A senior lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), has called for the unbundling of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to guarantee credible elections in Nigeria.
Adegboruwa stated this while reacting to the tribunal judgment that upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday.
The senior lawyer said the tribunal judgement did not come as a surprise to him and many others who have followed election matters in the country for a while.
“Today’s verdict should be a reason for sober reflection by all, especially for the parties in court, their lawyers and all lovers of democracy. The petitions could have been decided purely on points of law and within few days of the election,” Adegboruwa stated in a lengthy Facebook post.
“There can be no real victory in the resolution of the legal issues by the court when the fabric of our democratic engagements seem to have been hijacked and compromised. Part of the lesson in this process is for us to go back and review the electoral process and the litigations following it. INEC as it is presently constituted cannot birth any credible election in Nigeria.
“In all, may be there was too much expectation that the status quo will be upturned, whereas many of the principles of law canvased had long been settled by the apex court.
“While encouraging all parties to continue in towing the paths already defined by law for the ventilation of grievances, we owe Nigeria an urgent duty to dismantle INEC, urgently.”
He also stated that the verdict by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) ‘was not totally unexpected, noting that the tension was ‘completely unnecessary.’
“The verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Court was not totally unexpected, given the stark realities facing us as a nation and the state of the law.
“The principles of presumption of regularity of elections and that of substantial conformity make it extremely difficult to prosecute elections successfully.
“In this particular case, the burden placed upon the petitioners in order to upturn the election was practically insurmountable. To make matters worse, INEC practically fought the petitioners to a standstill, as if it was an interested party in the whole process.
“I honestly don’t think anyone expected a different verdict from what was delivered in Abuja today, particularly the lawyers. The tension was completely unnecessary.”