A political affairs commentator, Chidozie Ezeugwa, has described the 2023 presidential election as far from being over given the high level of dissatisfaction that trailed it, leading to ongoing litigations before the Presidential Election Petition Court.
Ezeugwa who expressed regrets that the Independent National Electoral Commission or INEC, failed in a critical aspect of the process, despite all its assurances ahead of the election, wondered why uploading of the results for the House of Representatives and Senate was successful while that of the presidential election failed woefully.
According to him, the herculean task of determining the fate of Nigeria beyond 2023 has sadly been shifted to the Judiciary by INEC, having failed to deliver on its promise to conduct a free, fair, and credible election.
“For me, the failure was not technical. It was the design of the umpire. We are still patiently waiting to see what the Judiciary can come up with. But, I tell you – the way the Judiciary and the judges at different levels decide this case will define the lifespan of this nation. You cannot flout the Constitution and expect the people to keep quiet. What we have now is peace in the graveyard”.
Ezeugwa stressed the need for President Muhammadu Buhari who had earlier pledged to bequeath a reformed electoral system to his successor, to make good his promise, which the conduct of the 2023 presidential poll has greatly undermined.
“If this country must continue to exist as a nation, there must be justice, equity, fairness, and transparency in all the activities and operations of government. When we allow inconsistency in the implementation of laws, people will not have confidence or trust in the government.
“The outgoing government must allow the Judiciary to go through the nitty-gritty of the petitions submitted against the outcome of the presidential election so that truth will come out and whoever is found to have won must be declared”.
While acknowledging that it is out of place for the Judiciary to decide the outcomes of elections, the political affairs commentator opined that if the outcome of the presidential election is allowed to stand with all the irregularities, the nation’s democracy will be gravely threatened.
“The election has to be won at the field and not in the court. The judiciary should not be the venue for the declaration of the election result. Otherwise, it will send a wrong signal that any method can be employed to secure electoral victory at the polls without regard to the constitution, the Electoral Act, and INEC guidelines.
“INEC must do everything humanly possible to earn people’s confidence. Otherwise, with this election, I do not think there is any Nigerian unless those who are favored by the result still have confidence in INEC,” Ezeugwa told Prime Progress.