Immediate past Chairman/Chief Executive of Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS), Dr. David Nzekwu has called on the judiciary to take advantage of the petitions filed by aggrieved Political parties in the just concluded general elections to redeem its image.
Nzekwe in a statement titled ‘Symbolism and Murder of Nigeria’s Democracy’ also urged Supreme Court not to allow technicalities instead of the substance of the law to define their judgement.
He described the elections as shambolic fraught with violence and massive irregularities and most frustrating in view of high hopes from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before and during the elections.
He urged the courts to view themselves as the last hope of the ‘common man’ who must save the nation’s democracy from the abuse of the executive branch.
He said, “I must confess that violence and public election rigging have never been elevated to the high state of political strategy in Nigerian elections. Some stakeholders planned from ab initio to rig the polls and damn the consequences.
“Little wonder the refrain after the elections is ‘if aggrieved, go to court’. A phrase that has resonated across the breadth and width of Nigeria, creating a fatalistic feeling of despondency and hopelessness given that perpetrators are urging victims to go to court.
“This anomaly has led to an unprecedented erosion of trust and faith in the election and our electoral system. There was a desecration of all democratic tenets when they weaponised religious and ethnic bigotry to pursue and grab power at all costs.
“The fair becomes foul, and foul becomes fair. Fairness and foulness became intertwined into a bitter mixture of the ghoul. They unleashed mayhem in an ethnically motivated brouhaha targeted at an ethnic group whose crime is that they live and ply their trade in a part of Nigeria that some think is not part of their own.
“Unfortunately, many people were disenfranchised, and their ‘Nigerianness’ call to question. It was even more frustrating that the state’s security apparatus stood aloof and watched the murder of democracy.
“Those whose responsibility was to maintain peace and security failed woefully and allowed the loss of innocent lives in the crucible of electoral struggle. The ethnic tension that is still on shows us that we are not too far from Rwanda and Burundi.
“If a Nigerian asked another Nigerian living in Nigeria to move out of a part of Nigeria and move to another part of Nigeria, and no one has been arrested or punished for such a crime, one wonders why Nigeria is the butt of jokes among the comity of nations.
“Thugs and touts seem to rule. They are above the law in states like Lagos and Rivers. They lord it over Nigerians with no fear of consequences.”
He added, “The ball is in the hands of the judiciary to salvage our democracy. Leaders are now decided and selected by the bench because of the failure of the electoral system.
“However, that is the only legitimate means of seeking justice in a country where most politicians are Machiavellian and have a win-at-all-cost ideology.
“Courts as the last hope of the ‘common man’ and should be the saviour of our democracy. They must save our democracy from the abuse of the executive branch. It is a national duty for the Courts to install the rule of law and equity in the system.
“The Court should go to any extent to restore sanity in the system. If need be, they may cancel some of the elections, they should not rule off re-run in some areas, and perpetrators of election malpractice must receive the full wrath of the law.”