Ahead of Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) ruling on Wednesday, former Deputy National chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Leader of the party in Lagos State, Chief Olabode George, has declared that it is not the business of judges to declare a winner or loser, but order a fresh election for the people to choose their leader in a free and fair contest if they are not satisfied with the process.
George, who spoke at an interactive session with journalists in Lagos on Monday, maintained that “it’s not the business of the Lordships at the Appeal Court to declare a winner or loser, but to determine if the election was properly conducted or not”.
He, however, said that once it is discovered that the election failed integrity test, there should be a fresh election.
Drawing examples from Kenya presidential election petition tribunal that ordered a fresh election, George said democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
He explained that in a situation whereby it is the judiciary that will pronounce the winner, it is no longer democracy.
Continuing he said, “That will be government of the judiciary and for the Judiciary and by the Judiciary.”
The elderstateman opined that since 1964, there have been issues with election in Nigeria whereby the judiciary had to step in to decide who wins.
According to him, “the most contentious matter in Nigeria today is the judiciary. The judiciary is one of the pillars of democracy. Is it right for the judiciary to appoint or tell us you won or lost? I have looked at it from the Alhaji Shehu Shagari era. It has been the government of the judiciary for the judiciary and by the judiciary. In other words, they selected the winner and not the will of the people. The reasonable thing to do is to send INEC back to go and conduct a fresh election. That is the sensible thing to do, not to declare a winner. If it is going to be one million times, so be it. This is not a libel case or land matter where you determine the winner or loser. It is not only here, it happened in Kenya. They had to conduct fresh election. That’s why there is peace there now. We did it before. Have you forgotten 12 two-thirds? Where did that lead us? I dont know what they would declare on Wednesday. If the process is not healthy, send it back to the people to do it again.
“Nigeria is about 63 years old now. All eyes are on us. Look at what is happening in little Francophone countries in Africa. What they are doing is liberating themselves. We don’t have any business with their liberation. We want to be giant of Africa. Look at BRICS today, South Africa is there. Where is Nigeria?
“We fought for South Africa during the apartheid. We fought in Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Where does that lead us?” He queried.
George, who said his party failed because it jettisoned the zoning system, which was put in place in 1999, warned the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, to be humble in his new office.
He counselled Wike that there’s no need for “unnecessary bragging” since the tribunal is yet to conclude its sitting.