The Independent National Electoral Commission has cautioned politicians against making use of the courts and tribunals for “political grandstanding” and “electoral blackmail.”
This caution is happening barely 24 hours after the judgment of the Supreme Court which threw out the appeal filed by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and favored President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye gave the warning yesterday at a dialogue session with Resident Electoral Commissioners ahead of the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
His words, “The courts and the tribunals are only democratic mechanisms of electoral conflict resolution. The courts and the tribunals are handmaids of the electoral process and exist to correct mistakes and allow genuinely aggrieved litigants and petitioners have their day in court. The courts and tribunals are not suited for electoral blackmail or extortionist settlement or political grandstanding.
“It is important to take genuine and serious matters to court while professional litigants and other meddlesome interlopers should find alternative mechanisms and avenues of ventilating whatever grievance they have.”
He added that 570 petitions against the commission by unhappy parties and candidates after the 2019 elections had been thrown out by the courts.
“We want to congratulate Mr President and the leader of our party on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his election.
“The other parties should also understand that elections must come and go, somebody will win, somebody will not. This is the time to move forward and all come together as Nigerians and continue to build our country.”
Governor Sanwo also blasted PDP’s criticism of the Supreme Court’s justices because the judgment did not favor them.
His words, “Why did they go to the court if they don’t believe in it? They went to court to file a case, why did they go there to file the case when they believe the courts don’t have what it takes to deliver justice.”
“The reality of what the minister said is how do we make sure that it’s the truth that goes out and not just anything that comes from anybody’s feeling.”
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