The United Action Front of Civil Society has kicked against the judgement of the Supreme Court which upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu at the 2023 presidential election.
Recall that, on October 26, the apex court dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as well as that of the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
In reaction to the judgement about a week after, the civil society group quoting Atiku, said the court ended up legitimising illegality, including forgery, identity theft, and perjury.
This was contained in a press statement signed and issued by the Head, National Coordinating Secretariat, United Action Front of Civil Society of Nigeria, Olawale Okunniyi.
The full statement read, “The United Action Front of Civil Society is compelled to further react to the outcome of the Presidential Election Petitions at the Supreme Court at the end of the statutory 180 days window for litigation prescribed by the law as the Supreme Court on Thursday, October 26, 2023 put a close to the legal tussle over the controversial February 25, presidential election, which its credibility was largely undermined by the Independent National Electoral Commission contrary to popular expectations of Nigerians at home and abroad .
“Not only were Nigerians who in their millions anticipated improvement in the elections and came out to express their preference for positive change disappointed by the eventual volte-face of INEC witnessed and observed by both international and local observers; a crude breach of the people’s trust; through deliberate sabotage of the most crucial aspects of the electoral guidelines in a desperate attempt to shortchange the electorate for the powers that be, it is also evident that the failure of INEC to transmit results of the presidential elections electronically from the polling units to the central collation portal called IREV as expected, was deviously orchestrated to manipulate the outcome of the Presidential elections.
“Unlike the results of both the senatorial and house of representatives elections which held simultaneously under the same circumstances with the same guidelines on the same day but transmitted electronically, INEC in cahoots with the powers that be compromised the highly anticipated electronic transmission of the results of the presidential elections and by so doing gave room for manipulation of the Presidential elections results at the collation centres. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court by its judgement, as rightly noted by His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, ended up legitimising illegality, including forgery, identity theft, and perjury.
“Therefore, the United Action Front of Civil Society wishes to unequivocally assert that the Supreme Court failed to live up to the expectation of making justice count as the final arbiter; as it ended up delivering judgements spiced with verbosity and embellishment of Technicalities. It is therefore highly disappointing that the Supreme Court in its judgements gave the impression that electoral frauds could be justified and endorsed within the spirit and letter of the Nigerian constitution and electoral law by simply relying on Technicalities. The United Action Front of Civil Society considers it rather curious that both the Presidential Election Petition Court and the Supreme Court endorsed the flagrant flouting of electoral guidelines by INEC and the electoral heists perpetrated across the country by State Captors during the 2023 Presidential elections.
“The United Action Front of Civil Society considers it utterly worrisome that the Supreme Court that ought to be the guardian of the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution and its Electoral Law has become the very tool for legitimising illegality, impunity and perjury. Regrettably, the danger inherent in the decision of the supreme court is to the effect that future elections may be fraught with greater impunity, manipulation, banditry and violence as the faith reposed in the judiciary to freely and fairly adjudicate in election disputes has been gravely eroded.
“The United Action Front of Civil Society is therefore disturbed by the implicit reality of undermined faith of the Citizens in the judiciary, which signposts serious danger for the future of democracy in Nigeria. It is that regard that we are further perturbed by the revelations made by retiring Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammad against the background of elaborate public perception, which speaks eloquently to the worrisome state of the Nigerian judiciary as reality rather than mere apprehension regarding perversion of justice in Nigeria.
“The United Action Front of Civil Society therefore calls on Nigerians to remain resolute and steadfast in the defence of democracy, which must be demonstrated through relentless commitment to the demand for justice notwithstanding political and judicial intimidation. We therefore align with the position of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that Nigerians must choose freedom over servitude and therefore wish to reiterate his call that the judiciary must never lend itself to politicization as it is currently the norm with nearly every institution in Nigeria. More importantly, however, is the need for Nigerians to brace up for the challenges ahead which demand vigilance, mass resistance, constructive opposition and dogged commitment to the cause of genuine democracy, credible elections, rule of law and justice as the aftermath of the Supreme Court Judgement has clearly shown that Nigeria requires an urgent people’s driven constitutional political and electoral surgery to survive as a democracy.
“It is therefore precisely due to the emerging anti-democratic posturing of election riggers and mandate usurpers like former governor Nyesom Wike, who is now the Minister of Federal Capital Territory that we condemn in strongest terms the political crisis in Rivers State. The United Action Front of Civil Society wishes to state that Mr. Wike should desist from foisting any further rascality in Rivers State and stop his desperate machination to impeach the Rivers State Governor, Sim Fubara, who only assumed office in May this year. The ongoing crisis in Rivers State which is no doubt the continuation of the political rascality and dictatorship of Mr. Wike must not be allowed to undermine governance in Rivers State and even in the FCT, as It is rather unbecoming for the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to be sponsoring the impeachment of his successor just five months of assuming office. The United Action Front of Civil Society therefore demand that the security agents under the control of the federal government must resist to be used as tools by Mr. Wike to settle scores in Rivers State.
“In the same vein, Hope Uzodima, the Supreme Court Governor of Imo State today shot himself in the leg as anticipated by abducting the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the leader of the entire workforce and masses of Nigeria and will never no rest again. It will therefore be in the interest of the Supreme Court Governor of Imo State that nothing happens to Ajaero in his illegal custody to avoid total shut down of Abuja and Nigeria as the Nigerian people are being pushed by bandits in power towards mass action.
“Lastly, we wish to call on leading opposition leaders in the country such as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr Peter Obi, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso among others to immediately rise up and unite to rally opposition forces in Nigeria to resist heightening impunity and recklessness in the governance of Nigeria, especially in defence of the future of the country’s democracy as done in other advanced democracies around the world. We wish to reaffirm that except political opposition becomes formidable, engaging and active in any country, popular governance will shrink and die, especially as the FBI begins to release the Files of the President today in far away United States of America.
“It’s for this reason that the United Action Front of Civil Society shall be joining hand with the newly initiated National Intervention Group, NIG to facilitate a major National Political Summit of Eminent National Leaders, Statesmen and Women as well as Social Influencers, especially among the Youths of Nigeria proposed for Tuesday, 28th November 2023 at a venue to be announced soon in Memory of Nigeria’s departed constitutional icon, Prof Ben Nwabueze, SAN, who left the world on Sunday, 29th October.”