'Election Judgment Based On Technicality Is Naked Injustice’ – Goddy Uwazurike

Tribunal’s Judgment Based On Technicality Is ‘Naked Injustice’ – Goddy Uwazurike

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Senior lawyer Chief Goddy Uwazurike has faulted the judgment delivered by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in the petitions against the victory of President Bola Tinubu.

The PEPC sat on Wednesday to rule in the petitions filed by the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) challenging the declaration of Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) a winner of the February 25 election.

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The tribunal first struck out the petition of the APM for “lack of merit.”

Ruling on Peter Obi’s petition, the five-man panel of justices led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, held that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of substantial noncompliance with the Electoral Act by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The tribunal also ruled that Obi and his party could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the election was substantially marred by irregularities, as a ground for nullification of Tinubu’s election.

Reacting to the judgment, Chief Uwazurike, the President of the Cultural Credibility Group, said that for the tribunal to rely on technicality in analysing the petitions and making its decisions, it failed to deal with the question of who won the election.

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He further asserted that the tribunal also failed to deal with the issue of verifying the results with which Tinubu was declared the winner.

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In a statement made available to Prime Business Africa, the senior lawyer said the tribunal equally failed to realise that the judiciary “was on trial in the court of the people.”

“The judgment today showed that Justice is lying prostrate while technicality stood triumphant over it. Indeed, the PEPT relied on technicality in analysing the trial including the evidence of the witnesses.”

“To be blunt, the Tribunal failed to realize that it (judiciary) was on trial in the court of the people. The people expected that the verification of the scores will be a primary duty of the Tribunal,” Uwazurike stated.

According to him, the judiciary, the world over, does not rely on technicality but on “substantial justice,” that the people understand.

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He argued that it was an “unfair trial” for the tribunal to rule that the petitioners failed to prove their case with substantial evidence when INEC deliberately failed to produce documents requested to enable them to prove their case.

“INEC bluntly refused to produce the documents used in the election and the Tribunal did nothing. This amounted to an unfair trial because the defense decided the evidence that would be available, notwithstanding the notice to produce served on it and the reassurance of the chair that it would comply.

“In the end, the Tribunal ruled that the petitioner failed to prove his case. This Tribunal failed to respond to the question of WHO WON?

“Those who benefit from injustice see nothing wrong in the system.

“World over, the judiciary does not rely on technicality. It relies on substantial justice, on what the people understand.

“Those who were beaten up during the election; those who were denied the right to vote; those who witnessed the mutilation of results are still wondering what happened.

“Election judgment based on technicality is naked injustice,” he stated.

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