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    PDP Talk tough: Demands Immidiate Withdrawal of Tinubu Certificate of Return, described declaration ultra vires

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    The People’s Democratic Party PDP has rejected the Declaration and Return of APC Presidential Candidate Bola Tinubu as President-Elect.

    In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP Debo Ologunagba said that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP opposed in entirety the declaration of Tinubu, as President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

    The statement further said that PDP demands INEC to immediately withdraws the Certificate of Return issued to Tinubu and cancel the Presidential election declaration in line with the powers vested on the electoral umpire under Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022.

    INEC according to PDP acted contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by declaring the APC Presidential Candidate as winner and also violated the Electoral Act of 2022 and the INEC Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of the 2023 Presidential election.

    It was the PDP Presidential candidate that clearly won the February 25, 2023presidential election according to the NWC and call on the electoral body to up holds the success of Atiku having evidently scored the majority of lawful votes cast by Nigerians at the Polling Units.

    “Sadly, the election was marred by deliberate malpractices including the non-use of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC’s refusal andfailure to transmit directly the results from Polling Units to its Server and Website in flagrant violation of Section 60 (4)(b) of the Electoral Act 2022.” 

    “This violation of the Electoral Act by INEC as attested to by political parties, voters, Nigerians of all walks of life as well as local and International Observers, paved the way for the alteration, falsification, switching of results and allocation of figures in favour of the APC.”

    PDP said Nigerians recall that INEC through its National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’ Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, assured that results of the elections will be transmitted directly from Polling Units across Nigeria to ensure the integrity and credibility of election results in the country on Friday, November 11, 2022. 

    The PDP quoted Okoye as saying that “Our attention has been drawn to reports in a section of the media of alleged plans by the Commission to rig the 2023 General Election by abandoning the direct and real time electronic upload of Polling Unit results to INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal…”

    PDP stressed that the Commission has time without Number reassured Nigerians that it will transmit results directly from the Polling Units as witnessed in Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections.

    The IReV is one of the innovations according to PDP introduced by the Commission to ensure the credibility and integrity of election results in the country.

    The NWC regretted that It is inconceivable that the Commission will turn around and undermine its own innovations.

    According to NWC, INEC violated the Electoral Act and its Rules and Regulation, compromised the process and marred the integrity and credibility of the election results by refusing to transmit directly the results from the Polling Units.

    The PDP therefore asserts that consequent upon the violation by INEC of Section 60 (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and its Rules and Guidelines on the election, the results announced by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, having not been earlier transmitted directly from the Polling Units before the announcement are ultra vires, of no consequence and cannot stand. 

    “Consequently, our Party and its Presidential Candidate have commenced action for legal redress to reclaim our victory in the 2023 Presidential election.”

    The NWC concluded by saying that “We appeal to our numerous supporters in Nigeria and across the world to remain calm, resilient, resolute and steadfast in the defence of democracy and the victory of our Party in the 2023 Presidential elections.” 

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    THE DSS INVASION OF OGUN STATE HIGH COURT: A GROSS VIOLATION OF THE RULE OF LAW AND JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE.

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    WE MUST STAND AGAINST SUCH MIND DISTURBING CONDUCTS.

    My attention has been brought to the shocking and disturbing incident that occurred at the Ogun State High Court in Ilaro, where operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the courtroom and arrested two defendants, Fatai Isiaka and Samuel Oyero, during an ongoing trial.

    This egregious act of disregard for the rule of law and judicial independence is a clear affront to the very fabric of our democracy and deserves utmost condemnation.

    The defendants, Fatai Isiaka and Samuel Oyero, were standing trial for alleged arson related to the Obaship crisis in Agosasa town, Ipokia local government area. The trial was ongoing, with
    the honorable judge presiding, when the DSS operatives stormed the courtroom, disrupting the proceedings and causing chaos.

    The operatives, arrested the defendants and whisked them away, leaving the court and legal counsel in shock.
    This incident raises several concerns and questions. Firstly, the DSS’s actions constitute a gross violation of the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.

    The courts are the bastion of justice, and any attempt to undermine their authority and integrity is a threat to the rule of law. The DSS’s actions demonstrate a blatant disregard for the judiciary’s autonomy and the due process of law.

    Secondly, the timing and manner of the arrest are highly suspicious. Why did the DSS choose to arrest the defendants during an ongoing trial, disrupting the judicial process and causing undue
    tension? Was this a deliberate attempt to intimidate the court, the legal counsel, and the defendants?

    Thirdly, this incident highlights the growing trend of executive high-handedness and disregard for the rule of law in our country.

    The DSS’s actions are reminiscent of the infamous invasion of the National Assembly in 2018, where operatives of the DSS blocked the entrance of the National Assembly, preventing lawmakers from entering. Such actions erode the trust and confidence in our institutions and undermine the very foundations of our democracy.

    The arrest of the defendants during an ongoing trial also raises questions about the DSS’s respect for the judicial process and the independence of the judiciary.
    In addition, this incident has far-reaching implications for the integrity of our judicial system.

    The DSS’s actions undermine the authority and integrity of the judiciary, and erode the trust and confidence of the public in the judicial system. If the DSS can invade a courtroom and arrest
    defendants during an ongoing trial, what is to stop them from doing the same in other cases? This sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the very foundations of our democracy.

    I’m also saddened with the silence of the relevant authorities, including the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, who have refused to speak out against this egregious
    violation of the rule of law.

    In conclusion, I condemn in the strongest terms the invasion of the Ogun State High Court in Ilaro by the DSS operatives. This brazen act of disregard for the rule of law and judicial
    independence is a clear affront to our democracy and deserves utmost condemnation.

    I call on the relevant authorities to take immediate action to address this incident, ensure the safety and release of the defendants, and guarantee the independence and integrity of our judiciary.

    We must stand up against executive high-handedness and defend the rule of law, lest we slide into anarchy and chaos.

    I also call on the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Judicial Council, and other stakeholders
    in the judicial system to take a stand against this violation of the rule of law and defend the integrity of our judiciary. We must not allow the DSS’s actions to go unchallenged, and we must ensure that our democracy is protected from such egregious violations of the rule of law.

    BY SHUAIBU BASHIR MUKADDAM
    REACH;
    MAIL: shuaibubashir16@gmail.com
    LINKLEDIN: AMB SHUAIBU BASHIR MUKADDAM, GCOA.

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    Police Launch Schools Protection Squad (SPS), Prosecute Over 3000 Suspected Criminals

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    The Commisdioner of police, Kano state command CP Muhammad Usaini Gumel while commemorating his one year anniversary has launched School Protection Squad (SPS).

    Aim of the Squard according to Gumel is to instill proactive measures to ensure protection of students from evil invaders who kidnapped pupils.

    He explained that the launching of the Squad by the Nigerian Police Force is the initiative of the Inspector-General of Police IGP Kayode Ebegtokim with the objective of adequately providing safe environment for schooling, students, their teachers as well as the schools facilities and their critical infrastructures.

    The SPS, comprised of sixty adequately trained police personnels who are provided with the necessary kits and tools for the task.

    The Squard have been dispatched to intensify robust patrols around all primary and secondary schools, including all vulnerable tertiary institutions in all locations across each senatorial districts of the state.

    The Commissioner while unveiling his landmark achievements in one year revealed that, “as a result of employing robust security strategies couple with community policing approache, the Command received and profiled a total of 623 repentant thugs, took them off the streets and are currently transitioning them away from life of crime.

    Some of them have been engaged by the State Government practicing various life-changing empowerment programs.

    The Command have arrested and prosecuted more than 3,000 suspected criminals with offenses that ranged from kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, human trafficking, illicit drug dealings, thuggery and other social vices.

    On assumption of office as commissioner of police in the State on the 2nd of May, last year, Gumel said he was aware that communities in the State have had their fair share of security challenges, especially the menace of daylight and nighttime mobile phone armed robbery, thuggery, farmers and herders clashes and other violent criminal activities.

    “Other heinous crimes include kidnapping, the threat of infiltration of bandits along border LGAs, especially Falgore and Dansoshiya forests, the buying and selling of minors, motor vehicle theft, cross-border organized crimes and illicit drug dealings, among others.”

    After reviewing the crime pattern and conducted crime mapping of the State, he drew up action plan which centered around robust community policing engagements with relevant stakeholders, synergizing with the military and other security agencies, and the use of both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.

    “It is through these collective efforts that we succeeded in fighting and bringing down the wave of crime and criminality in the State.”

    The Command have strengthened its Public Relations Unit and instructed the personnel to engage strongly with the local community and apply strategic communication through television, radio, and other media channels to raise public awareness about the Police Command’s activities, the consequences of crime, and to seek co-operation for promoting the peace.

    Within the same period, the Command have achieved some significant strides by flushing out criminals who occupied the historic Dala Hill, who used it as a hideout and turning it into an enclave from where they launch mayhem and various criminal activities.

    The criminals not only attempted to destroy a major symbol of Kano’s history but almost destroyed a world-class tourist attraction, a source of wealth creation and revenue generation.

    Thus far, the intervention of the Police Command has made the historic site safe and secure for all residents of the area and visitors.

    In addition to our efforts in combating crime, the Command actively participated in numerous community policing programs for example embarking on visitations to Makoda, Gaya, Kiru, and Gwale LGA’s of the State.

    This approach helped improve the Police-community relationship and combat the long time Farmers/Herders clashes that have existed for more than 40 years in Makoda LGA.

    The Inter and Intra party clashes amongst the two dominants political parties – APC and NNPP in Gaya LGA, incidences of kidnapping around Kwanar Dangora and resurgence of thuggery activities in Gwale LGA were all restored.

    In furtherance to the community policing engagement, we organized community policing programs, including friendly football matches with repentant thugs, involving stakeholders such as members of the Kano Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kannywood, Tik-Tockers, and others.

    This approach has now bridged the gap between the Police and the Community, leading to better information sharing and cooperation in fighting crime.

    The Police Command, in collaboration with the Kano Branch of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria (MAN), have organized the first and second editions of capacity building workshops aimed at equipping Police investigators, and equipped them with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively navigate the intricacies of the Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL).

    The Command also conducted some inter-agency’s training sessions on Fire Safety in collaboration with the Federal Fire Service. Others include, Cyber Security Training.

    In line with the provisions of Force Order No. 20 as amended relating to the effective implementation of the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS), the Advisory Committee of the Scheme was inaugurated on 6th February 2024 by the Kano State Police Command and supported by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC) project.

    The launch of the committee marked a significant milestone in enhancing legal representation for individuals coming into contact with the Criminal Justice System in Kano State.

    The PDSS Advisory Committee which it’s membership were drawn from the institutions of the Police, Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Legal Aid Council, National Human Rights Commission, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigeria Correctional Service, and Civil Society among others.

    The committee conducted a comprehensive two-day visit to various detention facilities and justice sectors, consisting of 4 selected Police Stations, two Correctional Centers, including one Remand Home, and three Court Complexes of Magistrates of the Shari’ah, and High Courts between 5th and 6th February 2024. The primary objective of this initiative was to ensure the effective implementation of the scheme

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    Democracy or Courtocracy? CP. Gumel perspectives

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    The Commisdioner of police, Kano state command Muhammad Usaini Gumel who was recently awarded the best advocate of Community policing by the Nigerian police force has presented a paper on the travails of Nigeria’s electoral process in the fourth Republic.

    The event was organized by the Mumbayya house in Kano.

    Below is his full unedited speech at the occasion.

    DEMOCRACY OR “COURTOCRACY”: THE TRAVAILS OF NIGERIA’S ELECTORAL PROCESS IN THE FOURTH REPUBLIC

    *REMARKS BY*

    *CP MOHAMMED USAINI GUMEL, FIPMA, psc*

    AT THE ANNUAL AMINU KANO MEMORIAL SYMPOSIUM HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 17TH APRIL 2024 AT MAMBAYYA HOUSE, GWAMMAJA, KANO

    PROTOCOL.

    It is my honor to address this distinguished audience at this occasion of the Annual Aminu Kano Memorial Symposium on the topic _”Democracy or ‘Courtocracy’: The Travails of Nigeria’s Electoral Process in the Fourth Republic”. I thank the Organizers for associating me, and by extension the Kano Police Command with this intellectual gathering.

    Now, from the topic, I presume that the intention is to examine the role of the Courts in our recent democratic evolution, particularly in resolving election disputes. This is something that has generated different views from analysts and pundits alike. Now, as a police officer, I do not think I qualify to make any bold points about the contest between legalism and politics. However, looking at the recent political events in Nigeria, I would agree with the saying that “Law is politics by other means”. The judicialization of our electoral process gives credence to this assertion.

    The fact is that there is a thin line separating politics and law. The philosophers have aptly made the point about laws being the instruments for political contests, the tools of the powerful in society, and the shield of the elite against the masses.

    *Elections in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic*

    From 1999 to date, Nigeria is said to be witnessing its fourth republic. It is the longest period of uninterrupted practice of democracy in the country. We have witnessed seven (7) electoral cycles from 1999; 2003; 2007; 2011; 2015; 2019 and 2023. In the process, we have also seen peaceful transitions from one civilian administration to another, and the transfer of power between parties in power and in opposition. Nigerians have therefore experienced governance under both incumbents and oppositions. It means *Democracy has gone full cycle!*

    Despite these transitions, elections have remained eventful: Hotly contested, and often settled in Courts. The role of election tribunals has gained currency in recent times. We have witnessed different judicial processes that produced outcomes for electoral contests, which leave many wondering if the Courts, rather than the people, have ultimately become the deciders of who wins or loses in an election. This, I believe, is what the organizers have in mind when they coined the concept of _“Courtocracy_ and speak about the _Travails of Nigeria’s Electoral Process in the Fourth Republic._ I find this interesting and intriguing. It is indeed ingenious, so I congratulate the Organizers for coming up with such catchy descriptions.

    *_Courtocracy_ and Security in the Electoral Process*

    While free and fair election is the hallmark of a democratic system, election malpractices and violence have been regarded as obstacles to the consolidation of democratic institutions. This makes the issue of security very crucial in all the phases of the electoral process: the pre-electoral, electoral, and post-electoral phases. The role of the security agencies is to safeguard the electoral environment and electoral process. For this reason, the security agencies are exposed to the machinations of political actors. To optimize the role of the security agencies, an Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) was established in Nigeria before the 2011 General Elections, which establishes the code of conduct and rules of engagement for the security agencies before, during and after elections. With this, all security men and women on electoral duty now have a common standard of reference for their actions. The security personnel contribute to the judicial processes of elections as they are responsible for protecting election materials, personnel, and arresting offenders. The security agencies also provide safe space for the conduct of the judicial proceedings, ensuring that there is no disruption. In this way, the security agencies’ role in _courtocracy_ is the provision of evidence and safe space, but not directly in determining the outcome of the Court proceedings, which I leave to our learned men and women to speak about.

    *Distinguish Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,*

    Let me conclude by saying that the term _”Courtocracy”_ has emerged to describe a situation where legal battles and court rulings play a significant role in determining electoral outcomes, sometimes overshadowing the will of the people expressed through the ballot box. This raises concerns about the integrity of the electoral process and the extent to which the rule of law guides our democracy.

    Nigeria, as a nation, has made significant strides in transitioning to democratic governance. Yet, the prevalence of electoral irregularities, political violence, vote-buying, and other malpractices has eroded public trust in the electoral system. This, coupled with the phenomenon of judicial interventions in electoral disputes, has led to a growing perception of courts wielding more influence than voters in shaping political leadership.

    For democracy to thrive in Nigeria, it is imperative that the electoral process upholds the principles of transparency, fairness, and accountability. Political actors, electoral bodies, security agencies, and the judiciary all have a crucial role to play in ensuring free, fair, and credible elections that truly reflect the will of the people.

    As the Commissioner of Police of the Kano Police Command, I urge fellow law enforcement agencies to maintain neutrality, uphold professionalism, and guarantee the safety and security of all citizens during elections. We must work tirelessly to prevent electoral violence, investigate electoral offenses, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

    The _Travails of Nigeria’s electoral process in the Fourth Republic_ underscore the urgent need for reforms that will strengthen democratic institutions, promote electoral integrity, and restore confidence in the electoral system. By upholding the values of democracy and the rule of law, we can steer our nation toward a future where the voice of the people truly shapes the course of governance.

    Thank you for your kind attention.

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