A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, on Sunday called on Justices of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) to avoid blackmail or intimidation but justice.
He was reacting to the response by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the joint petition by the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his party that he reportedly won 21 States of the federation in the February 25 election.
He told them to give justice to Nigerians now that it was clear that Atiku won the election.
Frank in a statement in Abuja, also urged the Appeal Court Justices to use the opportunity afforded by the revelation by INEC that Atiku won 21 states in the presidential election to redeem the lost image of the judiciary.
He insisted that since INEC has voluntarily admitted on record that Atiku won 21 states instead of the 12 states it earlier credited to him, the PEPT needed not look further but to declare the former Vice President as the winner of the election.
The 21 states reportedly listed by INEC as having been won by Atiku and PDP were Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
Frank said, “This definitely shows clearly that Atiku’s results were swapped with that of Bola Tinubu to make him win, albeit fraudulently. The justices owe it to themselves, Nigerians and God to declare Atiku the rightful winner of the 2023 presidential election.
“We know the justices of the Appeal Court hearing the petition challenging the the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the presidential election are under tremendous pressure coupled with vile threats and intimidation to maintain an illegal status quo, but they must not succumb because the pressure of God that will be on them should they neglect this material fact would be more than the pressure from men.
“It must never be said that the man who won the least number of states and votes became President as against the man who won majority of states and votes.
“We cannot afford to go back to the era of impunity in this country when the Nigeria Governors’ conducted an election and declared that a man who won 15 votes winner rather than the man that won 19 votes.”
Frank who is the Ambassador of the United Liberation Movement for West Papau (ULMWP), to the East Africa and Middle East, urged the justices to be courageous in doing substantial justice in the present case, despite high-wired pressures and intimidations against them notwithstanding.
He said, “Now that that the tribunal’s justices have heard arguments from all the parties in the suits, they should know that Nigerians are looking forward to them to do substantial justice and not ruling based on technicalities.
“We want to remind you that whatever judgment you give at the end of the day will remain as precedent in future. We implore you not to hand down a precedent where clear acts of criminality as witnessed during the Presidential Election will now be the law and order of the day in Nigeria.
“We strongly hold that this is not time to rule based on technicalities or to throw out well-reasoned, germane, valid and powerful submissions by the opposition parties.
“We want to remind you that this is one case where the world is waiting for the outcome and besides, the case presents the Nigerian judiciary an ample opportunity to write its name in gold in the heart of Nigerians and to prominently emplace Nigeria in the map of countries that believe and uphold the principles of fairness, equity and justice. Whatever you do with this judgment is what you will be remembered for.
“The Justices must be resolute and remain faithful to their oath of office and allegiance by carrying out their assignment without fear or favour.
“They must not succumb to any form of blackmail or intimidation. They must borrow a leaf from their counterparts in Kenya who recently saved their country from catastrophe through their courageous verdict.”