Former President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and a legal luminary, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has dismissed the treason allegation levelled against the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Gregory Obi, by Information Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed.
Mohammed had during a tour of news organisations in the United States of America (USA) accused Obi and his running mate in the February 25 presidential election, Datti Baba-Ahmed, of treason for making inciting comments…… CONTINUE READING
But Agbakoba who spoke on Arise News breakfast programme ‘The Morning Show’ monitored in Abuja on Wednesday has unequivocally said he did not see anything wrong Obi has done that has pointed to him committing a treasonable offence, insisting that the Labour Party flagbearer has not committed any offence against the Nigeria state as alleged by Mohammed.
Meanwhile, Agbokoba who spoke on the topic:
“Presidential Election Petitions Accelerated Hearing”, has restated his call for the Presidential Election Petitions to be resolved with one week to lay to rest all argument about the 2023 General Election in the face of the litany of petitions filed by the aggrieved political parties and candidates who feel cheated in the elections.
According to him, the call for the speedy dispensing of 2023 Presidential Election Petitions is based on the facts that the delays in kick-starting the hearing of the petitions by the tribunals is seriously over-heating the polity.
Said he: “It’s clear to the blind and loud to deaf that the polity is over-heating and the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has yet to make a comment on the cases before it to calm down the situation.
I am pained that the tribunal has not made any statement in the face of the polity boiling over.
“I make bold to say that the tribunal can make a determination of a case like eligibility before it within one day while all the cases bordering on the election irregularities and so forth can be dealt with in seven days.
Speaking further he said: “”I can understand why Mr. Obi is agitated and Datti Baba-Ahmed’s outbursts. It’s because the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has yet to look into their complaints and arrangements have been completed to swear-in a new President.
Agbakoba argued that it’s not tidy to Swear-in a new President while litigants are still in the tribunal or court challenging the emergence of the person being Swore-in hence the agitations that have trailed the forthcoming inauguration of the the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate Shettima who have been declared winner by INEC.
Said he: “I cannot understand why Nigeria should not borrow a leaf from other African countries like Kenya and Ghana to conclude election petitions within weeks. Look, the Nigerian Constitution Section 134 has clearly stated thresholds to be met by candidates before a declaration can be made in the presidential election, like how many states and scores including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. So why is it taking time to be determined.
“Also, the Electoral Act 2022 Section 35 has clearly stipulated how a candidate can emerge, so why can’t the tribunal deal with that and get it out of the way before getting to the more technical aspects of proving the allegations of irregularities in the elections”.
The learned Silk therefore recommend that the country’s legal system must be rejigged to confirm with what obtains in other African countries especially in Kenya and Ghana where election petitions tribunal give judgments within one week.
“Our judicial philosophy is not the best in Africa yet Nigeria has more learned judicial personnel than Ghana and Kenya. We need to modernise our judicial system to be in line with the global best practices.
“I sat on the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) for four years and I saw that the place was stuffy and I pushed that the place be shaken up. In fact, Judicial philosophy of Nigeria has to be tweaked.
“Kenya has set judicial precedence in Africa, why would Nigeria try to copy Kenya. Kenya set 14 days maximum and Ghana 30 days to conclude Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal but in Nigeria it is 180 days. Nothing says you can exhaust 180 days before determining the cases, so why can’t we deal with the petitions within one week”, Agbakoba argued.
On Information Minister’s argument in Washington DC that 2023 General Election was the “freest, fairest and most credible elections” ever conducted in Nigeria with BVAS working at 97% during the elections”, Agbokoba described the 2023 elections as the worst in the history of the nation.
According to him, the electoral umpire, INEC did a shoody job and did not meet the expectations of Nigerians and the international community especially the International Observer Groups who monitored the contentious elections.
Said he: “I want to use this opportunity to put in perspective some of my statements and as a former President of NBA and for the fact that there are cases before the tribunals, so I don’t want to be commenting much on the cases before them except the recommendations I have made. But for the arguments of Minister Lai Mohammed that the 2023 General Election was the freest and credible, I will say it was the worst elections in Nigeria because INEC did a shoody job and did not do what it promised Nigerians that BVAS is “the game changer” but was not after all.
He insists that except Nigeria implements the recommendations of Justice Mohammed
Uwais Committee set up by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007, free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria will be a mirage…… CONTINUE READING