Former sports minister, Solomon Dalung, says the ruling of the Supreme Court on the disputes from the 2023 presidential election has set a crucial precedent in Nigeria’s electoral framework, putting clandestine relationships between politicians and chiefs of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as top requirement to win elections over the choice of electorates and popular democratic participation.
Mr Dalung, who served under former President Muhammadu Buhari between 2015 and 2019, said people who participate in elections without “befriending” the electoral commission’s chairman may not get justice.
“I’m busy trying to study and I have been advising those who are interested in election to campaign in INEC offices, try to befriend Professor Mahmoud because anything outside this, you are not going to get justice,” he said.
This position, Mr Dalung argued, has far-reaching implications for the integrity of the electoral process in ways that could potentially impede popular democracy in the country’s governance and political system.
Mr Dalung described the October 26 ruling, which affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s administration, has “reconfigured democracy.”
“After the 2023 elections and the fireworks in the Supreme Court, of course, I am armed with the new jurisprudence of election in Nigeria which the Supreme Court laid to rest by reconfiguring democracy,” Mr Dalung said while addressing journalists at an event organised by the Hague Institute for Innovative Law recently in Abuja.
He said that the ruling had granted significant policy and operational powers to the electoral body, which emphasises INEC’s power to establish rules for the conduct of elections and, in convenient instances, fraudulently overturn the rules mid-process if the results are perceived to be unfavourable to certain interests.
“With that landmark judgement, election in Nigeria now means INEC. So, if you want to contest elections in Nigeria, you have to lobby INEC, you have to go to INEC. That is the decision of the Supreme Court. That INEC, even if they make bye-laws regulating elections, they will jettison it even at midnight and declare anybody and you cannot hold them accountable,” he said, adding, “I think politicians should study the judgement and understand that there is a radical departure from what is called elections in Nigeria.”
Mr Dalung’s remarks align with those of other prominent figures who have expressed criticism regarding the conduct and outcomes of the 2023 elections. A common point of contention has been the deviation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from its initially stipulated rules and procedures for the polls.
Key opposition parties, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party, contended during the tribunal proceedings that INEC had outlined procedures, including the electronic transmission of results but refused to follow it, blindsiding some political parties and the majority of the electorates.
However, the Court of Appeal presidential election petition tribunal, with its decision upheld by the Supreme Court, maintained that the current electoral laws in the country do not mandate electronic transmission of results.
Protest Rocks Kano Over Appeal Court Judgment
Protests erupted in Kano city and its environs on Monday afternoon with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the state Governor, Abba Yusuf.
The Tide’s source reports that uneasy calm pervaded the state capital following a contradictory Certified True Copy of the Appeal Court that affirmed the prayers of both the appellant and the respondent in the contentious Kano governorship, though the judiciary had since cleared the air.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, huge crowd of protesters had stormed strategic positions in the city as it visited temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Kano- Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
Some of the placard read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “ Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023″.
The protest came on the heels of discovery by the Police that “some faceless group are bent on unleashing violence in Kano”, stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
Cp Hussaini Gumel told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already 7 suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact. In view of that, therefore, any one found outside this arrangement will be treated as common criminal”.
However, normalcy had since returned to the ancient city following the peaceful protest that lasted several hours.
NASS To Receive Tinubu’s 2024 Appropriation Bill, Today
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today, present the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Secretary, Research and Information of the National Assembly, Dr Ali Barde Umoru, confirmed this on Monday to journalists while requesting the list of those to be allowed into the chamber during the budget presentation.
This will be the first budget estimate President Tinubu will present to the National Assembly in person.
He had earlier transmitted two supplementary budgets, 2022 and 2023, to the National Assembly, which the parliament speedily approved.
President Tinubu had, weeks ago, also forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly, the 20224-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) where the sum of N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, following the recommendation of its joint committee, which scrutinised the document, approved the MTEF/FSP.
It approved the N26.1trn proposed as the 2024 budget and other parameters as proposed by President Tinubu.
It approved the new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, pegged the benchmark of oil price for 2024 at $73.96, and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.
Other parameters approved are a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, an inflation rate of 21.40%, an exchange rate of N700 to $1 dollar, and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Muslim Clerics Offer Prayers For Tinubu, Kwankwaso In Kano
Over 1,000 Islamic clerics have offered special prayers for President Bola Tinubu and the NNPP national leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Abdulmumin Kofa (NNPP-Kiru/Bebeji) hosted the ulamas at Kiru for the success of Governor Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court, according to a statement by the lawmaker’s media aide, Sani Paki, on Monday.
During the prayer session, the clerics recited the Qur’an 1,101 times and prayed for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
Mr Kofa said his relationship with the president was no secret, noting that Mr Kwankwaso is his mentor. He said he would continue to support and promote a harmonious relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Kwankwaso.
Mr Kofa described NNPP as a promising party open to collaboration, alliance and merger with the APC and even with the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party or any other party that showed interest, so long as it is for the good of Nigerians.
He also promised to deploy his modest political network to reach out to gladiators in Kano politics towards resolving all resolvable issues and to de-escalate the current tension in the state due to the Kano governorship seat.
Also, after the prayer session, the legislator hosted 5,000 primary school kids across his constituency, as he often does, and provided them with school kits.
According to the statement, Mr Kofa assured the pupils of the good plans of the federal and state governments, especially on free education and free school feeding programmes.
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