Allow presidential tribunal to work, group urges politicians
A coalition of civil society organisations, Nigerian Youth Network for Good Governance and Sustainable Democracy has urged political actors in the 2023 general elections to allow the presidential election petition tribunal to perform its statutory role.
This call was contained in a statement by Constantine Ikechukwu, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the group in Abuja on Sunday.
Ikechukwu said it was unfortunate that some politicians, despite pursuing their cases at the tribunal had continued to make disparaging remarks to the public about the outcome of the election.
He added that some party leaders had also turned social media, especially Twitter, into a battleground where they abused, cursed, and denigrated individuals no matter how highly placed, who disagreed with their position.
“While we agree that the 2023 presidential Election was not perfect, there is no concrete evidence to show that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu rigged the election in favour of the APC as alleged or broke any electoral law.
“After a careful study of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act 2022, we are convinced that in declaring Bola Tinubu as President-Elect at the National Collation Centre, Yakubu only performed his statutory role and did not break any known law.
“On the contrary, he would have broken the law with serious consequences if he had failed to make that declaration.
“Thankfully, the law also gives aggrieved parties the opportunity to challenge the outcome of the election in court, which they have rightly done,” he said.
Ikechukwu advised politicians to learn to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship in politics instead of crying foul each time an election result did not favour them, saying there was no gain in do-or-die politics.
He also expressed concern that some foreign observers and local civil society organisations had been making subjective and unsubstantiated comments about the election.
He said such comments were being made even when none of them observed up to half of the 176,606 Polling Units where the election took place.
“A few days ago CSOs in a politically motivated Report on the election, asked the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to apologise to the nation, only for three of its members to openly disagree with the Convener, that the call was not part of their report.
“Interestingly, while the self-contradictory report applauded INEC’S preparations for the polls and acknowledged the immense security and extraneous challenges it faced, the group wrongly blamed the Commission for political violence, acrimonious, monetised party primaries and bitter political party campaigns which are outside the Commission’s control,” he said.
He also said that recently, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Olisa Agbakoba, in a tweet, congratulated President Bola Tinubu on winning the election, but asked him to sack the INEC Chairman that conducted the election.