IN response to the recent press conference held by Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the February 2023 Presidential Election, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed its strong support for Mr. Obi’s stance and raised concerns over the erosion of democracy in the country.
HURIWA, in a press statement signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Monday, also highlighted the Supreme Court judgments, which they believe have legitimized the use of questionable means to win elections.
“In his press conference, Mr. Obi raised crucial issues related to the recent Supreme Court judgment on the 2023 Nigeria Presidential Election, in which he challenged the ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC). Mr. Obi, a seasoned politician, noted that the Supreme Court’s decision contradicted substantial evidence of election irregularities, false claims of a technical glitch, and significant non-compliance with electoral rules set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”.
HURIWA echoed Mr. Obi’s concerns, asserting that the Supreme Court’s judgment appeared to have disregarded the overwhelming evidence of electoral malpractices, perjury, identity theft, and forgery. They argued that such serious allegations should not be treated lightly and pointed out that the Supreme Court’s decision seemed to condone breaches of the Constitution related to candidates’ qualifications in presidential elections.
Furthermore, HURIWA noted that the Supreme Court’s ruling had shaken the confidence Nigerians have in the country’s judiciary and suggested that it demonstrated an unreasonable use of judicial power, which ultimately impacted the Nigerian people, from whom the Constitution derives its authority.
More so, HURIWA’s statement criticized the performance of national institutions, such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the judiciary, for their alleged incompetence and failure to uphold constitutional tenets and established ground rules during the electoral process. They contended that political expediency had taken precedence over judicial responsibility and that the application of technicalities had overridden the pursuit of justice and fairness.
The foremost pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation stated that the recent Supreme Court judgments have raised serious concerns about the integrity of the electoral process in Nigeria. They avowed that the judgments appeared to legitimize the use of questionable means to win elections and called for a renewed commitment to upholding democracy, justice, and fairness in the country’s electoral system.
HURIWA further emphasized the need for strong political opposition in Nigeria and expressed their support for Mr. Obi and the Labour Party in their quest for a new Nigeria. They pledged to continue advocating for good governance, transparency, and accountability while promoting the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties.
The association concluded by praising the passion and dedication of Nigerian youths and citizens from diverse backgrounds who have shown a strong desire for a restructured and inclusive Nigeria. They assured the public that they would remain committed to the vision of a new Nigeria built on character, competence, capacity, compassion, integrity, and respect for the rule of law based on justice and fairness.
*Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)
November 6, 2023.