Don’t compromise, NLC cautions election petition tribunals

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has cautioned the election petition tribunals against being compromised as they look into suits arising from the just concluded 2023 general polls.

Mr Joe Ajaero gave the advice on Sunday in Abuja at a news conference organised by the Labour and Civil Society Movement Front.

He said that organised labour and civil society movements might establish a ‘Hall of Shame’ for any judge that jeopardised the process.

Although President-elect Bola Tinubu is set be inaugurated as the nation’s new president on May 29, there are a number of suits before the Presidential Election Tribunal challenging his victory.

Ajaero said that there were growing worries that the election petition tribunals have yet to commence sitting regarding petitions from aggrieved candidates who participated in the exercise.

“We identify with all the views expressed here because we believe that the mission is geared towards rescuing Nigeria and rescuing the judiciary as the latter is clearly down.

“The judiciary has set many states and institutions on fire. The judiciary has set Imo State on fire and up till now, people are wondering how a person who was not a candidate of his party be declared the governor?

“The judiciary has so many questions to answer. If they failed to answer those questions within a short time, we would create a Hall of Shame for those judges that come up with some judgments and that could happen soon,“ he said.

The NLC president said there was a need for the Nigerian Bar Association and all arms in the judiciary to speak out on what was happening in the judiciary.

He said that Nigerians would want know if the judiciary was still the last hope of the common man.

“Now the destiny of the country hangs on them. It is either they fulfill the role of being the last hope of the common man or they betray it, he said.

Ajaero said that the mantra “Go to court“ was shameful, adding “when people tell you to go to court, they are telling you that that’s the end of the matter.“

He said all hands must be on deck to rescue the judiciary.

“The NLC identifies with this body not necessarily on political basis but in order to rescue this country. You can see the youths struggling these days to see whether they can make any impact.

“You can see that there’s a curve between those in government and the youth. There is no connection anywhere. There is no hope for the youths, so it is time to look at it. There is just no hope politically.

“What hope do they have that when they compete their studies. Will they will get jobs. What is the number of vacancies declared annually?

“How many people graduate from our schools? What percentage of them gets employed? So the time to rescue Nigeria is now,” Ajaero said.

Also, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Convener of the Labour and Civil Society Front, noted that ripples from the 2023 elections have been worrisome and frightening.

Tokyo said some Nigerians, who are architects of Nigeria’s current democratic experience, had watched with utter astonishment how the processes and procedures, meant to consolidate the 24 years of democratic wins, had been greatly eroded during the 2023 general elections.

“This dark cloud of angst arising from a terribly mismanaged 2023 General Elections has jolted the confidence and hope of many Nigerians, thus propelling us as “Citizens of Conscience” to take the bold step of beginning to resist and mitigate the intended and unintended crisis looming over our dear country.

“We condemn the outright manipulation of the electoral process and abdication of responsibility by INEC as it has not only destroyed trust in the democratic process,“ she said.