A former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, on Thursday, called on the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) to transmit its proceedings live to ensure transparency and openness in the conduct of the tribunal.
He also urged the PEPT to urgently commence sitting, ensure accelerated hearing of the case and speedily conclude the case within time statutorily allotted before inauguration on May 29, 2023.
According to him, live transmission would make Nigerians feel a sense of belonging by keeping them abreast of the progress or otherwise of hearings of the petitions as critical stakeholders.
Frank, who is the Ambassador of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for East Africa and Middle East, in a statement also called on the DSS to stop being partisan but to concentrate on their constitutionally assigned duties.
He said: “We have seen in other countries even within Africa like Kenya where proceedings on election petition sittings were transmitted live so voters would have the opportunity to see how justice is being dispensed.”
“We know as it stands, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is buying time with delay tactics so as to frustrate the case till after inauguration.This is geared towards allowing the APC to use incumbency powers to influence the judgement of the court.
“But we call on the Tribunal especially the Justices of the Appeal Court and Supreme Court to put Nigeria first before personal interest.
“The people want the proceedings to be transmitted live. They must listen to the call of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) by doing the case differently for the first time.
“We are aware from intelligence reports that the Department of State Services (DSS) has started putting threat calls across to a few Justices of the Appeal and Supreme Courts to blackmail and get them to delay the court processes to the advantage of the ruling APC.
“This was the same way the DSS intimidated and blackmailed the Independent National Electoral Commission to swing the results of the general election in favour of the APC.
“We dare say that with the subterranean threats and pressure being mounted on the judiciary, Nigerians are beginning to lose hope of getting true and unfettered justice in the election petition cases before the courts.
“In Kenya, the Supreme Court concluded hearing of an election petition case and gave judgement in two weeks and we believe that the judiciary in Nigeria can equally save time and earn the trust of Nigerians by working to terminate the case and give its judgement before the inauguration date.
“Let the Judiciary know that Nigerians are watching them closely, both locally and internationally. Therefore there is need for them to impartially adjudicate on the present election petition task before them without any modicum of compromise or resort to selling justice to the highest bidder the way the DSS would want them to so do.
“We also use this opportunity to call on the international community to help save democracy in Nigeria by prevailing on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency call the DSS to order and stop the agency from interfering in the electoral and judicial processes in the country.”
Frank described as unfortunate a situation where the DSS has been turned to an errand boy of highest bidders through alleged illegal sale of information that recently manifested in leakage of personal telephone conversation between high profile Nigerians.
He said, “This is not what the DSS is meant to do but today the agency has become very porous with its agents being accused of selling classified information and taking part in clandestine blackmail activities to please the ruling party.”