Presidential Tribunal: Activists protest in Abuja, warn against ‘unfair’ verdict
A human rights organisation working under the banner of Good Governance for Better Nigeria on Thursday urged the judicial branch of the government to take into account the national interest when rendering a decision at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The organisation emphasised the need of the tribunal giving all political parties a fair hearing, but also cautioned that because “it is a new dawn” for Nigeria, a “unfair” decision might not bode well for the nation.
These were said by Dr. Abayomi Runsewe, the GGBN convener and a human rights campaigner, as he led over 300 people in a peaceful protest in Abuja.
He urged the judiciary to evaluate the cases on their merits so that some groups wouldn’t feel mistreated after the verdict.
The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for justice and openness in the courtroom, holding placards that said, among other things, “Your Judgement will either make or destroy Nigeria,” “Save our children’s future,” and “Let’s give fair judgement a chance.”
Even though Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election on February 25, several parties and their candidates are contesting his victory before the tribunal.
Abuja hosts the inaugural Afro-Euro Runway fashion show in June.
However, Runsewe asserted that the GGBN does not back any political party and instead stands in favour of the Nigerian people in defence of justice and effective government.
He said that the group wasn’t opposed to the President-elect’s inauguration on May 29.
He declared, “We are worried about Nigeria right now, but we don’t want to take a side. We are worried about the state of the country. Today’s message is intended for the legal system and the police.
“We are pleading with the judges to hear both sides of the story, to assess the cases on their merit, and we want justice to be based on merit so that, following the ruling, there won’t be a resurgence of violence or other forms of division or marginalisation of some individuals.
“We want to instill a new consciousness in Nigeria; we want an equitable society; a realistic Nigeria where decisions are made based on merit; and we are asking the court to operate honestly.
Therefore, we are pleading with the judiciary today to be impartial and render a just decision. We’re talking about the Presidential Election Tribunal, and we’re worried because it’s a new day. We don’t want things to go on as normal; we want a new Nigeria, and we think the court will be able to handle the situation and render a fair decision.