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Tribunal: Live above board, save democracy, group appeals to judiciary

‘The public policy think-tank said that it was compelled to make the appeal in the light of the many flaws and infractions that characterized the 2023 general elections’

By Valentine Amanze

The Neo Africana Centre (NAC) has called on the judiciary, as the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal began hearing on Monday, to play its role as the bastion of democracy.

The public policy think-tank said that it was compelled to make the appeal in the light of the many flaws and infractions that characterized the 2023 general elections.

The centre said that there was an urgent need for the judiciary to intervene in order to save democracy in Nigeria from total collapse.

Also read: Tribunal: Judges to determine Peter Obi, Atiku’s petition against Tinubu, INEC

In a statement by its Director of Public Affairs, Jenkins Udu, the centre expressed concern over the charade called the 2023 elections, a situation, which it said, had given rise to the plethora of litigations the tribunal is saddled with.

It also urged the judiciary to live above board by cleansing the Augean stable of the 2023 general elections.

The statement reads in part:

“As a Public policy think-tank concerned with the tripartite principles of democracy, good governance and the rule of law, we have remained scandalized by the elaborate charade which the Independent National Electoral Commission shamelessly passed off as elections in Nigeria in 2023.

“The exercises which held on February 25 and March 18 remain a huge national embarrassment. The electoral commission did not just subvert its own rules, it abandoned midstream the technological innovations which would have made the conduct and outcome of the elections almost seamless.

“While we do not intend to go into the nitty gritty of the flawed exercises, we make bold to say that the February 25 presidential election was the worst of its kind that Nigeria ever experienced. The electoral commission failed the country spectacularly.

“The Centre is of the considered opinion that this failure by the electoral body should be mitigated. This is where the judiciary comes in. As the bastion of democracy, the judiciary cannot afford to fail where other arms or institutions of government fail.

“Regardless of what many perceive as miscarriages of justice which have dogged the judgments of the courts in recent years, we still believe strongly that the judiciary can salvage itself and the country from the mess we have on our hands.

“Unlike what obtained in the recent past where our courts, including the Supreme Court, have been pooh poohed over scandalous judgements, the judiciary must put its acts together this time. It must shun those pitfalls that have made some of our judges objects of ridicule and derision.

“If the judiciary fails, the country would have failed holistically. Such a grim prospect will be injurious to the survival and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.”

The Centre advised the judiciary, as was the case in the past, to put the country first by upholding the principle of integrity and keeping dirty compromises or inducements at bay.

“The people are watching and you cannot afford to fail,” according to the statement.

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