The Labour Party has expressed deep concern over recent developments in Nigeria, particularly in light of Wednesday’s anticipated ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
In a statement released by Obiora Ifoh, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, the Labour Party highlighted several troubling occurrences that have raised questions about the sanctity of the judiciary and the integrity of the electoral process.
According to the Obiora, the “unguarded statement” made by former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Mary Odili, during a colloquium event in Abuja last week has not only raised eyebrows but also seen as undermining the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.
The statement also added that the boasting of certain individuals, including serving ministers and notable legislators, about the anticipated outcome of the ruling, has raised concerns about the fairness of the process.
The Labour Party expressed its disappointment in the behavior of those who, by virtue of their positions, should uphold the sanctity of the judiciary but have instead made preemptive statements that could influence the outcome of the PEPC ruling.
“When those who should know the importance of the sanctity of the judiciary descend to the arena of abusing it with their preemptive utterances just to show loyalty and support to their interests, we as a party see this as unfortunate and dangerous to our democratic journey as a nation,” Obiora said.
Furthermore, the party noted the unusual change in the PEPC’s stance on live television coverage. While the court initially refused live television coverage of the petition hearings, it is now reportedly eager to broadcast the judgment live. The Labour Party questioned what had transpired between the hearing period and the delivery of the judgment to prompt this change in policy.
“What is it that has happened between the hearing period and the delivery of the judgment that the live coverage which they claimed was a policy issue changed suddenly at the delivery point?” he queried.
The statement also warned against attempts to orchestrate problems and attribute them to the opposition, emphasising that in a democracy, people have the right to demonstrate, and it is the duty of state security agents to protect both demonstrators and non-demonstrators.
“We are aware of the efforts of the agents of the state to orchestrate problems and blame them on the political opposition. We wish to emphasise that it is the right of the people in a democracy to demonstrate and the obligation of state security agents to protect the demonstrators and those not demonstrating,” Obiora said.
Labour Party called on Nigerians to remain calm and peaceful, abide by the rule of law, and understand that the matter has not reached its final conclusion. The party stressed the importance of due process and the rule of law in building a stronger and more democratic Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, we implore Nigerians to remain calm and peaceful, abide by the rule of law, and understand that this matter has not reached its logical and final conclusion.”
“Our concern as a critical stakeholder in Nigeria’s project especially the democratic evolution is that what is being destroyed with all these clever by half playing on people’s intelligence is Nigeria as a nation not necessarily an individual.
“Anybody who loves this country should appreciate the importance of due process and the rule of law because, without it, this country is going nowhere.”