May 29: Allow courts to complete election petition hearing, Igbo leaders urge Presidency

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By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

LEADERS of thought from the Southeast, under the aegis of the Igbo Patriotic Forum (IPF), on Saturday, called on the presidency to allow the court to complete its work on the presidential election petitions before anyone is sworn in as the next President of Nigeria.

The IPF made the call at a press conference in Abuja, with its chairman, Chief Simon Okeke, likening the current situation to a football match.

Their call came amidst the ongoing legal battle between the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party, Peter Obi, over the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

Obi and Atiku are challenging Tinubu’s victory in the election, alleging widespread irregularities and rigging.

The case is currently before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, which is expected to begin sitting on Monday, May 8, 2023.

Speaking at the press conference, Chief Okeke, who is also a former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, said: “Since the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) allows anyone aggrieved after the announcement by INEC of the general election result to go on appeal from the Tribunal to the Supreme court to determine the final winner of the election, it stands to reason that no one should be sworn in as the winner before the apex court pronounces who, in its opinion, is the true winner of that election.”

According to him, this is not a matter for haste or impatience, but for the rule of law to take its course.

He added, “In a football match, the true winner is not determined until the referee blows the final whistle.

“We should allow the court to complete its work so that we can know who the true winner of the election is. Once that is done, the winner should be sworn in as the next President of Nigeria.”

Also speaking, the Secretary of Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, explained that the IPF is a group of prominent Igbo leaders, who have been actively involved in the political process in Nigeria, promoting the unity of Nigeria while advocating for the rights of the Igbo people.

He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to remain calm and law-abiding while the court completes its work on the presidential election petitions.

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