A former Senator who represented Kogi East Senatorial District, Alex Usman Kadiri has queried the nature of the tribunals set up to consider petitions against the victory of candidates after elections in Nigeria.
According to him, it is difficult for any member of the judiciary to be viewed as impartial regardless of the eventual outcome of petitions brought before them.
Speaking specifically on the outcome of the 2023 presidential election in which the tribunal judges affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu, Kadiri said it would be difficult for the Justices to remove a President who has been sworn in, appointed service chiefs and ministers, established contacts with several world leaders and already in charge of the affairs of the country.
While stating that he has no confidence in the verdict of the tribunal judges, he clarified that though there is no evidence of any bribe, the judges were put in a very complex and difficult situation of having to remove a sitting president or governor.
The former lawmaker in the upper legislative Chamber between 1999 and 2003 added that Nigerians only love pretending because asking the tribunal judges to remove a sitting president with so much power already at his disposal may just be asking too much.
He submitted that it would be better for the courts or tribunals to decide petitions against elections before the political office holders are sworn into office.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, Kadiri said: “The Nigerian justice system is structured in such a way that the cart is put before the horse whereby the winner of an election is sworn in before the election petition cases are determined.”
“I have no confidence in what the tribunals have done, not because I believe in the theory that they were bribed, since I have no proof, but the truth is that the judges were put in a very perplex situation where they now have to judge and remove a sitting President or a sitting governor.
“Like in Kenya where Uhuru Kenyatta can be removed by a tribunal, Nigerians are not that honest.
“Tinubu was declared winner, he was sworn in, and moved into the presidential villa. He has appointed service chiefs, he has nominated the ministers, they have been screened by the Senate and have been sworn in, then you assemble five judges to see whether or not he ought to be president? We are asking for too much; why are we pretending?”
He argued that having been sworn in, the political office holder already has an upper hand in determining the outcome of the tribunal.
As a way out, the former lawmaker advised the National Assembly to amend the Constitution and the Electoral Law in a manner that all election cases must be exhaustively adjudicated before the winner is sworn into office.
“Nobody must be put in a situation where he will have the upper hand in determining the outcome of any election petition tribunal.
“The man you are discussing has already been sworn in and he has taken the oath of office. He has started making contacts with world leaders, he had spoken to Joe Biden, spoken to many western World leaders, spoken to all African leaders and he has even been made chairman of ECOWAS and was threatening to take war to Niger and then you put five judges there that his election was fraudulent and therefore he is going to be removed?
“So, we are expecting too much from these judges. All cases about election should be terminated, all the final matters about the elections should be fully settled before any person is sworn in to any office at any level. That is when we will know whether the judges are independent or not, whether they are corrupt or not.
“The way it is today, whatever they do, if really Tinubu is the true winner and the judges say Tinubu is the winner they would be accused of taking a bribe, no matter what,” Kadiri submitted.
The post Tribunal: You Expect Five Judges To Remove A President That Has Been Sworn In? Ex-Lawmaker Raises Question appeared first on Naija News.
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