“PEPC Verdict: Nigerian Political Litigation Reflects Deeper Discontent” The recent decision by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPC) to uphold President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s victory in the February 25 election has not come as a surprise to those familiar with Nigeria’s political history. It’s a well-trodden path: presidential elections lead to legal battles, and more often than not, the incumbent prevails. This pattern raises questions about the efficacy of legal challenges in a system where the status quo is typically maintained.
What sets this election apart is the heightened anticipation and public interest it generated. Some within the judiciary and government circles seemed to believe that the verdict could potentially reshape the political landscape. People yearned for a disruption of the existing political order, echoing the sentiments of many Nigerians who feel increasingly disconnected from the political establishment.
Across the African continent, military coups have occasionally succeeded in achieving what legal processes often fail to do—overturning oppressive political regimes. Strikingly, the absence of widespread condemnation of coups in Africa indicates that for many, the desire for cosmic justice outweighs the commitment to democratic norms.
In Nigeria, the political identities and aspirations of citizens no longer align with the country’s political reality. This dissonance has given rise to disillusionment, prompting many to turn to the judiciary in the hope of upending the status quo. This widespread discontent reflects a longing for justice and a belief that the existing political order can still be rectified.
However, it remains uncertain whether the judiciary fully grasps the depth of this discontent or views recent events as routine legal procedures. The erosion of public trust in the judiciary cannot be dismissed lightly.
Recent responses from both the judiciary and government agencies to public criticism have been less than constructive. The condescending tone and arrogance displayed in addressing critics only serve to deepen public skepticism.
While Nigeria’s legal system is designed to operate impartially, political influence frequently undermines its integrity. Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa’s admission that his wife, a judge, extended favors to his colleagues exposed a network of influence within the judiciary. This revelation should have triggered a thorough investigation and case reviews, but it largely went unpunished.
In light of these concerns, the “all eyes on the judiciary” campaign should not be viewed as mere blackmail. Instead, it reflects a genuine call for justice, fairness, and righteousness. Ignoring these concerns will only further erode public trust in the judiciary.
Rather than moving on, the judiciary must acknowledge the legitimacy of the public’s demand for accountability and justice. It is high time to address the underlying issues that have fueled discontent and to work toward restoring faith in Nigeria’s democratic institutions. Failing to do so may result in the public seeking alternative means to uphold justice and righteousness, shifting their focus away from the judiciary.