The tension around the call for an interim government is that the presidential election petition may not conclude before the inauguration of a new president on May 29, 2023. But it’s very possible to conclude these petitions, provided that the court systems are very proactive. Under Arbitration matters, procedural orders and or directions issue peremptorily to resolve sometimes very complex jurisdictional and procedural issues. The Presidential Election tribunals are urged to adopt the procedures very familiar with the speedy conclusion of Arbitration matters.
I set out three issues in the Presidential Election Petitions that are resolvable by application of procedural orders and or directions which may peremptorily decide some of the Jurisdictional and procedural issues, stated in the petition as follows:
- Interpretation of Section 134 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as to whether securing 25%(Percent) of votes in Federal Capital Territory Abuja is compulsory to be president
- Is a candidate permitted to stand for presidential or Vice presidential election when he is at the same time a senatorial candidate?
- Issues relating to the qualification of candidates to stand for the Presidential Election
If the Petition Were Arbitration Proceedings, an arbitrator may issue a procedural order directed to counsel to address all complex disputes and the Arbitral Tribunal will deliver what is called a partial final award. In the case of the Presidential Election tribunal, including the Supreme Court, they can also direct procedural orders with very short timelines given to counsel, to address the complex jurisdictional issues raised in the petitions and The Tribunal/Supreme Court will then issue a final summary judgment as appropriate.
We strongly believe that between the tribunal and Supreme Court, the petitions can be resolved within 7(Seven) days from today. This will cool the temperature in Nigeria on the issue of interim government etc.
The speed proposed here requires a radical departure from our present judicial policy where case management plays a very limited role in judicial outcomes. Case management is the spirit and driving force of modern adjudication. Speed of justice is the mantra that our Judiciary must proclaim very loudly. This is needed in the Presidential petition proceedings urgently.