The Labour Party has told President Bola Tinubu that his lawful removal by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) would not lead to any chaos as he said in his final address to the court. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that Tinunu’s address amounted to threats to the PEPC , and are subversive, pre-emptive, and a move to intimidate Judiciary.
In two separate statements, the opposition parties took exception to the President’s position.
President Tinubu had allegedly warned the court that interpreting the law as provided for in the constitution on the 25% of lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, could “lead to absurdity, chaos, anarchy and alteration of the very intention of the legislature.”
But the Labour Party was worried that the statement which formed part of his submissions and was contained in his final written address against the Labour Party’s petition pending at the PEPC, and meant to be in the exclusive custody of the court was leaked to the media.
Said the.party, in a statement, by its spokesman, Obiora Ifoh: “We still do not know the reason behind this act of desperation, even when the matter is still pending in court. We will however be careful not to term the action as “Sub-judice”.
“Having said that, 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 percent in FCT before the president can be declared, anything short of that can not 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.
“We insist that no amount of threat from the APC on the judges in the tribunal can change the processes and requirements that the law has put in place. It must be followed and that is the position of the Labour Party.
“We recall very clearly a mild but stern threat during the ‘Democracy Day’ Speech made by the APC-led administration where it stated emphatically that “It has become imperative to state here that the unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.” We noted then that the warning appeared threatening enough as it sounded more totalitarian but today we are confronted with a sterner approach to whipping the judiciary into a pathway, a development if allowed unchallenged will spell doom for the nation.
“We see in that statement a call on the armies of the APC to awaken to their sworn vow to return to the trenches just the way they unleashed terror on our supporters during the February election. The same thugs that perpetrated “absurdity, chaos, and anarchy” and who were used to alter the will of Nigerians are still very present and willing to do the will of their paymasters. Let me assure the APC and their leaders that if there were no “absurdity, chaos, and anarchy” when they forced their way into power, Nigeria will still witness peace when they are eventually evicted from power.”
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asserts that the threat contained in the written address by lawyers to Tinubu and APC is a pre-emptive move to intimidate the judiciary.
It said the statement by the lawyers in the 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.
Mr. Debo Ologunagba, the
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, adds, “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 externalising 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 cautioned that Nigeria is a country of Rule of Law adding that 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.”