The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Dr Godfrey Onah, has tacitly indicted tribunal judges handling various election petition cases in the aftermath of the 2023 general elections.
Onah, in a viral video ahead of Wednesday’s verdicts of the presidential election petition tribunal, urged Nigerians to be realistic in whatever outcomes of the trial.
According to him, “I was reminding everybody that the judges in the tribunal are not from Singapore. They didn’t fall from heaven. They are Nigerians, as corrupt as all of us; so that we will be realistic in our expectations.”
Meanwhile, some civil rights activists who spoke with our reporter proffered varying solutions to Nigeria’s electoral process.
Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie said, “Actually, the way the country has been moulded, whoever you put on that tribunal will be bought over; except the people are the ones allowed to appoint the people in the panel: people of proven integrity, boldness and fairness.”
Speaking also, Comrade Malachy Abonyi blamed the Independent National Election Commission for ‘destroying Nigeria’s electoral system’.
Abonyi, a political scientist, said INEC under Prof Mahmood Yakubu ‘is the architect of the electoral woes in Nigeria by deliberately conducting dismal elections and asking the aggrieved to go to court’. He therefore advocated punishing electoral offenders to serve as a deterrent to would-be culprits.
Quoting him, “The electoral body is the problem. Has any INEC staff been held culpable for the irregularities? The cancellations, the non-compliance with the Electoral Law? People are not punished; that’s the problem.
“The electoral offences tribunal should start trying electoral offenders and those found to have compromised should be jailed and banned from holding public offices in future.”
Our correspondent reports that the presidential election petition tribunal, Wednesday, upheld the election of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, quashing petitions of Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party in the process.