The Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Kogi State election, Senator Dino Melaye, has asked opposition political parties in Nigeria not to participate in any election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as presently reconstituted.
Melaye, who also said he will not contest the outcome of the governorship election at the Election Petition Tribunal, said INEC and the judiciary have been captured by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Melaye said he will not dignify the judiciary by heading to court, and added that the opposition will be legitimising the current INEC by participating in any of its elections.
He said the only condition upon which the opposition should participate in future elections is if the current INEC chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu and other officials are removed from office.
He added that INEC has been captured the same way as the governors have captured the State Independent Electoral Commission (SEIC) in the various states.
He said the boycott of future elections is part of the process to sanitise the democratic process in the country.
The former lawmaker cautioned that the loss of confidence in these institutions might make citizens resort to self help which will not augur well for the democracy.
He said, “The constitutional duty of INEC is to conduct periodic free, fair and credible elections and declare the popular will of the people as expressed through the ballot but under the watch of Prof Mahmood Yakubu we are witnessing a new phenomenon in which election results are prepared before the day of the election.
“The Judiciary is supposed to be the last line of defense of democracy and the rule of law: Regrettably, however, the Judiciary itself has been on trial due to its tragic and glaring inability to inspire confidence and trust in its handling of electoral matters.”
He said no discerning observer can avoid the conclusion that the Judiciary seems to have become a willing and potent tool in the hands of powerful forces that are bent on subverting democracy in Nigeria.
“Not surprisingly, low whispers about the need for the Judiciary to examine itself and reinvent itself turned to strident calls from many highly respected individuals and originations in the country, especially after the Judicial abracadabra in Plateau and Kano states.”
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He added, “That is why l will not dignify a captured judiciary by filing a petition over Kogi Governorship election where majority of the results were written before the election day by INEC officials under the watch of Professor Mahmood Yakubu who has now earned the unenviable position of the most incompetent person to preside over the Election Management Body in Nigeria.
“Why should any reasonable Nigerian go to the tribunal when the Judiciary has been captured and members of a Political Party openly dare the would-be victims of their infernal rigging machine to go to court.
“Why should other political parties and Nigerians participate in future elections with the consolidation of grip and total control of INEC through the appointment of APC card carrying members as Commissioners into INEC who will recruit APC supporters as poll officials? All recognized individuals of proven integrity from south and Northern part of this country applauded by Nigerians for their commitment to credible elections as Commissioners have all been eased out of INEC.
“The way the so-called State lndependent Electoral Commission (SIEC) is constituted by Governors with party members and supporters is what is now being brazenly applied to INEC at the Federal level. We have already witnessed a repeat of Local Government elections at the States level with the writing of results before elections in Kogi and Imo States.
“What future do we have of democracy when the Judiciary is captured as the world has seen happening across Nigeria wherein the Judiciary is now used to upturn the peoples’ verdicts for APC in Kano, Nasarawa, Plateau, Zamfara and probably many more in the days ahead. The capture of judiciary portends, citizens possible resort to self-help and that is dangerous for our society. Democracy dies when political elites repudiate or reject the norms and values on which democracy is practised and the judiciary is captured and unable to do Electoral justice.
“The Presidential Election Tribunal Judgment was written on partisan stationery. The CTC of the Kano Gubernatorial Appeal significantly differed in whole sections from the verbal Judgment delivered by the Appeal Court. The three paragraphs of the judgment declared to be “clerical errors” surprisingly and curiously do not have SPELLING ERRORS. Does it mean that “clerical errors” do not have meaning again?
We all know that it is easier to recite after thought Judgments than to rewrite well-considered written judgments.
“In summary we can say that our country and democracy is at its most vulnerable point of decay as a result of institutional capture. Today there is nowhere to turn to by citizens for sanity. The Judiciary has become an extended section of a political party doing its bidding and delivering pre-determined judgments. The fingers of providence will continue to write its verdict on the walls of our Judiciary as the biggest threat to the survival of democracy in Nigeria.
“In the light of the foregoing, l Senator Dino MeIaye have decided in good conscience not to submit myself to a judiciary that has become an instrument of political tyranny. Just as Pa Awolowo declared after the 1983 rigged elections, when asked why he refused to go to tribunal? Our sage said that he will not because “the judiciary is corrupt and will not do justice” I will not go to court because justice has been murdered by the judiciary in Nigeria.
“Finally, may I use this opportunity to call on all opposition political parties of Nigeria to forthwith boycott all future elections unless and until the current INEC constituted by APC members is dissolved and a new set of nonpartisan, Chairman and Commissioners are appointed into INEC. Further Participation by opposition political parties in future pre-written election results under a morally and ethically challenged Prof Mahmood Yakubu Electoral Commission amounts to giving legitimacy and credence to the continued rape of democracy in Nigeria,” he said.