Presidential Election Petition Tribunal or Court
- What outcome would you accept?
- Do you really want the court to decide?
- Do you believe in the court’s (PEPT/PEPC) independence?
- Even if the court is independent, are the judges incorruptible?
The third and fourth questions are the elephants in the room. If your answer is no to questions 3 and 4, then please stop following the procedure, reporting, or commenting, as you are on the fence. It doesn’t make you wrong, by the way; Nigeria is not a transparent country, and expecting transparency in Nigeria is like living in a wild dream. But if your answer is it depends, please spell out what your conditions are. Because, let’s face it, Nigeria is not even near transparent; it is a country where 90% of politicians and citizens are corrupt, so expecting a fair judgement from the court is living in a fantasy world, so we must accommodate the doubters. What do you expect from a country where a governor does not pay pension for a whole term, awards themselves exorbitant salaries, takes out mysterious loans, leaves a whole state impoverished, and gets elected to the Senate by the same people whose lives they worsened? From governors to senators to the House of Representatives, ministers, and the president, they do the same with impunity; none ever ends up in prison, and you expect Nigerians to believe in the court’s independence or transparency?
Let’s continue on the third and fourth questions because nothing else matters here. In a polarised and heterogeneous country like Nigeria, I don’t envy the courts and judges, for almost any judgement pronounced will be smacked and/or seen through the lenses of ethnic or religious bias. Let’s not deviate too much from the elections; the LP, PDP, and other parties’ refusal to accept the election outcome was based on what they call ‘rigging’ and ‘irregularities’. Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party actually believes that he won the election and that it was stolen from him. That was a strong claim. Did you follow the court proceedings? Were you satisfied with the evidence provided by the Labour Party’s lawyers? Were these about rigging and irregularities? Let’s touch on the third question again: do you believe in the court’s (PEPT/PEPC) independence, and are the judges incorruptible?
As Nigerians, in our polarisation and religious sectarianism, we are quick to throw insults, condemn, unfollow, unsubscribe, or subscribe to any site saying the things we want to hear, but think again and ask yourself these questions.
- Is it ever possible to agree with anyone on everything?
- You don’t agree with your very own mother on everything; how dare you expect to agree with others on everything?
- Can I still be your friend if I disagree with you or do not vote for your candidate?
- Could I mean well for Nigeria even though I did not vote for your candidate?
- When you look at me, do you see a Nigerian, my ethnicity, or my religion?
- Does my religion or ethnicity influence my vote or political stance as a Nigerian?
The last question is the elephant in the room again. Remember the popular Peter Obi statement: Show me a place where Northerners buy bread cheaper; show me a place where Southerners buy bread cheaper; show me a place where Christians or Muslims buy bread cheaper? These statements were regurgitated so many times that it became monotonous, but listen, Mr. Peter Obi hit the nail on the head. That statement has hit home so perfectly: everyone pays for petrol at least over N500, inflation has skyrocketed under the almost two-month-old President Tinubu’s term, and it has not hit only PDP, LP, and other party voters; it is hitting everyone hard.
Touching on question one, ‘Is it ever possible to agree with anyone on everything?’ Imagine if everyone agreed with you on everything. You know you can and have been wrong many times. Wouldn’t it be risky to agree with you every time? Or, imagine if you only followed or subscribed to sites that echoed the things you wanted to hear. How boring and monotonous your world would be. Critical thinking ability is the weapon you need to falsify positions that may truly impact your life. Opposing ideas are healthy in a democracy, but they are not limited there; they are vital in a world where people come in different shapes and forms. The human mind can stretch when challenged and pushed outside its comfort zone, but it stays stagnant and dormant when unchallenged. You don’t want to live in a world where the only people you listen to, follow, or subscribe to are those who regurgitate the things you want to hear.
The judges at the Tribunal will deliver judgement in the very near future. If you don’t believe in their independence or ability to deliver justice, it is fair to say that you should switch your mind off and accept the status quo. But, in the far-off possibility that you believe in the judges, or your ‘it depends’ hinges on the percentage mark of over 50% for the judges, then you may still stick with the proceedings. We are facing unprecedented times in Nigeria; our currency is depreciating so fast we can’t even keep up. Our people are rapidly becoming used to poverty; our youths are living on handouts; they are not being trained to become the geniuses that will transform Nigeria; we have abandoned the Nigerian youth. Our law enforcement is so inadequate, partial, and lacks the slightest touch of professionalism. People in power act with such impunity that it makes you wonder if we are even capable of running our own country.
Again, another quote from Mr. Peter Obi. I mean, I’m not picking Mr. Peter Obi because I’m ObiDient; maybe, just maybe, the other candidates have no quotes worthy of inspiration. What kind of quotes shall I take from someone who runs for presidency on the grounds of “Emi Lokan”, or from another who has been running for presidency before 70% of Nigerians were born, switching left and right with no fixed values or honour? So, maybe that’s why I keep finding inspiration in Mr. Peter Obi, even though I’m not Obedient. Mr. Obi said, “People don’t do what is expected; they do what is inspected”. It is fair to say that President Tinubu does not have this quality in him in the slightest; he can’t even express himself in such a way that inspires Nigeria; his nonchalance and gaff-prone personality make anyone with half a brain and some degree of transparency in them squint. If he continues on this trajectory, I fear for the 140 million Nigerian youths whose future hangs in the balance.
The mountain of evidence submitted by LP and PDP was at times overwhelming, but the lack of evidence or any attempt at countering from the lawyers of INEC and APC tells a different story. They were confident that bringing forward witnesses or submitting further evidence was futile; in their opinion, PDP and LP had no case worthy of a rebuttal. Please, when the judges release their judgement, don’t rush to castigate them, whatever side of the aisle you belong to; wait for the judgement in full and read it because they must justify their decision in a written statement, which is called a judgement. After reading that, you can now start disagreeing or agreeing.
What would you like us to talk about? Leave it in the comment section. Also, if you have questions, please drop them in the comment section.
Writer: – Ikechukwu Orji –