Presidential Election Tribunal: Don’t Expect Magic From Judiciary – Odinkalu To Nigerians
Nigerians have been told not to expect any magic judgement from the ongoing election petition tribunal in Abuja.
Naija News reports that this was the position of former Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu.
Odinkalu submitted that anyone who is expecting magic from the tribunal should read the Supreme Court’s judgment on the Osun State government election petition.
It was gathered from SaharaReporters that the human rights lawyer on Wednesday said the apex court has already predetermined the outcome of the major cases through an unrealistic standard of proof by demanding that whoever claims that there was election manipulation must produce all the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used for all the affected polling units (PUs).
He submitted that “Those expecting some form of magic from #Nigeria’s judiciary in election dispute resolution should read this judgment in the Osun State governorship case. The #SupremeCourt says to prove results have been manipulated, you need to produce each BVAS machine for the affected PU.
“So, if you are alleging manipulation of results in 1,000 PUs, you must produce 1,000 BVAS machines, 1 for each PU. Meanwhile, these cases are decided in courthouses not warehouses. The court may just have pre-determined the outcome of the major cases through an unrealistic standard of proof.
“Think of it this way: to prove I have sent you an SMS, it is not enough for you to get the network provider to certify what transpired, you must produce the phone from which the SMS was sent. The quality of judicial decision-making in election disputes is utterly diabolical.”
He noted that the Supreme Court had in its judgment on the Osun State governorship election petition held that the “BVAS devices for each of the 744 polling units which the appellants solely relied on as the basis for grounds 2 and 3 of their petition were not produced and tendered by them as evidence in support of their case.
“Rather they sought to prove the record of accredited voters in the BVAS devices for each of the 744 polling units by means of a report of the examination of the INEC database or backend server (exhibit BVR) said to contain the information on the number of accredited voters and number of votes cast in a polling unit transmitted by the BVAS to the said INEC database during the election on election day.
“The record in the BVAS machine for each polling unit is the direct and primary record of the number of voters accredited in that polling unit on the election day in the process of the election.
“It is not in dispute that the disputed polling units results were collated in their respective wards by their Ward Collation Officers. The collation by virtue of Regulation 48(a) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines (supra), a presumption arises from the collation of the polling units results that the number of accredited voters recorded in the result in Form EC8A agrees with the record of accredited voters in the BVAS.
“So it is the number of accredited voters recorded in the BVAS that the number of accredited voters recorded in the result in Form EC8A must be compared with or verified from, to determine if there was manipulation.”
Recall that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party and their presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi respectively are challenging the victory of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu in the February 25 polls.