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Keyamo speaks on calls for ‘quick determination’ of petitions against Tinubu



The Minister of State for Labour and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has said hasty determination of the petitions against victory of Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress, APC in the February 25 presidential election will be detrimental to the case of the petitioners.

Tinubu scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to win the 2023 presidential election, according to result declared by INEC.

Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who came second in the election and Peter Obi of Labour Party, LP who came third are challenging the victory of Tinubu in the election.

Tinubu is due to the sworn in as the president on 29 May, 2029 while the hearing of the petitions will begin today.

Some analysts have called for the conclusion of the hearing of the petitions before the May 29 hand over of power to Tinubu.

However, Keyamo, in a statement on Sunday said those making such arguments are “plainly ignorant or crassly mischievous” as it is not even in opposition parties’ interest for their petitions against the victory of Tinubu to be rushed.

According to him, rushing the petition could destroy Obi and Atiku’s cases because “Justice rushed is justice crushed.”

According to Keyamo, the rules of the court, as it is now do not allow for the quick determination of cases in a statement titled “THOSE CALLING FOR A QUICK DETERMINATION OF ELECTION PETITIONS BEFORE MAY 29TH UNDER OUR PRESENT LAWS ACTUALLY WANT TO DESTROY THE CASES OF THE PETITIONERS”.

Keyamo said: “Those calling for the determination of the Election Petitions BEFORE the swearing-in ceremonies on MAY 29th under our present electoral laws and Rules of Court and/or procedure are either plainly ignorant or crassly mischievous.

“In the future, it is possible to amend our laws and rules of court to accommodate such an idea, but it is clearly IMPOSSIBLE under our present circumstances.”

He said those calling for speedy hearing of the petitions are in fact “doing great harm to the cases of the petitioners. It is the Petitioners that need more TIME to prove their cases and not necessarily the defendants.”

“That is why the Petitioners are given 21 days to file and the defendants have 14 days to respond. And the Petitioners have a further 7 days to reply, making a total of 30 days as against the 14 days of the Respondents.

“It follows that in leading evidence in court/Tribunal in support of the Petitions, the Petitioners would also take more time. It is more arduous to prove an Election Petition than to defend it.

“If these characters say a single point (let’s say the FCT 25 per cent storm-in-a-teacup issue) should be set down for determination immediately, would the Petitioners’ lawyers agree to withdraw and abandon all other issues raised in their Petition and proceed only with that issue? Will they take that risk?

“Ask them privately. They know better. This is because the rules of Election Petitions do not allow Petitioners to prove their cases piecemeal.”

He also explained that a Petitioner cannot pursue a single point up to the Supreme Court and after losing, return to the Tribunal or Court and say he/she/it wants to now prove other aspects of the case.

He added: “Even that single point alone CANNOT be determined by the Supreme Court BEFORE MAY 29th because of the time given by the rules for parties to file their Notices of Appeal and exchange their briefs.

“It is indeed only the Respondent that can raise a preliminary objection that can determine the Petition in limine (that is, at the threshold). Even at that, the rules allow the Court/Tribunal to take the objection together with the Petition itself and give one judgment at the end in order to save time.

“So, this is free advice to the advocates of pre-May 29th determination of the Election Petitions: they are doing the cases of their Principals (the Petitioners) great harm. They should realise that just as we say ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, we also say ‘justice rushed is justice crushed’.”

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