By Gbenga Akinmoyo
I am not one to bypass protocol; to advocate against breach of constitutional provisions; or to go around inciting people to deliberately break the law, but there are laid down Electoral Laws that govern the conduct of Elections and also there are provisions within the Law that allow an aggrieved party to challenge a result when it has been announced by the umpire, INEC.
In a law-abiding society we must follow the Law, no matter how much the declared results may seem distasteful or unacceptable. Since 1999, there have been several challenges, with the exception in 2015 when President Jonathan in all humility made the famous phone call at 5.05 p.m. to congratulate Muhammadu Buhari and subsequently there was no challenge in the Election Tribunals or Courts.
Now that the contentious court cases brought by various parties/groups attempting to stop the inauguration of the President-Elect on 29 May 2023 have been resolved by the Supreme Court, I hope that the dust has settled and all Nigerians can come to terms with moving the country forward under the helmsmanship of the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR and the Vice-President-Elect, Senator Kassim Shettima GCON.
For purposes of putting the record straight, the number of days it has previously taken to resolve matters in presidential election tribunal and the courts ranges from 51 days to 834 days. Therefore, it would be unreasonable for anybody to expect that we should put the nation’s progress on hold; not even for the 240 days the current legal period permitted by law.
I totally understand the hue and cry from various quarters that it would be ideal to resolve all the legal disputes before inauguration takes place, but for that to happen it means that the Constitution and Electoral Laws must be amended in such a way that General Elections are concluded more than 240 days (approximately eight months), before the hand-over date which is presently 29th May. That would mean holding General Elections in September of the preceding year, which might not be either practical or reasonable. As it applies for the office of President, the same will be replicated for office of Governor.
As our democratic experience continues, we must thank God Almighty for 24-years uninterrupted rule by our own elected peers and of course, with the cooperation of everyone that has been made possible. The truth is that if we put our country first, before individual interests, anything is achievable. We look forward to a successful inauguration of the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and his deputy on 29 May 2023.
This article was written by Gbenga Akinmoyo who is a legal practitioner, public affairs analyst and the C.E.O of LeadiFollow Limited (+234 803 660 9090).