Home » Tribunal’s verdict stirs uncertainty across Nigeria: A deep dive into the political unrest

Tribunal’s verdict stirs uncertainty across Nigeria: A deep dive into the political unrest

by Adenike Adeodun

Nigeria stands at the precipice of profound political change as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal gears up to announce its verdict on various petitions. With a nation’s breath held in anticipation, the political landscape may never be the same again.

The Sun reported that The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed several governorship positions after the March 18 elections. Now, the judiciary is scrutinizing these positions. Opponents who felt sidelined by the results have approached the tribunals, eagerly awaiting justice. Both respondents and petitioners have presented their statements, and they will soon announce a judgment date.

Plateau State, in particular, is rife with political tension. The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Nentawe Yilwatda, is challenging the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) declaration of Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang. The recent declaration of ex-governor Simon Lalong as the victor of the Plateau South Senatorial election has exacerbated anxieties. The foundation of Lalong’s victory mirrors the claims posited by the APC and Yilwatda, thus intensifying the political drama.

Beyond Plateau, similar suspense engulfs states such as Kaduna, Nasarawa, Ogun, Katsina, Kano, Delta, Lagos, and Ebonyi.

Meanwhile, as the nation focuses on the governorship tribunal, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals have been busy affirming or toppling mandates. In Abia North, for instance, there was a burst of jubilation when the tribunal validated Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu’s victory, striking down the opposing petitions from the PDP and LP as meritless. The tribunal further emphasized the legitimacy of Kalu’s candidacy, pointing to the Supreme Court’s annulment of his prior conviction.

Conversely, in Abia Central, the tribunal upheld Senator Darlington Nwokocha’s election and dismissed claims of irregularities against him. The region’s inhabitants expressed contentment, viewing Kalu as a beacon of hope and progress. Voices from various parts of Abia North expressed their delight at the tribunal’s decision, highlighting the senator’s achievements.

However, the public received only a few verdicts. Authorities deemed the Delta Central senatorial district election inconclusive and called for a rerun in several polling units. This unexpected twist jeopardized Senator Ede Dafinone’s Certificate of Return, creating a path for potential upheaval.

In an alarming move, the Labour Party (LP) criticized the tribunal’s decisions, condemning them as a mockery of the judiciary. They expressed grave concerns over the judicial reversals, primarily when earlier verdicts from higher courts seemingly settled the matters. LP’s stand portrays them as the guardians of justice, challenging perceived judicial inconsistencies.

Rounding off the political scene, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) hailed the upholding of President Bola Tinubu’s victory. The association’s endorsement reflects the broader sentiment that Nigeria’s electoral process is advancing progressively.

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