In a stunning turn of events, the Coalition for Protection of Democracy (COPDEM), a pro-democracy group, has strongly criticized the verdict of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) regarding the petition filed by Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP). The petition challenged the declaration of Bola Tinubu, from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
COPDEM, through its spokesperson, Garba Danjuma, expressed deep concern over what they perceive as a miscarriage of justice. They particularly questioned the PEPT’s assertion that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not obligated to transmit election results electronically. COPDEM strongly believes that this aspect of the verdict should be challenged at the Supreme Court.
“The position of PEPT that INEC is under no obligation to transmit results electronically signals a return to the era of collation fraud and untrammeled impunity!” COPDEM stated emphatically.
While acknowledging that it may have been reasonable to argue that the Petitioners failed to prove that the failure to transmit results electronically significantly affected the election outcome, COPDEM emphasized that the judgment’s implication on electronic transfer of results undermines the progress made in combating electoral fraud as outlined in the 2022 Electoral Act.
“The judgment capriciously discards all the innovations and safeguards against electoral fraud contained in the 2022 Electoral Act, consigning them to the dustbin of history,” the group stressed.
COPDEM also expressed shock and disappointment that the PEPT disregarded the damning report from the European Union (EU) highlighting widespread irregularities during the presidential election. Despite the EU’s findings, the tribunal proceeded with its verdict, leaving COPDEM perplexed and questioning the integrity of the process.
In response to the verdict, COPDEM announced that its legal team would meticulously study the judgment and prepare a robust submission that cannot be ignored in the court of law. The group remains determined to challenge what they perceive as a grave injustice and fight for the protection of democracy.
With the verdict of the PEPT raising serious concerns about the integrity of the electoral process, it is now up to the Supreme Court to carefully consider the arguments presented by COPDEM and make a final decision that upholds the principles of justice and transparency.
As the nation eagerly awaits the outcome of this legal battle, it is crucial to reflect on the implications of the PEPT’s verdict. The decision not only affects the credibility of the 2023 presidential election but also has far-reaching consequences for the future of democracy in Nigeria.
In a time when the world is closely watching Nigeria’s democratic progress, it is essential for the judiciary to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that the will of the people is respected. The Supreme Court’s decision will undoubtedly shape the country’s political landscape and set a precedent for future electoral disputes.
COPDEM’s unwavering determination to challenge the verdict and protect the principles of democracy serves as a reminder that the fight for justice and fairness is an ongoing battle. It is a testament to the resilience of the Nigerian people who refuse to accept anything less than a transparent and accountable electoral process.
In conclusion, the verdict of the PEPT has sparked outrage and concern among pro-democracy advocates like COPDEM. Their challenge to the judgment highlights the need for a thorough examination of the electoral process and a commitment to address any flaws that may undermine the integrity of future elections. As the legal battle continues, all eyes are now on the Supreme Court to ensure that justice prevails and the voice of the Nigerian people is heard.