices of the PEPT led by Justice Simon Tsamani have failed themselves and the country that they were called to serve. We are disturbed that this is happening in 21st century Nigeria where efforts are being made to consolidate democratic governance. The judgment of the PEPT, if allowed to stand, can only take Nigeria 100 years backward.

“We therefore urge the Supreme Court on whose shoulder the mantle has finally fallen to respect the laws of the land and deliver a judgment in which justice will not only be served but will be seen to have been served.”
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