Nigeria’s nascent democracy was dealt a major blow on Wednesday 11th September, 2019 when the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) delivered an astonishing rogue judgement on the petition filed by the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar against President Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressive Congress (APC). It may be recalled that Nigeria witnessed a total charade called presidential election on 23rd February, 2019 marred by glaring irregularities, intimidation of voters, interference of the Nigerian military in the process, Voters’ suppression, misuse of state resources, manipulation of result sheets, fraudulent collation of results and so on.
The lead judge and Chairman of PEPT, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba in a series of rulings stated that Buhari is not only qualified but eminently qualified to contest the presidential election. In his words, “the question about whether the name in the certificate [President Buhari’s supposed Secondary School Leaving Certificate] is MOHAMMED or Muhammadu doesn’t matter so long as there is Buhari attached to the name…”. Pundits are however left to wonder what this rogue judgement posits in the Nigerian polity if for instance, means of identification is needed in a bank to authorize withdrawal from a certain bank account. Is it sufficient to say that the burden of proof to convince bank authorities of ownership of a specific bank account is surname? Wouldn’t this lead to chaos and fraudulent withdrawals?
It is also worthy of note and evident in the proceedings of the court that Buhari stated categorically that his West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate is in the custody of the Nigerian Army but he submitted affidavit in place of the said certificate hence lying under oath.
Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC spent a whopping sum of about N3 Billion for IT accessories and the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Akwa Ibom State Mr. Mike Igini confirmed on Channels Television Nigeria that elections will be electronically transmitted; yet, tribunal affirmed that manual collation was adopted without referencing the huge amount budgeted for IT by INEC; further casting doubts on the justification of the ruling by the Election Tribunal.
It is also an established fact evidenced by the reports of various election monitoring groups that the Presidential elections in Nigeria was marred by wide spread unimaginable irregularities, over voting, Voters’ suppression and interference by the Nigerian military.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) and their cohorts – Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, Adams Oshiomhole, Nasir El-Rufai Lai Mohammed, Boss Mustapha, Orji Uzor Kalu, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and their team must acknowledge they will surely reap what they have sown in Nigeria in distorting its nascent democracy no matter the length of time or years it might take.
Nigerians must not keep quiet in the face of these judicial rascalities, destruction of the nation by terrible judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) including that of Imo West senatorial zone where the tribunal affirmed Rochas okorocha winner, despite the media/televised plea by the Returning Officer, Prof. Ibeawuchi Izuchukwu that he declared him (Rochas) winner under duress.
Evidently, even if Nigerians keep quiet, nature must surely fight back against All Progressive Congress, APC and their cohorts for all the havoc they wrecked in destroying the judicial system in Nigeria.
“Nigeria in the nearest possible time will have genuine government and the unimaginable atrocities committed by Buhari and his team must be called to absolute and total account. Buhari and his cohorts will surely face the full wrath of the law and consequences of their actions. Time is the only factor as the wicked will never go unpunished.”