By Ajuma Edwina Ameh and Samuel Akpan
…the body language of the court we are seeing lately in respect to political decisions, calls for serious concern – Barr. (Dr) Daniel Makolo
Mixed reactions have greeted last week’s Supreme Court’s judgment which cleared the coast for the inauguration of President-elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29 at the Eagles Square, Abuja, with some world leaders already arriving for the historic event.
While some Nigerians expressed their displeasure with the ruling, others are happy and in support of the apex court’s position.
Human rights lawyer and the Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), Mr Frank Tietie, in an exclusive interview with Persecondnews, said the recent judgment of the Supreme Court on the dismissal of the suits by PDP against the Vice-President-elect is a strong signal that the apex court is not moved by popular opinion.
According to him, the outcome of this recent ruling has set a precedent for the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).
“This is a very strong signal that the Supreme Court is not moved or swayed by popular opinion if you notice in this decision the court did not bother to look at whether APC or Kashim Shettima, what they did was right or wrong.
“The court didn’t consider that, it went straight to the fact that the matter did not concern PDP and such threw away the matter, the court was more interested in ensuring that there is respect for the principles of law,” he said.
Both Shettima’s alleged double nomination case and Tinubu’s certificate and dual citizenship matter filed by the PDP were dismissed by the courts last week with costs.
The PDP had alleged that Shettima was still the senator representing Borno Central of the APC, when he accepted the nomination for vice-presidential candidate.
In the suit seeking the disqualification of the duo, the PDP had claimed that Shettima’s nomination as Tinubu’s running mate was in breach of the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act.
However, the Supreme court in its judgement on Friday, dismissed the suit seeking the disqualification of Tinubu and Shettima.
According to a five-member panel of the supreme court, the PDP lacked the locus standi to institute the suit, adding that the PDP is not a member of the APC, as it is an internal matter, describing it as meddlesomeness interloper.
Justice Adamu Jauro, said: “The position of the law has always been that no political party can challenge the nomination of a candidate of another political party.”
In its judgment, the apex court held that Section 284(14)(c) of the constitution does not extend to a party poking into the affairs of another party no matter how pained and disgruntled it may be.
The apex court deemed PDP’s case a waste of judicial time and as such awarded N2 million cost against the PDP in favour of INEC, APC, Tinubu and Kashim Shettima who are respondents in the case.
Tietie pointed out that against the apex court judgment, Nigerians and the ‘Obidients’ should “lower their expectations’’ as per the likely outcome of the tribunal’s hearing of the election petitions.
“What this ruling means is that Nigeria shouldn’t expect much, especially those in the camp of the `obidients’, they should not take any dramatic decision that will favor them if and when the current petition at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) will move to the Supreme Court.
“It takes a great deal for an opponent to overturn the outcome of the presidential election for which INEC have returned the candidate and the candidate has been sworn in,” Tietie said.
Another legal practitioner, Dr. Daniel Makolo, who also spoke exclusively to Persecondnews, said he body language of the court we are seeing lately in respect to political decisions, calls for serious concern.
Makolo claimed that under the administration of President Buhari, the standard of the justice system is below average, and the citizens no longer have faith in the judiciary.
“Under Buhari’s regime, black can be called white, the standard that was used in Bayelsa seems to be different from the one used in Borno. This isn’t only found in the judiciary system but also in all aspect of Nigeria under his administration.
“The issues of justice in Nigeria of recent have become something of concern, this is not what we expect, on the bench we are no longer having that feeling likie we had with the Oputa and other top lawyers in the 70s and 80s during the military regime.
“We can no longer say two plus two is four, this is a situation we should all be worried about, we saw how the Lawan case played out, scenarios like this will make people loose faith in the judiciary,” he explained.
Taking to his twitter, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokiri tweeted: “Well, the Supreme Court has spoken, and we must accept that they are final, not because they are correct, but because they are final.
“The inauguration will go on. I pray that God will give Tinubu the wisdom to govern Nigeria well until the final determination of our main suit, which we pray the PDP wins. Whether or not we win, we shall continue to wish our country and its leaders well, even though we are disappointed.”
Also speaking with Persecondnews, a civil servant, Ramatu Shuaibu, said she was not expecting anything less as she had already anticipated the outcome.
“I already knew the outcome of the judgment, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me. I wonder what Nigerians were expecting. We shouldn’t expect anything less from the petitions. The judgment has just set the pace for what we should expect.
“We have no option than to respect the court judgment and pray that Bola Tinubu changes things from bad to good and better in Nigeria,” she said.