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PEPC affirmation of Tinubu presidency and future of democracy in Nigeria



By Emeka Alex Duru


The judgement by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Wednesday, September 6, on disputations from the February 25 presidential poll, has added to the argument on the future of democracy in the country. It has also added to the question on the role of the judiciary in deepening the democracy culture in the land. The details of the PEPC verdict are already in the public domain and attracting various comments, hence no need rehashing them here. We can only look at some salient ones that may have serious bearings on future elections in the country.

Among the striking points raised by the Court was in dismissing the allegations by the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Peter Obi, that the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu was arrested or had criminal records in the United States of America. Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), raised similar charges against Tinubu.

The five-man panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani ruled that no record of criminal arrest or conviction was established against Tinubu by the petitioners. It specifically maintained that both the LP and Obi, failed to prove that Tinubu was convicted for money laundering in the United States.

The Court also stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was not statutorily required to transmit election results electronically. It equally dismissed LP/Obi’s Petition on 25 per cent needed to win the presidential election in 24 states of the federation including the FCT. According to the court, FCT residents have no special privileges as the petitioners claimed. The court also rejected the European Union (EU) report on the polls, arguing that it was not tendered by an official of the body. The allegation of Tinubu’s dual nationality, his breezy credentials and double nomination against his running mate, Kassim Shettima, were equally discarded by the court. At the end, Tinubu was given a clean bill of health and his election for the presidency, affirmed.

Now, these are clearly legal matters which those substantially informed in the field can properly situate. But they have far-reaching implications to even the man in the street. The PEPC verdict brings to mind this particular brand of wrestling, referred to as ‘free style’, in which combatants are free to employ any strategies to dislodge their opponents, including unconventional tactics. What matters is who comes tops at the end of the exercise and not how he manages to do so. That, perhaps, is the most elementary way of explaining the Court’s affirmation of the Tinubu victory. It tilts considerably to what economists refer to as the end justifying the means.

Our politicians are smart, in case the justices of the PEPC do not know. Knowing them and their antics, the judgement in favour of Tinubu, would provide basis for wholesale rigging and other electoral malfeasance in subsequent elections, of course, convinced that they will have their way after all.

Tinubu seemed to have read this beforehand. At a forum with APC chieftains before the election, he was overheard telling them that victory at the polls was not a matter of playing by the rules, urging them, rather to snatch it and run with it. That was precisely what he did in cahoots with the INEC. There is no self-respecting Nigerian or organisation with a modicum of integrity that does not know that the election was slanted in Tinubu’s favour by INEC. The PEPC may have given its verdict on the basis of facts and presentations by the lawyers before it or any other consideration. But Nigerians knew better.

The danger in the judicial seal to the Tinubu presidency is the obvious assault on the growth of democracy in the country. The last general election was a particular exercise that Nigerians of all ages and classes, especially the youth, saw as one that would change many narratives in the country. It was one which the organisers – the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and INEC, had pledged to execute in a manner that would repair the country’s ruptured repute in electoral matters. Buhari, in fact, boasted that the success of the election would stand as a legacy and point of reference for his regime. INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, equally assured the whole world of conducting an election that would mark a radical departure from the past that was characterised by manipulations.

That, unfortunately did not happen. The outcome was rather unexpected and quite demoralizing. It is thus not surprising that millions of Nigerians who had queued to vote, especially the youths, many of who had not voted before then, have remained in shock more than six months after.

They had thus, looked up to the courts to make a final say on the election. In the hashtag; “#AllEyesOnTheElectionTribunalJudges#, they saw in the judiciary the last hope for their efforts. It was for them, a reminder that all was not lost after all; that the errors of the presidential election could still be remedied. But as it is, that hope may have been dashed, except the Supreme Court comes to the rescue.

In affirming Tinubu, the winner of the presidential election, what has been given unintended endorsement, is the rule of the thumb or survival of the fittest by candidates in future elections. Former Senator for Imo West (Orlu) Senatorial District, Imo State, late Francis Arthur Nzeribe, had uncanny ways of running over his opponents at the polls and daring them go to court. Contesting the position from the point of a victor gave him edge over them. Till he was forcefully retired, unconventional practices hallmarked his electoral engagements. And the impacts still resonate in the senatorial district. Our elections at the national level and indeed all segments, may be tailored along that odious direction, subsequently, if care is not taken.

The beauty of electoral democracy is freedom it accords the voters in making their choice in elections. That freedom presupposes that the choice should not be compromised or encumbered by extraneous considerations. The moment that right is taken away from the electorate by force or someone stealing himself to victory outside their consent, democracy dies.

It becomes more challenging when the presidency is involved. Issues concerning the office are not matters to be determined on grounds of technicalities or extreme legalism. The President of a country is the manifestation of its sovereignty. He is like a glass house in a market square which everyone sees through. The day the office is appropriated or compromised by someone through subterfuge or whatever manner clearly outside the free will of the people, the occupier of the office remains a usurper, in the mind of the people.

Bola Tinubu may have scaled all the hurdles – electoral and legal in his determined march for the presidency. But beyond the PEPC controversial judgement, he still needs to convince Nigerians on the genuineness of his mandate. That remains a burden he may have to live with.


DURU is the Editor, TheNiche Newspapers, Lagos 


BREAKING: Mother of all strikes! D-Day, October 3! *Stockpile food, essentials – NLC, TUC   



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday, announced midnight Tuesday, October 3 as the date for the commencement of total strike by their workers to get the Federal Government accede to their demands to end the current sufferings of their members and Nigerians at large.

The two labour centres representing the organised labour in Nigeria, which arrived at the decision after they had met separately at their local levels directed their affiliates to mobilise for protests from October 3, saying they took the decisions were approved at the meeting of the joint National Executive Council of the two unions on Tuesday, September 26, in Abuja.

Joe Ajaero, President of the NLC, speaking on behalf of his group, while urging Nigerians to stock their homes ahead the total strike, bemoaned the situation where the government had ignored the demands of the workers, saying it “substantially failed to meet its demands after the removal of fuel subsidy,” added that adding that the grace period given by the two labour centres had expired.

The organised labour, is demanding wage awards for public workers and a new minimum wage, apart from the removal of tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers, provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, the release of modalities for the N70billion for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the Federal Government.

The union, which on September 5th and 6th, the NLC embarked on a two-day warning strike which led to the partial crippling of economic activities in some states and gave the government a 21-day ultimatum to meet its demands, is also demanding a stop to the increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salaries of university teachers and workers as well as the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).

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BREAKING: Total strike looms! *NLC, TUC, finally meet, agree on action



The Federal Government, may have finally lost the move to stop the impending strike by organised labour, or at least mitigate it by dividing its membership, following a meeting of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), hitherto in disagreement over the issue.

In fact, the two bodies representing the junior and senior workers in Nigeria are reportedly meeting currently to announce a statewide indefinite strike, a move coming about three weeks after the NLC held a warning strike on Tuesday, September 5, and Wednesday 6, 2023, without the TUC, which it explained was to call attention of the FG to the painful suffering of Nigerians, particularly workers.

However, indications, suggests that having agreed to come to an understanding in the interest of the working masses of Nigeria, both camps, having also met separately in their different local organs, decided to hold a joint press conference at 3 p.m. on Tuesday to announce an indefinite nationwide strike in response to the FG’s failure to address the suffering and other socioeconomic hardships caused by the removal of subsidies on Premium Motor, PMS, commonly known as petrol.

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Tinubu will shock Atiku and his gang – APC *Why meeting with Biden didn’t hold



Having met with Joe Biden, at a parley of the G20 group in India, it was unnecessary for President Bola Tinubu to hold another session with his US counterpart at the recent United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the All Progressives Congress (APC), explained on Monday.

Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, in a statement, also explain other issues in a quick riposte to the attacks of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who claimed that the POTUS avoided Tinubu at UNGA because he did not want to be associated with the putrid stains trailing his Nigerian counterpart.

Morka, National Publicity Secretary of the party, also dismissed Atiku’s claims through his spokesman, Phrank Shaibu that fuel subsidy, which the Tinubu administration said it has jettisoned having dismissed it as a drain on the nation’s resources, had returned through the backdoor, saying the payment of the mark up in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), in August, was to ensure stability.

Hear him: ”Shaibu’s claim that fuel subsidy is back is not correct. The government’s intervention to ensure some measure of price stability and predictability does not amount to the return of the ruinous fuel subsidy of the recent past.

“Lifting the Visa ban on Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities should ordinarily make any well-meaning Nigerian happy. Diplomatic rapprochement between Nigeria and UAE authorities is ongoing and details of outcomes will soon be made public.

“The matter of the proposed meeting with United States of America President Joe Biden does not even require elaboration. Having met with President Tinubu on the sidelines of the G-20 Nations summit in India, another meeting with President Biden during the United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) had become unnecessary and was not even on President Tinubu’s schedule, contrary to preliminary indications on the matter.

“Nigeria is facing pressing challenges that require focused efforts and undivided attention. Issues such as economic recovery, security of lives and property, infrastructure development, and social welfare demand continuous, sustained and innovative efforts.

“President Tinubu is committed to ensuring an inclusive, honest, transparent and accountable governance system. We encourage citizens to actively participate in democratic processes, ventilate their views, and contribute constructively to national conversations. As the discerning people that we are, we remain confident that Nigerians will continue to differentiate between genuine, constructive and development-oriented criticisms and those driven by self-interest, mercenary considerations and disruptive political agenda.

“While we urge Nigerians to ignore purveyors of fake news and other inanities, it is obvious that Shaibu and his likes will stop at nothing in their desperation to distort facts and give oxygen to their politically knocked-out principal. But that can only worsen his infamy in the light of the President’s determined commitment and strides to improving the social and economic conditions for all Nigerians.

“The PDP and all its agents of misinformation should know by now that no amount of sleazy propaganda, muckraking, lies, half-truths, misrepresentations, misinformation or disinformation will confer the presidency of Nigeria on their candidate.

“Nigerians have freely chosen our party, the APC, and President Bola Tinubu, to continue to steer the ship of state. And the President is making good his campaign promises to deliver purposeful leadership to remake Nigeria, open the economy to rewarding investments, promote inclusive growth, create jobs, secure lives and property and renew hope for a vibrant future.”

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