Presidential Court: Labour Party, PDP Allege Threat to Judiciary in Tinubu’s Final Address

Presidential Court: Labour Party, PDP Allege Threat to Judiciary in Tinubu’s Final Address

Two leading opposition parties contesting the outcome of the 2023 presidential election, won by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party, have alleged a subtle threat was made against the judiciary in the final address of the APC candidate in response to issues raised by the petitioners in their separate

Two leading opposition parties contesting the outcome of the 2023 presidential election, won by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party, have alleged a subtle threat was made against the judiciary in the final address of the APC candidate in response to issues raised by the petitioners in their separate cases before the Presidential Election Petition Court.

In separate statements the opposition parties referenced the use of the word “anarchy” in the final address to suggest that the President is trying to guide the judiciary to a definitive outcome in the matter before it. According to the PDP, “the threats, either through Counsel or officials of the APC is calculated to intimidate and harass the Judiciary and indeed Nigerians” While the Labour Party described it as an act of desperation, “even when the matter is still pending in court.”

The statement in question as contain in the final address states: “Any other interpretation different from this will lead to absurdity, chaos and anarchy and alteration of the very intention of the legislature” Chief Wole Olanipekun wrote in the final address.

The PDP’s Statement

In its statement titled: APC’s Threats to PEPC Subversive, Pre-emptive Move to Intimidate Judiciary, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asserts that the threat contained in the written address by lawyers to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) is a pre-emptive move to intimidate the judiciary.

“The statement by the lawyers in the said written address threatening crisis and anarchy in the country in the event of the Court ruling that their clients did not meet the Constitutionally required 25% votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is subversive, an affront to Democratic Order and assault on the corporate existence of the nation.

“It is alarming and disturbing that the APC externalized to the public, their final written address in which they also threatened national peace if the Court upholds the clear provisions of Section 134 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) with regard to the mandatory and statutory requirements for which a Candidate in a Presidential election can be declared winner.

“The threats, either through Counsel or officials of the APC is calculated to intimidate and harass the Judiciary and indeed Nigerians.

“The PDP holds that the clear intent of the APC is to blackmail the Court and emasculate the independence of the judiciary to discharge its duties in accordance with the dictates of the law. This action is ostensibly to set the stage to orchestrate violent crisis in various parts of the country with the intention to further blackmail the PEPC.

“We ask, why is the APC externalizing their final written address to the public? Is the APC being pre-emptive and now seeks to heighten tension, subvert the judicial process and trigger anarchy, having realized the weakness of their case before the PEPC?

“The PDP however cautions and emphasizes that Nigeria is a country of Rule of Law. The statutory requirements for a winner in a Presidential election as provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2022 are clear and unambiguous.

“The APC must therefore respect the provisions of the law and allow the judiciary to discharge its duties independently, without threats, intimidation and coercion.

“Contrary to the doomsday claims of the APC and its lawyers, upholding the provisions of the Constitution and the laws at this point will rather promote peace and stability in the polity, deepen our democracy and engender confidence in the Institution of the Judiciary.

“The PDP calls on Nigerians to remain calm, at alert and hopeful in the ability of the Judiciary to dispense justice accordingly” The statement was signed by Hon. Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP.

Labour Party’s Reaction

On its part the Labour Party in a statement by acting National Publicity Secretary Obiora Ifoh, described the statement in the final address as an act of desperation, “even when the matter is still pending in court.”

The party noted that the address ought to be in the exclusive custody of the court, but wondered why it was leaked to the media.

“The Labour Party thinks that the statement was unnecessary since the matter is already before the court, and going ahead to pontificate on it could be construed as interference in the duties and responsibilities of the judiciary.

“The truth of the matter is that there are no sentiments when it comes to matters of law. The law is the law and once the law has stipulated the manner and how a matter must be carried out, it must follow that pattern.

“If the law has stated the requirement that a presidential candidate must meet before he can be declared, there is no shortcut to it.

“Therefore, if the constitution which is the ground norm of the law in Nigeria has stated clearly that you must score at least, 25 per cent in FCT before the president can be declared, anything short of that cannot remedy it.

“It is on this note that we request, that caution must be applied by the camp of the APC in its subtle but very clear pressure believed, is being mounted on the judiciary to see the developments from its lense,” the party stated.

A lot of Nigerians have been commenting on the issue but the APC was embroiled in a leadership crisis and no statement could be obtained from the party. Many Nigerians, however, argue that the reactions to Chief Olanipekun’s statement may have been exaggerated and taken out of context.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
ADMINISTRATOR
PROFILE

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