Crime & Law
Presidential Election Petition Tribunal justices asked to avoid legal technicalities, uphold integrity
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, on Friday, urged the Justices of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) to be guided by integrity, truth and fear of God in the discharge of their crucial national assignment.
Frank in a statement in Abuja reminded the five Justices of the court to be mindful of the great expectation of Nigerians who see them as the last hope in redressing discontent that emanated from obvious manipulation and rigging of the February 25, 2023, Presidential election.
He urged them to painstakingly sift the petitions before them, examine arguments for and against made by petitioners and defendants and unbiased reach a decision based on facts and unassailable truth.
He warned them against resort to legal technicalities in taking their final decisions, saying such an action is capable of completely eroding the confidence reposed in the judiciary by the oppressed and marginalized petitioners whose electoral mandates have been brazenly stolen.
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Frank said: “As the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal begins its hearing and determination of suits brought before it, it is noteworthy that the enthusiasm and expectation of Nigerians is at an all-time high, which signifies a renewed hope in the judiciary as an unbiased arbiter.
“The five Justices who have been selected for this arduous task are aware of the magnitude of the assignment before them, and therefore, must ensure that they uphold the high sense of integrity expected of them as Justices of the Court of Appeal.
“The overall consideration and subsequent decision of the tribunal must be seen to reflect the basis for judicial decisions, which are the products of two fixed elements: the facts and the rule of law.
“Therefore all the features of a good judgment are expected to be demonstrated by the Justices in an accurate, succinct, factual and vivid manner.
“The Justices must be reminded that the fate of the nation is currently in their hands, and the least responsibility expected by Nigerians is their unalloyed loyalty to the people and their oaths of allegiance to the Nigerian Constitution.
“They must resist any form of pressure from whomsoever whether within or without. The Justices must display utmost uprightness as Nigeria will be in the spotlight of international stakeholders and citizens eager to follow the proceedings.”
Frank, who is the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East, insisted that expectations of Nigerians who feel disenfranchised should be the main cause of worry for the Justices.
According to him, “the total disregard by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in adhering to its set procedures and denying same is a shame to say the least, notwithstanding the earlier position of its National Chairman affirming to follow the electoral guidelines.
“It is rather appalling that several months after the conduct of the Presidential elections, we’re still confronted with unuploaded results on the IREV Portal. Therefore utmost importance to details rather than technicality must be the bedrock in determining the conduct of the 2023 General elections.
“The Presidential Tribunal must adhere to strict compliance with the timeframe for the tribunal’s sitting as stipulated in the revised Electoral Act, as so much time has already been expended unnecessarily.
“The call for a speedy judgement before the May 29th 2023 handover date is sacrosanct and must be respected. We want to remind the Honourable Justices to do their own part in delivering a just judgement, while we look up to the Supreme Court for its final ruling.
“We do not expect anything less, otherwise the Nigerian people will hold the Justices liable for any eventuality.
“Furthermore, we urge all friends and stakeholders of the Nigeria project to also lend a voice in ensuring that the judiciary upholds the dignity and integrity expected of them.
“We are hopeful that there is a more sense of reasoning, rather than technicality that will aid in the final determination of the various Appeals.
“Let the Justices also remember as stated in the book of Psalms that they can stand boldly on the truth and have confidence that no matter how big the mountains or the giants are, with God they are surmountable!
“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust: His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” – Psalm 91:4