By the unprecedented unrecorded telecast of the bringing by the Presidential Election Request Tribunal, of the judgement in the amalgamate requests of General Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, respectively of the ANPP and AC, against the election of President Umar Genus Musa Yar' Adua, on Tuesday 26th of February 2008, and the extended coverage of the judgement in the black and white media, the general populace have been able to grip the inside information of the judgment.
However, from a lawsuit reappraisal angle, it may be too early to make a thorough "finding by finding, and retention by holding" analysis of the judgment. This is because the judgement (both the Pb and concurring) is not yet available in the law studies for a careful and punctilious digestion. All the same, given what is known of the judgment, from the broadcast and black and white mass media report, it is safe to make its concise review, pending a more than luxuriant reappraisal when the judgement is published in the law reports.
Overall, it is our considered position that the judgement of the Court of Appeal, acting as the Tribunal, as learned as it certainly is, and as obvious as the industry that went into its readying is, is an unfortunate reversal of the modest advancement that have been recorded in recent clip in election request lawsuits under Nigerian law.
The judgement is dogmatically legalistic. It merely followed in the footfalls of the Awolowo volt Shagari, Falae volt Obasanjo and Buhari volt Obasanjo precedents, without heeding the age long adjudicative warning that in the application of judicial lawsuits in point and rules of law, facts of cases, which are distinguishable, should not be treated as one and the same. In Buhari volt Obasanjo( 2005), 13 NWLR. Pt. 941, 1 at Pp 308-309, parities G-C; 311,and paras. D-E, the Supreme Court had held that "an order of cancellation or nullification of the Presidential election should not be made by a tribunal or court without clear, positive believable and overpowering grounds led to the consequence that the full election was totally flawed nationwide; and that the behavior of the election was in breach of major and very cardinal commissariat of the Electoral Act. In the blink of an eye case, although the plaintiffs in error sought the scene aside of the full election on the evidence inter alia of violence, bullying and breach as of the Electoral Act, they failed to demo who was responsible for the force and intimidation, or how the alleged breach as of the Electoral Act affected the full consequence of the election, including the result accredited to the 1st Appellant"
The Tribunal, in our view, did no more than than than to throw fast to that decision, even when the fortune were different, and the law-breaking of fraud in the contested 2007 election was more grievously blatant. The judgement unsympathetically denies the painful world of our corporate experience during the behavior of the April 14, 2007 Presidential Election. Our intuition is that the Court took a decision, in line with existing precedents, not to invalidate the consequence of the Presidential Election; and having taken that decision, it made certain that the respective pieces of grounds of corrupt patterns in the election and that of non-compliance with the commissariat of the Electoral Act, 2006, that were led at the trial of the petitions, were roundly rejected or dismissed as deficient to upturn the consequence of the election. If we were right in our suspicion, then the Tribunal, with profound regard to their Lordships, did not make right by the Nigerian people.
If, in the thought of the Tribunal, it is, contextually, unwise, unrealistic and inconvenient to invalidate the consequence of the election, the Court should have got got said so in apparent language, after accepting, as proved, believable and unimpeachable evidence that were led at the trial to demo that the election was marred by fraud and irregularities.
The Court could have rationalized a refusal to invalidate the consequence on the grounds of the paramount necessity to exert judicial powerfulnesses judiciously, of the bounding duty of the bench to stabilise the polity, and of the important function of the bench in the saving of law and order, which a nullification of the consequence of the election might undermine.
The Court could have got reasoned that upturning the consequence of the election might jeopardize national security and endanger democratic administration itself. The Court could even have got added that it had no case in point to follow, either in Federal Republic Of Nigeria or in the remainder of the Commonwealth, in voiding the all of import consequence of the presidential election; and that it was not prepared to make one. If the Court had taken this line of approach, it would have got been subjected to rough unfavorable judgment for displaying a deficiency of courage, when it ought to distribute justness without fearfulness or favour, affectionateness or sick will.
However, in our low opinion, it is better for a bench to be accused of exhibiting rational and circumspective timidness in dealing with a hyper-sensitive matter of a presidential election revocation in a newcomer democracy, such as as ours, than for it to be accused of hypocrisy.
There is a general agreement of local and international sentiments that the April 2007 Elections in Federal Republic Of Federal Republic Of Nigeria were the worst conducted elections since Nigeria returned to civil regulation in 1999. Local and foreign election monitoring devices testified to this fact in their vituperative reports. The behavior of the elections was said not to be in consonant rhyme with regional standards, allow alone international standards. The mass media reflected this fact.
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