April 22, 2024

What To Expect As Election Petition Tribunal Begins Monday | Sunday Politics



Published June 11, 2023, 10:20 p.m. by Naomi Charles


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now to the big day tomorrow the

president of the court of appeal Justice

Monica Duncan Manson is expected to

formally unveil members of the

presidential election petition tribunal

they'll adjudicate on all petitions

filed against the Declaration of Senator

balatin Abu as a winner of the 2023

presidential elections at all of five

petitions well four but five were filed

originally against the victory of a

president-elect senator Bola tinubu in

that election so let's run you through

uh some of them or the action Alliance I

was the first to petition the

Declaration of inec a faction of the

party actually filed a lawsuit based its

argument on the premise that inec failed

to upload the name of its authentic

presidential candidate as Solomon David

organic Juan to its portal for the

presidential poll ironically it's a case

of first in first out as the action

Alliance has failed to withdraw that

case that is expected to be decided on

uh tomorrow so we can strike that out

effectively so foreleft the next is the

actual people's party uh petition the

tribunal the kiss has of course these

people uh the APC and eineck as a

respondent then of course the labor

party the labor party has its petition

and Mr Peter will be of course with inec

senator balat in the book Hashim shatima

his voice and the APC as the respondents

the third one is that of Allied people's

movement the APM and it has those lists

inec ABC

kashim shatima and ads uh you might

remember the placeholder conversation

yeah that's also in this case and

finally the people's Democratic party

PDP and atiku abubakar again as inec

bolatinubu and the APC as respondents in

that very case

so it's built to be perhaps the biggest

election petition this country has seen

it's building up to that one so let's

help you understand what will be playing

out in the next few weeks or months

depending on how it goes we have joining

us in the studio two Hefty guests really

I'm literally facing a panel right here

in the studio uh Mr coyote adilola is

the senior advocate of Nigeria it's

right here in our Lego studio and uh

it's

gentlemen thank you for joining us to be

here as I said I feel like I'm in front

of a panel so um I'm just going to

listen a lot and I'm sure a lot of

Nigerians also want to listen and

understand so let's start with your

thoughts on this Voyage we're about to

Embark upon what does this mean for

Nigeria and democracy I'll begin with

Jim study Lola

um let's let's put it this way we have a

situation where

members of the lecturer or the lecturers

are very anxious anxious about what the

outcome of election petitions will be

like

a lot of people just know what the

Dynamics of election partitions are like

they don't know what the rules are but I

can tell you that we are in

for a period which is definite

the Constitution says you have a maximum

of 180 days within which the petition

must be heard and judgments delivered

and 180 days begins to run from the date

the petition is filed

so

having this we have once we begin to

discard how many days the the

respondents of Hearts to further

responses then we have of the

pre-hearing session which will commence

tomorrow and you haven't come a period

will go on for a period about 14 days

regarding maybe lectural interlocutory

issues how witnesses will be lined up

and have taken if there are documents

which they want to look at and determine

whether there are issues concerning them

they want to then have timelines because

each party will be given the same amount

of time in which to prepare their cases

or to present their cases so this is

what members of the public should know

would happen so what it is the maximum

it is possible that this whole process

will go on for less than 180 days but

the chances are very slim because once

the the witnesses have been taking the

evidence taken the cross-examinations

are taken by the respective Council

including inec then we're going to have

the council representing the parties

filing a brief of the argument

then the election cabinet itself

requires ample time to look at these

evidence a lot of

the bundles of papers before them the

oral evidence given by the witnesses

before that they decide what the

decision should be so this is in a

nutshell what we should expect from

tomorrow so when you say we're going to

have fireworks from Tomorrow trust me

we're gonna have fire where the

fireworks are on yes because the parties

also have preliminary objections which

have been filed now preloading

objections will be taken along with a

substantive matters because we don't

have predominantly determined first and

then the election predictions determined

after that so we're going to have those

things which are complained about on the

clear objections taken alongside the

election patient itself and then it's a

whole lot of work and people should not

be on Dual anxious what I cannot show

you of one thing well a decision is

finally taken the judges will give

reasons for their decisions so that is

what people should look at at the end of

the day you've taken us through I mean

it's quite lengthy for some of us that

are not lawyers maybe we have gotten

lost in in some way but of course it

gives an insight as to what to expect

and for a lot of Nigerians because this

is for Nigerians we don't know if it

will be televised yet but at least we

can prepare the minds of Nigerians for

the bits and pieces that will come out I

mean sargola if you can help Nigerians

understand just how big a deal

or otherwise I don't know how you are

seeing it well it's a big deal because

any time a pressurization result is

challenged

it's always a big deal because people

are anxious a lot of people are under

the mistake impression as well cases are

conducted

this is one of the special cases we are

the cultural pain is a court of four

systems ordinarily cut-off rapid does

not listen to evidence it only takes a

pill from case from the Icon or cut my

shower but in this case

it is with the one that is not a list of

the evidence by the parties and come to

the conclusion so it's going to be it

depends

this is a case that is more or less

driven by the petitioner it is what the

petitioner is the one that has come to

court whether it's a labor party whether

it's PDP whether I say peer they are the

one that will determine how quickly

because the issues result I have

listened to some very similar lawyers

saying that oh this pattern can be

concluded before May 29 which is just

about two weeks away I can assure you

let us forget about that that is not

going to happen unless the only way

those matters can be concluded before

that time you see the petitioners will

draw their petition and the matter is

struck us so what if the justices work

at

um unprecedented speed is that is it

it's not possible because as the London

is said they are procedures

you have printer objections you are

going to take evidence it is election

petition

is if it's only one issue

for example the issue of whether you're

required to score 25 percent of Abuja

that one does not require connected

that's just issue of law if that is the

only issue perhaps it can be concluded

you can finish presenting your case

this week

but the judges will still have to

consider

judgments

and that is a matter for the judge it

depends on the pressure of work they are

because we are we are talking about four

five petitions one may likely be

withdrawn tomorrow

the issue really is that it takes time

to undo to listen to all the parties no

matter there's nothing like a simple

case because we have the the Supreme

Court has really ruled some years ago

that each when you will allege fraud in

an election petition you must prove it

beyond all reasonable doubt you cannot

take a samples and so in Lagos yeah we

have about 13 about 13 000 police yes

you must call witnesses

pulling units and that's a huge burden

that's a huge burden so if you have a

thousand Witnesses you'll remember even

you still need to stand up and mention

their name and see that

you know how long that one will take so

that's why I say is the petitioner that

will determine how long this will take

so when we are talking about the process

people should not date

too excited at this stage because the

case even tomorrow when you say

fireworks

it will just be primarily

tomorrow will just be a sort of

record keeping how do we proceed how are

we going to do it what are we which one

are we taking first which because you

can't you have four or five petitions by

the same tribal now

definitely you can't find God they're

not going to be Consolidated but they

want to make an impression the lawyers

want to make a first impression really

at beginning of a case we are not

nobody's making any speech tomorrow

the only issue will be okay you have

another objection

the judges the tribunal member myself

likely that you are going to hear

everything together with the with the

main petition so let us keep that one I

thought there was a pre-hearing and this

is the main hearing that is coming up

tomorrow yes

about all we want time for us to fight

people and that has been concrete that

has been concluded right but now the the

the penal objection itself is part of

the main yeah because we are challenging

the hearing of the case itself

likely as I said it will be taken

together with the main the main case so

you have to call witnesses unless you

see if you say you're not calling

Witnesses you always say no on law that

is the only one that can be first but if

you are going to alleged fraud you must

call witnesses you must prove it beyond

all this neighborhoods

I mean just thinking about that alone

it's it's huge but Mr dilola what do we

know from history about tribunals really

um especially at this level of central

tribunals of turn governorship elections

we've seen them up turn you know

legislative elections but what does

history tell us really about tribunal at

this stage

what are the possibilities

let me go far back I recall that when

we had the 1979 elections

um it was the first time I had the

opportunity of voting

we had

the issue of the two two thirds

that was a very technical point

so technical points may also arise here

that we do not anticipate

aside from that

the council

representing these parties

without a doubt in my mind are very well

qualified people experiencing uh

election petitions

and so everyone must dig deeper

and try to unravel something which is

peculiar

it's not going to be run of the meal so

like I said in the days when we had our

love as a guy re-election petitions

of course a lot of people who were the

European supporters expected that we're

going to have the runoff it didn't

happen

so I'm not going to anticipate anything

here because I do not know what the

council are going to remember the

council representative the respective

parties are considering

but if you go beyond that and then we

talk about even the recent elections

um the current the current president was

a participant in four elections before

he became president

and on each occasion

he felt he had done his bits he felt he

had all the all the votes that he needed

but he didn't become president

the election prediction tribunal will

listen to evidence we look at also

documentary evidence and that's a lot

they've got a lot of documentary

evidence to consider

and when that happens

the outcome will be based upon the

evidence of the

the oral evidence and documentary

evidence colleague has just said

the petition the petition presented

before them supported by the evidence

can only

be limited to the amount of time given

to them if we have for example

Witnesses from 174

000 polling units that we had we would

never finish

so election petitions require a lot of

tax require a lot of resources on the

part of the council but most importantly

with a presidential election let's let's

be frank here it's a it's an uphill task

up your test because for you to

demonstrate that the winner has not won

you must you must prove one of three

things one

that's he wasn't qualified to even

contest

so like he didn't win the majority of

the votes or thirdly that's the

um the the Electoral guidelines were not

substantially complied with and how to

demonstrate that so over time that is

what we have heard it is easier we are

discussing or we are talking about

election petitions at the governorship

level where you're talking about if a

small state

but when is the presidential election

I'm going to

watch everything going on and I tell you

for free that I'm going to be seeing

everything that's going on because I

want to see what every council is going

to be putting on the table for us to see

which is peculiar to what we have seen

on the past or more than anything else

like related colleague has said

Patron has presented will determine more

than anything else

I wonder if you want to add to that

especially what history tells us but you

made a point about you'll follow up

would you want it to be televised I

don't know would you want to be

televised

I do not think we should reduce the

court process to a television spectacle

the

our courts are rather conservatives

issue of

of

televising or even allowing the use of

your own State Photography in court it's

only exceptional circumstance

and

in my opinion the lawyers without due

respect to them some of them will start

playing to the galleries when they have

camera the issues perhaps we may wait

until the Judgment that if the Judgment

can be televised but when it comes to

the young drum of presenting you

evidence is a very it can be very boring

for those of us who

very little time that is exciting a lot

of times these things we have gone

through so many times we are calling

Witnesses some of them

may not be unavailable some of them may

be sick some of them may collapse in the

middle of the theory of Revenue those

are not the kind of things we want to

see I I think the Nigerians especially

people who have called for it might not

just mine I don't know if you agree with

him well

um

I differ for these reasons

first of all

the code of conduct tribunal if you

recall

was televised to an extent

when the former Chief just of Nigeria

was was you know appeared before them it

was televised

then we also have the puta partner which

wasn't exactly a cut you know as such it

was still what it might just do is it

might give

a citizens who

think that they just want to see exactly

what is going on

an opportunity to observe the

proceedings maybe just maybe at the end

of it all it might give that opportunity

well at this Justice was served my given

confidence it might be a question

because of perception

and I think that's that in the

institution which we are

I think a lot of people want to be

convinced that well if my candidate

didn't win at least let me see that

justice has been served

yeah clearly you don't agree with that

but let's talk about the point you made

about this being a very arduous task and

I had to go through that tautology just

to show that it's it's a huge one uh

maybe what is now is not what should be

and I think that's a conversation or a

debate that will begin we're beginning

to see now people saying well that

duration doesn't quite work especially

because it will be difficult uh what to

obtain election of a president that is

sitting it has never been done before in

that sense uh is now the time for that

conversation is is now really a time to

have that debate maybe that can help

also in helping people accept the

process well I would rather say

I'm looking forward to the time when

shall learn to lessons will not be a

matter for the course

right now the

election petitions is really destroying

the Integrity of the courts and the time

available for other litigans

we are spending too much time

[Music]

on Election petitions when when you look

at the issue of limiting the time

we've had elections have turned

before under the old electoral law three

years after somebody has served as

Governor that's one that concerns the

current presidential candidate of labor

party yes when he was governor yes so

the problem people that's why people can

vast that we should limit

time when elections petitions are hard

so that somebody will not take on the

advantage of being

a fraud on the seat so the argument cut

both ways when you look at the time

limit by the time so the issue really is

that election petitions say we call it

too generous it's a special form of

litigation it's not some it's not the

ordinary one what a lot of things that

go on there that are not normally

present in the normal cost system so

what we need to do really is a situation

where we can clean up our Acts that

people will be more willing to accept

election results as declared rather than

everybody going to court for everyday to

in fraction because I've seen some of

the people that have gone to court and I

said

what is the hope somebody's we have

people who are number 10 or number 12

coming to court to challenge to open the

results of violation and I said yeah so

we we have to change the partitions

really how to change their mindset

and then we also do not want decision

where somebody just said let me just win

at whatever cost since the likelihood of

this

exactly but you know uh the politicians

will say the people's mandate the people

people give me this money it was stolen

from me so I need to get it back but

even if it were to be decided before May

29th there's still another level of

appeal the Supreme Court right so

does it still make I mean they can go to

the Supreme Court and that might take a

longer time so saying it should be done

before May the 29th Is it feasible

because there's still another level the

Supreme Court it's not visible clearly

so

um

to start with if anyone wants ideas to

finish with the position uh petitions

before the 29th that means those who

further petitions shouldn't have

exhausted 21 decent fighting

the publisher filed two days after the

results were announced

then the other particular then we said

Academy told well because the princetona

filed within two days

file your response with the introduce as

well but remember there was that

controversy about the Beavers inspecting

the beavers and all of that which they

said well took them extra time they had

to even go to court on that particular

that's good so there we go so that was

not their fault that was not the fault

of the respondent

so who's going to pay for that

so we're not we shouldn't be in a rush

but one thing I can tell you is

if at the end of the day the decision

goes this way or that way it gives us an

opportunity to read

view the Electoral act again that

document should be a dynamic one and all

an organic document right until when we

finally get it right otherwise we should

be ready to move back the date of the

primaries and move back the date of the

election so that by the time we have

elections for example in September by

the time we had done then we're ready

for May 29th very interesting

proposition but final words just one

sentence from both of you how you expect

Nigerians to handle this and the

political players how you expect them to

conduct themselves outside of a court

outside what you said yes thank you my

My Pito

is that they should invest that trust in

the Judiciary that they are working

under extreme conditions and they should

trust the system you cannot where you go

to court somebody is going to lose

that is just it so whoever loose should

accept it if they want to appear of

course they have a right to do so but

people should not start in putting other

motives behind the Judgment right well

um I'll agree with my colleague but I

just add that everyone should begin to

realize that we cannot

because elections have not gone our way

someone who's someone's going to win at

the end of the day when with the

election traveler finishes it might just

be the winner today at the presenter the

president-elect who will be told the oil

well you haven't won so get up from the

seat it might be the one who has come

second to have it or whatever this

decision is just like my little friend

has just said let us accept the result

and then we have a duty to speak to

those who represent to the National

Assembly to see how some of these things

can be amended to ensure that we don't

have we have less room for controversy

and it's not rocket science it isn't

rocket science oh well I definitely

enjoyed this session it makes me feel

like studying law but maybe too late in

the day I like to thank you so much

as well as Mr dealer also seen advocate

of Nigeria thank you so much for your

time

foreign

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