A legal practitioner, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) has called for the unbundling of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in order to birth a true change for credible polls in Nigeria's electoral system.
In the post titled: “PETC Verdict on 2023 presidential election: Time for sober reflection,” the human rights activist noted that INEC fought the petitioners: the Peoples Democratic Party's Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party's Peter Obi, and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), as if it was an interested party in the whole process.
He stated that the judgement of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani which struck out the cases filed by the petitioners, and upheld President Bola Tinubu's victory at the February 25 presidential election was not surprising.
He added that there can be no real victory in the judgment as the country's democratic engagements appear compromised.
“The principles of presumption of regularity of elections and that of substantial conformity make it extremely difficult to prosecute elections successfully.
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“In this particular case, the burden placed upon the petitioners in order to upturn the election was practically insurmountable. To make matters worse, INEC practically fought the petitioners to a standstill, as if it was an interested party in the whole process.
“I honestly don't think anyone expected a different verdict from what was delivered in Abuja today, particularly the lawyers. The tension was completely unnecessary.
“This is why we emphasize always that the focus of anyone hoping to birth a true change in our electoral history should be on the electoral umpire. Without first unbundling INEC to make it more independent, non-partisan and effective, anyone declared “winner” will most often coast to victory in the election tribunal.
“Today's verdict should be a reason for sober reflection by all, especially for the parties in court, their lawyers and all lovers of democracy. The petitions could have been decided purely on points of law and within few days of the election.
“There can be no real victory in the resolution of the legal issues by the court when the fabric of our democratic engagements seem to have been hijacked and compromised. Part of the lesson in this process is for us to go back and review the electoral process and the litigations following it. INEC as it is presently constituted cannot birth any credible election in Nigeria.
“In all, may be there was too much expectation that the status quo will be upturned, whereas many of the principles of law canvased had long been settled by the apex court.
“While encouraging all parties to continue in towing the paths already defined by law for the ventilation of grievances, we owe Nigeria an urgent duty to dismantle INEC, urgently.”
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