The Niger Delta Youth Congress (NDYC), on Saturday, faulted the decisions of the Court of Appeal on the governorship disputes in Plateau, Kano and Zamfara states.
The youths, which cited verdicts on governorship elections in Kano, Plateau and Zamfara states, said discriminatory application of legal standards between the North and other regions, signify a broader conspiracy aimed at debilitating and fragmenting the region.
NDYC Coordinator, Comrade Israel Uwejeyan, in a statement, implored stakeholders to prioritize the restoration of coherence and integrity to the electoral process
He said: “The prevailing uncertainties within the judiciary pose a substantial risk, evident in the disparate rulings of the Appellate Court in states like Kano, Plateau, and Zamfara.
“The ostensible divergence in judicial interpretations has cast a pall of uncertainty upon the electoral landscape, compelling the vigilant attention of our discerning youth constituency.
“It is imperative to underscore our unwavering commitment to the principles of democracy, justice, and the rule of law, which form the bedrock of our societal fabric.
“The Byzantine nature of the legal labyrinth within which these electoral contests find themselves necessitates a nuanced and comprehensive analysis.
“The cacophony of legal postulations and discordant rulings has sown the seeds of doubt within the public psyche, thereby impinging upon the sanctity and integrity of the electoral process.”
NDYC said the appellate court ought to have dispensed verdicts imbued with unassailable coherence and consistency, to boost the confidence of the people in the judiciary.
He added, “In the Kano case, the Appellate Court’s ruling on Abba v APC raises questions regarding the court’s jurisdiction in pre-election matters. The well-established electoral jurisprudence principle that designates pre-election matters exclusively to the Pre-Election Court finds support in various legal authorities, including the Supreme Court’s stance in Peter Obi v INEC. Regrettably, the Appellate Court’s departure from these principles in the Abba case necessitates correction by the Supreme Court, the bastion of justice.
“This deviation jeopardizes the purposeful categorization of election matters into pre and post-election, undermining legal certainty and sowing unprecedented confusion in electoral litigation. Allowing such a ruling to endure could unravel our electoral jurisprudence, counterproductive to the system. While ensuring political parties adhere to electoral guidelines is vital, overturning an entire election in Kano raises concerns about the democratic process’s legitimacy. This ruling arguably infringes upon people’s right to choose leaders, excessively empowering the judiciary. The situation underscores the imperative of balancing the rule of law with the democratic will of the people.
“Moreover, the disparities between the court’s oral judgment and the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Kano governorship election ruling cast doubt on the judiciary’s transparency and integrity. Such inconsistencies erode public trust, exacerbating skepticism and speculation.
“The Appellate Court’s endorsement of annulling 166,000 votes in Kano, citing irregularities and non-compliance, raises questions about judgment consistency. Contradicting its ruling in Governor Adeleke’s case, where similar irregularities didn’t lead to vote nullification, undermines equal treatment before the law, fueling doubts about the court’s impartiality.
“The identified discrepancies and contradictions in the Appellate Court’s rulings pose profound threats to Nigeria’s democratic system. They undermine equal treatment under the law, erode public trust, foment political instability, and create a fertile ground for social unrest. The apparent targeting of volatile states like Kano, Plateau, and Zamfara hints at a deliberate effort to foment regional crises, potentially escalating to national conflicts.
“The current trajectory of Nigeria’s judiciary presents complications and unforeseen consequences. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu must act decisively to avert anarchy and bloodshed,” the Niger Delta group said.
It, however, called on the Supreme Court to address the anomalies by ensuring the will of the people is not truncated.
“The Supreme Court’s critical review of these controversial decisions as the apex temple of Justice is essential to salvage the dwindling integrity of the judiciary. Failure to address these issues promptly could jeopardize Nigeria’s stability and reputation, potentially leading to dire consequences such as anarchy and bloodshed. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the President must act decisively to avert anarchy.
“It is paramount to emphasize that the ramifications of these discordant verdicts extend beyond the confines of the courtroom; they reverberate through the very sinews of our democratic framework.
“In conclusion, alerting the federal government and the international community to the potential consequences of inaction is crucial.”