Falana: It’s Impossible for Election Tribunal to Upturn Presidential Election in Nigeria

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Femi Falana

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has lamented that the 1999 Constitution gives rooms to the kind of judgments witnessed in recent times, noting that “under the current legal system in Nigeria, it is impossible for an election petition tribunal to overturn a presidential election in Nigeria.”

Falana has, besides, urged the federal government to demand for justice and not apology from South African government over the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigner nationals.

The human rights lawyer stated this yesterday during a post-election conference organised by Equity International Initiative (EII) held at Crest Hotel, Jos in Plateau State.

Speaking on how the electoral system could be improved upon for the good of Nigeria, Falana said: “INEC has to be unbundled. It should not have anything to do with the registration of political parties, but should focus on making the processes free, fair and transparent.”

On constitution and recent judgment in Nigeria, he said: “I have problem with the judgement of Atiku vs Buhari in terms of intellectuals, but in the eye of the existing law, here we have it. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could not implement the Confab report or amend the electoral laws. The All Progressives Congress (APC) that is celebrating now will soon meet their waterloo with this same lacuna if President Buhari refuses to sign into law the electoral law.”

On xenophobia, Falana said the incident was a clear fulfillment of the words of the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, when he allegedly pledged during his campaign to “deal with foreign nationals” living in the country.

He alleged that at least 120 Nigerians have so far been killed in South Africa, noting that there are about 27,000 Nigerians living in the country, most of whom are lecturers and doctors.

According to him, “For the fact that a very few Nigerians are accused of peddling drugs in South Africa was not enough reason to call Nigerians drug peddlers.

“Nigerians must get justice from South Africa; President Muhammadu Buhari should know that we want justice for all Nigerians killed and the millions of properties destroyed, not apology.

“President Ramaphosa has sent a delegation to deceive our leaders by telling President Muhammadu Buhari that ‘I am sorry.’ No! The South African leaders are not sorry, because last year during his campaign, he said that “we are going to deal with foreigners, no matter where they came from to take over our lands, towns and rural areas, and set up businesses without license and claims.”

He said the xenophobic attacks was earlier justified by the South African Deputy Minister of Police and the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the basis that Nigerians are being attacked because they are drugs peddlers and drug addicts occupying their
land.

Maintaining that Nigeria must rise up to the reality “by holding our leaders accountable and ensuring that the processes in which leaders are being elected or appointed are scrutinised for a better country,” Falana added that “our future is in our hands.”

In his remarks as the Guest Speaker, Prof. Clement Dakas (SAN), pointed out that Nigeria has lost millions of her citizens in the hands of politicians that are bent on manipulating the electoral processes over the years than people killed by chemical weapons.

“Have you ever heard that Nigeria lost her citizens to chemical weapons or biological weapons? But we have lost more citizens to election manipulation than a country would lose to chemical and biological weapons in this world,” Dakas said.

He noted that there’s need for the country to include ICT among other cyber securities in the conduct of election in Nigeria, with the aim of improving the nation’s democracy and winning the confidence of her citizens.