Supreme Court verdict: Kudos, knocks, shockwaves over Tinubu’s victory

cross section of Nigerians – leaders of ethnic nationalities, religious leaders, lawyers and other groups have expressed mixed feelings over Thursday’s Supreme Court judgment which declared President Bola Tinubu winner of the election against the Presidential candidates of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi respectively.

While some have described the ruling as in order, some others insist it was a mere judgement devoid of justice.

Executive Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Northern Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Elder Sunday Oibe said he was troubled by the outcome of the judgment regarding the precedent being set before the younger generation and the international communities.

Said he: “I am troubled by the example we are setting for the younger generation and the country image before international communities. It’s not about the winner or loser but where is our ethical and morality? What confidence do the electorate have in future elections wherein the electoral body wouldn’t obey its own guidelines. Will Nigerians ever believe or have confidence in the country’s judiciary for upholding and approving outright deviation from the guidelines set up by INEC which made many young people to come out to vote for the first time as never before? Where there are moral questions, do we approve waving such aside? What is the mood of the nation since the judicial pronouncement by the apex court? Those of us closer to the grassroots people by the privilege of the position of service we occupied, we are troubled by the expression of feelings concerning this country and its leadership by the populace.

“The acceptance of the outcome of the judgement can be explained by the mood of the nation. Whenever and wherever justice is done, you can see by expression of the citizenry. My appeal to those who have given up on this nation should please, rethink and think again. My message to those in the three arms of government, they should be reminded that every human being has two names, namely:1. The name given to him or her by the parents and the,2. The second is the one giving to the individual by themselves ie, an honest man/woman,  a corrupt judicial, politicians, a lazy teacher, a good person, etc. The greatness of a country can be measured by the degree of how forthright the leaders are, how truthful are we to obedient to the laws of our land? These are my thoughts.

“The greatness of this country will remain just a dream unless we’re ready to do the right thing. A video clip in circulation where those close to Mr president went to congratulate him and Mr president was heard telling them that their job is secured. This is so disappointing. Is it all about job security as opposed to doing the right thing? What about the image of the country?”

Time for Nigerians to come together – Shehu Sani

Senator Shehu Sani is the President of the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria (CRCN). He also represented Kaduna Central in the 8th Senate. He said:  “The day the Supreme Court delivered judgment on the outcome of the 2023 presidential election is an important day in the history of our country. Democracy is an opportunity for people to express their rights, freedom and also to preside over their affairs. National anthem and national flag are not enough to bring us together. There must be justice and equity and freedom and liberty. The Supreme Court has given the verdict.

“The opposition should take a lesson from what happened at the Supreme Court and unite for the battle of 2027 and allow peace to reign in the country. We have challenges, our country is facing economic and security challenges. The country must first exist before you oppose. This is the time for Nigerians to come together for the interest of the nation. The winner should extend hands of friendship to the losers. And the losers should have the larger interest of the country at heart.”

Winners, losers should come together – Anthony Sani

Anthony Sani, former Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum noted: “Our multiparty democracy allows the aggrieved to approach the courts or tribunal with their concerns. The aggrieved dutifully approached the courts which sat and passed their judgement in favour of President Bola Tinubu. It was President Abraham Lincoln who said on his inauguration that every citizen has the right to elect whom he thinks is the best for the country. But when the results are announced, all the citizens are expected to come together and unleash their synergistic potential against collective challenges until next rounds of elections when they would go back to the trenches.  “It is against that backdrop that I call on the aggrieved to be equanimous in defeat and on President Bola Tinubu to be magnanimous in victory. This is because no country thrives on the victory of its faction but on ultimate reconciliation. Victory and defeat are never final.”

It’s a subversion of justice – INC

For the Igbo National Council (INC), the Supreme Court judgment is subversion of justice.

President of INC, Chilos Godsent said the judgement has justified that justice is difficult to obtain in Nigeria. “The ruling has raised a lot questions on the future of Nigeria with regard to getting justice in electoral matters that concerns the ruling party.

“After critical analysis of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, the Igbo National Council INC is of the view that the ruling was a subversion of justice more especially as it borders on the issue of securing 25 per cent in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja and the issue of perjury, among others. INC is of the school of thought that the Supreme Court has betrayed Nigerians, Africa and the world at Large.

“The Supreme Court ruling will continue to negatively hunt Nigeria until the 1999 Constitution is thrown away and a new peoples Constitution is written for Nigeria.”

A monumental judgement

– Afenifere

Pan-Yoruba organization, Afenifere commended the judgement and noted that the appex court’s affirmation of the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) “further enhanced the image of the judiciary positively”. The organization said the judgements also answered some pertinent questions on Nigeria’s electoral laws, particularly the position of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the position of the law in regard to the deadline for filing papers relating to elections. Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Famuyide, in a statement signed on his behalf by the National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said the dismissal of the petitions by Atiku Abubakar and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) as well as the Supreme Court further enhanced the image of the judiciary positively. He charged Tinubu to see the conclusion of the petitions against his election as an opportunity to redouble efforts on implementing the noble ideas contained in his Renewed Hope Agenda so as to make life more abundant for Nigerians.

The statement expressed worry that there are still many challenges being experienced in the country. The statement read in part: “It is a matter of concern that insecurity is still being experienced. This can be seen in the upsurge in banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen and attacks on farmers, cultism and even terrorism.

“To put all these under control, the aspects of the law regarding policing in Nigeria must be reviewed. At the moment, the extant law centralises the Nigerian Police. Doctrine of necessity should be invoked to allow states and local government areas to establish police services. Indigenes or residents of the given area should make up the personnel of the police services at state and local government levels.

Judgement raises more constitutional questions – MBF.

President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus said that the Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria and that its judgement is binding on all, irrespective of their feelings. He said: “The Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria and the judgement is binding on all, whether you like it or not. The judgement has however raised several constitutional questions. That’s all I want to say about that.”

Judgement, not justice, was dispensed – Igbo lawyers.

Igbo Lawyers Association (ILA) said the Supreme Court judgement has further denied the Southeast region of their hard-won victory at the February 25 election. As lawyers, the group said its members accepted the judgement but feel disturbed that what was dispensed was judgement and not justice.

ILA Coordinator, Victor Onweremadu said: “We had thought that the court would deliver justice but what had transpired was a total denial of justice on the man that fought very hard to win.  “The Supreme Court has decided, so there’s nothing else we can do than to accept. It delivered judgement and not justice.”

We support judgement – YCE

Secretary-General, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Mr. Oladipo Oyewole, said the organization was in support of the Supreme Court judgment. In an interview with Saturday Sun, he noted: “The victory is not just for President Tinubu, but for the entire state of Nigeria and all Nigerians. It is a testament to the progress and strength of our nation.

“Nigeria, as a nation, has faced numerous challenges over the years. However, it is through unity and a collective effort that we can overcome these challenges and move our great country forward. We must all come together as one, regardless of our political affiliations or ethnic backgrounds, to work towards the betterment of Nigeria.  “Just as an American wake up every morning and says, “God bless America,” we too must speak good things into existence for our beloved nation. Let us proclaim that Nigeria shall be great, and through our positive affirmations and actions, it will become a reality.

“I want my fellow Nigerians to know that in a matter of months to come, we will begin to experience the fruits of our collective efforts. Our economy will improve, our infrastructure will be revitalized, and our people will enjoy the benefits of good governance. It is a new dawn for Nigeria, and we must embrace this moment with hope and determination. “So, I call upon all Nigerians to actively participate in the progress and development of our nation. Let us support President Bola Tinubu as he leads us towards a brighter future. Let us put aside our differences and focus on what unites us – the love for our homeland, Nigeria.”

Judgement not unexpected – Lawyers

Former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Dave Ajetomobi said: “The Court of appeal has covered all the necessary grounds in its judgment which was very comprehensive. The Apex Court didn’t have to start fresh analysis of the appeal. The case has failed since its days at the lower court, it was poorly constructed by the counsel at the lower court hence could not be corrected on appeal.”

Right activist and lawyer, Gideon Okebu said: “The decision of the Supreme Court on the issue of fresh evidence proffered by PDP was not  unexpected. I had earlier opined on the difficulties of getting in fresh evidence at that stage of the proceedings.

“On the whole, my opinion on the Judgment of the Supreme Court can aptly be captured by the dictum of Justice Robert Jackson of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS), in his concurring opinion in Brown v. Allen, 334 U.S. 443 (1953) where the learned Jurist quipped as follows: “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final”.  “Consequently, even if the Supreme Court of Nigeria erred on any issue in the Judgment, the Petitioners (PDP & LP) being ardent believers in the due process of law, are bound to sheathe their swords, lick their wounds and be harbingers of the change they clamour for. Being President is not the sole avenue of being a change-maker.” Another right activist and lawyer, Kabiru Akingbolu said the judgment was another  landmark in judicial jurisprudence , noting that the verdict would go a long way in developing Nigeria’s electoral law.

He commended the apex court for doing justice to the case and also not allowing its name to be dragged in the mud.

In spite of reservations, we must accept verdict – Rafsanjani ED, CISLAC

Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre and Head of Transparency International Nigeria, Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani urged all parties to accept the verdict in spite of reservations they might have against the ruling.

“It is also very important for Nigerians to insist on genuine reforms in the electoral system as well as the judiciary. It must be noted that reforms that comprehensively seek to regulate the actions of political actors are critical in this time. The 2023 election exposed how much the political class can subvert electoral laws to their selfish ends. Citizens must now insist on reforms that checkmate unruly behaviors of the politicians ahead of subsequent elections in the country. It is also critical for President Tinubu to understand the importance of winning over citizens by ensuring his support for genuine electoral reforms and genuine judicial reforms in Nigeria.

President Tinubu must as a matter of urgency put in place the right machinery to use the Supreme Court victory to address the increasing high cost of living in Nigeria.  largely occasioned by policies introduced since inception of his administration. His victory will remain a personal one to him except it bears upon good governance to the general citizenry. It will have little meaning to Nigerians. Worryingly, leaders and members of the ruling political party have engaged in issuing provocative statements against the opposition parties and their candidates. This is not democratic. The President must as a matter of urgency caution his party members to refrain from such utterances.


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