THE controversies surrounding the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on February 25, 2023, have been finally laid to rest with the Supreme Court’s judgement last Thursday upholding the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) affirming the victory of President Tinubu. In a unanimous decision, a panel of seven justices first dismissed the challenge by Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the poll, and then rejected a similar one from Peter Obi, who came third. The apex court, in its lead judgement that was prepared and read by Justice Inyang Okoro, held that there was no merit in the petition that a former vice president and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, filed to nullify the outcome of the election.
THE Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) led by Justice Haruna Tsammani had on September 6, in a 13-hour judgement dismissed the petitions of the Allied Peoples Movement, APM; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Labour Party, LP; and their candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi respectively for lack of merit. Not satisfied with the ruling, Atiku and Obi had approached the Supreme Court seeking the reversal of the PEPC’s decision. The apex court held that section 185(1) of the Evidence Act provided that an election should not be liable to be invalidated, when alleged noncompliance did not substantially affect the outcome of an election.
Some of the issues the apex court resolved included the effect of non-uploading election results on IReV and the status of scoring 25% votes in FCT as a condition to be declared winner. The Supreme Court said it had in past judgements, made it clear that there was a difference between election result collation system and the IReV portal. “Where the IReV portal fails, it does not stop the collation which up till the last election was manually done,” the court held. The apex court affirmed the position of the PEPC that the FCT does not have a status that is more special than that of the 36 States of the federation. We commend the titans for going through the legal process instead of resorting to self-help. This demonstrates civility.
WITH the matter being permanently laid to rest and his mandate legitimised, President Tinubu should be magnanimous in victory given the polarization of the country aftermath of the polls and focus on how to rescue the country. He has all it takes to do that. Some Nigerians are of the opinion that the composition of his cabinet is not good enough as it is peopled by more politicians rather than technocrats. Although those appointed have record of success in the past, but their past experience are miles apart from the present reality. There is need to open up and bring more people on board in order to unite the country without necessarily overloading the cabinet.
THE president should declare emergency on the economy to enable his government to operate sweepy reforms. He should look at how to use what we have to get what we want. An import dependent economy will not take us anywhere. There is the need to cut down on the foreign exchange we expend in order not to put further pressure on naira. Local production of goods should be encouraged. For instance, vehicle manufacturers like Innoson Motors should be heavily patronized by the government to encourage citizens to follow suit. In the alternative, foreign vehicle manufacturers should be made to install assemblage plants in Nigeria as conditions for patronizing their products as this will in turn reduce importation and create jobs. Tinubu should focus on revamping the agriculture sector to address the severe hunger in the land. Research centres to help produce agriculture inputs should be established. He should attend to issue of insecurity so that people can return to the farm.
THE bane of our development is corruption which successive governments failed to tackle leading to the eventual removal of oil subsidy resulting in pains and agony for Nigerians. Therefore, President Tinubu should confront corruption headlong, but does he have the courage to do that? For whatever it may cost, addressing corruption is a task he must not ignore. He should find solution to things that can trigger crisis.
UNNECESSARY foreign trips should be discouraged. Institutions should be funded. He should beware of IMF and World Bank conditions. The major international organizations producing foods and drugs are promoting genetically modified foods hence, the reason they are attacking Nigerian economy in order to sustain huge market for their products in Nigeria, a leading economy in Africa. His government should avoid unnecessary borrowing to enable Nigeria to win the battle.
WITH his victory finally affirmed, we implore president Tinubu to quickly reinvigorate his programmes and double his efforts at addressing the myriads of challenges facing the country.