As political parties head to various election tribunals to seek justice over election matters, a civil society organisation, Equity International Initiative (EII), has charged the Nigerian judiciary not to pervert justice based on technicalities.
This is as they stated that the average Nigerian citizens’ trust quotient towards the judicial arm of the government is low, however, noted that Nigerians are condemned to trust in their abilities to deliver justice based on material evidence.
In view of this, they charged the youths not to give up on the electoral process of the country as the 2023 presidential and NASS elections have shown that they remain a viable force in the dynamics of the polity.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the Country Director of EII, Chris Iyama, said Nigerians expect that the Presidential Elections Tribunal would deal justly and equitably, and must be seen to give fair hearing to all parties who have filed in their petitions.
According to him, “Nigerians expect that petitions filed by parties, hinging their arguments on the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s manual for the conduct of the 2023 polls will be dealt with on their merits, and that the decisions of the Presidential Elections Petition Tribunal will be in line with the law, and the wishes and yearnings of Nigerians.
Over the years we have seen the judiciary truncate the hope of the electorate based on what they called technicalities. We hope they will not pervert justice this time around.”
However, the event with the theme: ‘The Expectations of Nigerians from the Presidential Election Tribunal and Assessing The INEC’s Preparedness for the Governorship and State Assembly Elections Expectations of Nigerians’, saw the group condemning the INEC’s conduct of the last poll.
According to the CSO, “We wish to remind INEC that the February 28, 2023, presidential elections fell short of the minimum standard of an election, and our position on the polls remains as follows: ‘That the outcome of the February 25, 2023, general elections were marred by various degrees of unbelievable irregularities.”
Giving further reasons, Iyama said with INEC failing to transmit the collated result as prescribed by the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022 and the INEC Manual for Election Officials requiring transmission of the results by the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), it’s a flagrant breach of the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He said the results of the February 25, 2023, polls being manually transmitted “violates the provision of Sections 25; 47(2); 60 (1), (2), (4) & (5); 62; 64(4)(a) & (b); 70; and 148 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general election, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the presidential election.”
However, ahead of the March 18, 2023, polls, Iyama called for increased deployment of security forces to forestall the use of state sponsored thugs.
Reiterating the country director’s opinion, the Director, Law and Advocacy, EII, Ike Anyalewechi, said the Nigerians skepticism towards the judiciary is acceptable because they do not trust the process.
However, he urged the people with valid evidence to ensure they go to court during the tribunals sittings.