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POSSIBLE LANDMINES FOR PMB IN ATIKU'S LEGAL CHALLENGE
The verdict of the Kenyan Supreme Court in 2017, annulling & voiding their presidential election contains a lot of lessons for many common law countries of the commonwealth and Nigeria in particular. - THREAD
The reason for my conclusion is the technical nature of the verdict which many have missed in their comments of the court’s decision as its ripple is felt across the continent. From what I have seen of the Legal submissions of PDP; the APC & PMB may have cause for concern.
Legal challenges of elections in Africa & Nigeria, in particular, are mostly based on the conduct of the election on the day of voting. Irregularities with voting methods, citizen’s denial of voting, violence, tampering with voting materials and so on.
The Kenya precedent changed the jurisprudence. Traditionally, courts have based their verdicts on what happened on d day of elections. It is not a coincidence, that until this verdict in Kenya, no opposition legal challenge of a presidential election in Africa has ever succeeded
This is the first time in the history of this continent that an opposition won a legal challenge to the Presidential election victory of a ruling party. So there are lessons for all Nations in this salient case; especially Nigeria.
For me, the technical & nuanced elements of the verdict are very important & instructive. Kenyan Supreme Court did not base its decision on what happened or did not happen on election day alone. In fact; a substantial basis of its verdict were events that took place months b4
They examined d conduct of d electoral body, procurement of electoral materials, voters education process, d procedural inaccuracies long before election day, errors with voter’s registration process and notification and so on; plus, some irregularities on the election day itself
So the irregularities on the day of the election alone may not have been sufficient to void the election; but taken in totality, the Court concluded that there is sufficient confluence of breaches of electoral acts, procedures and the constitution to warrant a new election.
It is not just about what happened on the election day itself. So the lesson for Nigeria is this; Stop focusing just on what happens on election day alone. Plan to rig elections are yrs in the making. INEC must be held to high standards in its conducts and procedural adherence...
...to the provisions of statutes. Many of past Court verdicts in Presidential petitions in Nigeria found some irregularities with activities on election day. But d court has always stated that these did not rise sufficiently to the level needed to vacate an election victory.
These previous verdicts were based on d facts that d losers tended to make their cases mainly based on irregularities or breaches that took place on Election day. But d Kenyan verdict shows that victory can be better assured if breaches in the entire process are challenged
If irregularities in d entire electoral process are part of d petition, there could have been a different outcome. If political parties based their challenge on the totality of INEC breaches (if there were any) they will stand a better chance in court than simply focus on 1 day
Most of the plan to rig an election would have been executed months before voting day. So any challenge should be based on the totality of actions by INEC, the parties and of course what happens on voting day as well. It is this WHOLESOME VIEW of the electoral process...
...that is a worthy legacy of the Kenyan Supreme Court bold verdict in 2017. An Electoral system is a process, not just an event. The process must, therefore, be executed according to law without any deviation, gross negligence or incompetent management of its provision.
This was my salient takeaway from the Kenyan verdict and a brilliant lesson for Nigeria and our future elections. Hence, it seems PDP has learned from this verdict based on copies of its legal petitions I have seen. There is a BIG focus on INEC's irregularities b4 election date
PDP is alleging many breaches by INEC before the election day itself along with many election day breaches as well. This approach could push the judicial scale in their favour as the court will have to do a wholesome analysis of INEC performance before & during the election.
This innovative approach seems to have been born out of the Kenyan precedent. So it will be wise not to dismiss too quickly this legal challenge by PDP. In the end; it will not be whether there were irregularities in the elections. There have always been, and courts state so...
The vital consideration for the Court will be: Are these Irregularities taken together sufficient enough to affect the integrity & sanctity of the election result? By including pre-election breaches along with election day irregularities; the scale may just turn...WHO KNOWS.
From my own observation, our election case law will be enriched by the PDP challenge regardless of the final verdict. INEC as an institution will learn vital lessons. And we will all appreciate better that Election is not just about a day, but a long PROCESS over months & yrs
How these long processes and procedures are managed is as important as how the election day itself is managed. This way; everyone concerned knows to obey the law THROUGHOUT the entire spectrum of electoral activities.
If APC wins, PMB's victory will be reinforced & made more credible for d doubters. If PDP wins, that will equally strengthen our electoral process & INEC as an institution would have leant vital lessons. But I am giving this case only a slim chance based on several other factors
I shall be observing with keen interest what happens in the courts in the weeks and months ahead. INEC's allege breaches could determine the outcome of this case more than anything APC itself did wrong. In the end...May Nigeria Win. - END
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