The General Secretary, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Chief Ayo Opadokun, has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Tribunal last Wednesday as a victory for democracy.
Opadokun spoke in a press interview with newsmen in Lagos last Wednesday.
The tribunal had dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of Buhari in the February 23 poll.
Opadokun said that the judiciary had discharged its responsibility as an arbiter between the two political parties.
He said: “I believe that this is a victory for democracy because the judiciary had discharged the onus of its responsibility as an arbiter between two political parties.
“It is now left with the political parties to make the next move.
“From the pronouncement on every issue that was made in the petition, the judiciary did not cover up any thing.
“For example, the judges examined every allegation made and it established that most of the allegations were based on hear say.
“They were statements made up by third parties and once you make allegations on criminal conduct, unleashing terror on voters, changing figures, snatching ballot box, just to mention a few, all these are criminal matters.
“The standard is that whenever you make allegations of crime in civil proceedings, the standard of proof is to prove beyond reasonable doubt.”
Opadokun said this was consistently established in the case of Omoboriowo versus Ajasin by the late Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammad Bello, and subsequent cases.
He also said the allegations that figures were falsified were not enough as the petitioner had to prove these beyond reasonable doubt.
Opadokun, however, said the petitioner could still approach the Supreme Court for a resolution of the matter if unsatisfied with the tribunal’s judgment.
He said with the judgement, however, the judges had made a landmark pronouncement that would guide political parties and their candidates when approaching elections subsequently and preparing their petitions.
“As a lawyer, I am proudly behind the reasoning for the judgment on the presidential election that was given today (Wednesday) in an eight-hour plus sitting.
“The judges exhibited intellectual capacity to examine every milestone that was in fulcrum of the petition.
“They responded to every issue that was canvassed by the petitioner. They also provided a legal rationale for their conclusion and the judgement they arrived at.
“For example, the judges rejected INEC’s position on the argument on the eligibility of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President; they believe that INEC was wrong in the preliminary objection,” he said.
Opadokun said the judges had presented the judiciary in a very positive light because they did not leave out any matter of importance.
Political Space Is Only For Parties Ready To Take Power – Okoye
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s), Festus Okoye, national Commissioner on Information and Voter Education has reminded Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) that political space is meant for political parties that are ready to take power, maintaining that political associations can exist, mobilise, build structures before seeking registration, as soon as they get registered they must be ready to take power.
Okoye said this while speaking on a local media station after the High Court adjourned hearing in the case filed by 33 political parties under the auspices of IPAC, challenging their deregistration by INEC.
The national commissioner reminded IPAC that as registered political parties, they should be ready to take power, because the space was not for learning, as the electoral body would be prepared to de-register any political partyand relegate it to an association if it found out that the party failed to meet the threshold of its registration, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution.
“The political parties contesting did not meet the terms of their registration, neither did they win elections in their various states, nor met the projections. Two of the parties that went to court, Labour Party and African Democratic Party, were not deregistered. They claimed they had court injunctions and I don’t know what they are doing in court.”
“The spirit and intent of the constitution, is that political associations can exist, mobilize people, build up structures. The moment they come for registration means they are ready to take power. If you are not due for political power, you should not apply for registration, because the political space is not for learning or testing the ground”, he said.
Okoye said that 74 political parties had been deregistered and the deregistion had already taken place.
He maintained that because the 33 political parties that went to court were aware that deregistration had taken place, that was why on 14 February they filed an application in court, asking the court to reverse it.
The INEC official stated that the act had already been completed, that was why the court adjourned till 27 February for accelerated hearing.
IPAC Hails Court Order Restraining INEC From De-Registering 31 Parties
The Inter-Party Adversary Council (IPAC) has described the judgment stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from deregistering political parties as victory for democracy and future generations.
National chairman of the council, Peter Ameh, who made the comment while addressing newsmen shortly after the ruling, said the late Gani Fawehinmi gave the 33 political parties that went to court the courage.
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in her ruling, said, having failed to counter the application by the applicants, the affected political parties had the legal right, which must be protected.
In an interlocutory motion with suit number FHC/ABJ/ CS/444/19 between Advanced Congress of Democratis (ACD) and two others vs. Attorney-General of the Federation and another (INEC), the applicants had on October 30, 2019, approached the court.
The IPAC chairman insisted that there was no way the commission would have succeeded in the illegality it perpetrated against the parties and the fundamental rights of Nigerians.
“We have every reason to thank everybody who stood against this illegality, especially Okey Raph Nwosu, who, despite his party scaling the deregistration hurdle, still joined in the suit because he believed in democracy.
“We believe in the spirit of the Constitution as stated in Section 40, which gave Nigerians the right to freely belong to any political association, and the Constitution stipulated that no agency of government can restrict that right.
“We started this case since last year when we saw that there was plan to put Nigeria upside down. It is our right to defend the constitution through section 225 to challenge the commission to stop it from taking this illegal action.
“INEC should know that if the interest of a political party is to talk about free education, the party should be allowed. If the interest is to talk about tree planting in the North-East, it should be allowed to continue with it.
Group Advises Women On Increased Participation In Politics
Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria League of Women Voters, has urged women to be very active in politics to avoid marginalisation.
The state chairperson of the league, Mrs Nnenna Anozie made the call in an interview with our source in Enugu yesterday.
was a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) that aims at empowering women both politically and economically.
She said that the league encouraged women to participate in election; adding that they discovered that in the last elections, many women did not participate either as voters or contestants in the elections.
Anozie said that the organisation aimed creating more awareness on the girl child and for every woman to be aware of her civil rights in the state and the country at large.
The chairperson said the group recently visited one of the girls schools in Enugu where they shared sanitary pads, carried out sensitisation awareness on dangers of drug abuse, rape and others.
”This is one way of giving back to the society as well as empowering our women because knowledge is power. Most of them are not knowledgeable about their rights and how to keep hygiene.
”Many of them are rape victims and they are not opening up because of stigmatisation.
”We want to embark on the sensitisation drive in all the states in the country; hoping that come 2023 most of our women will be equipped to run for political offices both at the local, state and national levels,” she said.
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