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2023: Judiciary Tasked On Uprightness, Transparency In post-Election Disputes

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As the courts and tribunals begin hearing post-election disputes, the Nigerian Judiciary has been tasked with proper and transparent adjudication of cases that will be brought before it by politicians and political parties.

The presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, have already indicated that they will contest the February 25, Presidential elections over alleged infractions.

Apart from the two presidential candidates, many National Assembly candidates have also indicated interest in approaching the courts.

Speaking on the integrity task ahead of the Judiciary after the 2023 general elections, Abuja-based legal practitioner Barr. Chidi Onwuekweikpe called on judicial officers appointed to preside over petitions arising from the 2023 polls to “exercise their roles in an upright way and according to limits of the law.”

Onwuekweikpe led the call during PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, an anti-corruption radio programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.

He stated that the judiciary has a crucial role at this stage of Nigeria’s electoral Jurisprudence and remains the only option available for any aggrieved person.

Onwuekweikpe blamed politicians for stimulating doubts and integrity concerns whenever judgements are pronounced from the courts, noting that civil cases do not generate controversy as much as political cases in Nigeria.

“The challenge we are having is from politicians; when a matter goes in your favour, the Judiciary is the best thing that happened to Nigeria, go on appeal it goes the other way saying I have been robbed, the Judiciary is corrupt from the same mouths, so what do you make of it, are the politicians that are now determining the integrity of the Judiciary which should not be so.

“Whatever you say about it should be based on reading through the judgement and how the judges decide. That is when you can make an informed opinion from the court’s decision. It’s not a marketplace thing when you come because the case didn’t favour you would say they have turned justice upside down. You have to read in between the lines and find out the reasons for decisions made,” Onwuekweikpe stressed.

Cautioning Nigerians on their expectations ahead of post-election litigations, the Legal Luminary said courts handling election cases could only work with available evidence and not emotions. Adding that election cases are won and lost in courts to technicalities, procedural errors or how lawyers present facts.

On his part, Daily Trust Newspaper’s Judiciary Correspondent, John Chuks Azu, reminded the Judiciary that Nigerians expect them to maintain neutrality and transparency and be above board as they entertain post-election petitions.

According to Azu, judicial officers handling election cases must understand that the judiciary is serving the people and not themselves while urging that journalists should be granted access to monitor and report the process.

His words: “The Judiciary as a 3rd arm of the government has tried to maintain neutrality. For them (Judiciary) to be above board, the public will expect that as the petition come in for the various election, both the presidential and national assembly and, of course, disputes arising from the Governorship and State Assembly elections that will be coming up on Saturday, the public will expect them (Judiciary) to be transparent in the sense that the processes and procedure should be made open.

“Journalists should be granted sufficient access, and observers both from local and international platforms should also be allowed, and the judiciary should try as much as possible to ensure that it follows the relevant rules and laws that guide our elections and are applied properly to ensure that the outcomes will not be far from what the public expect based on the evidence before it.”

On several pre and post-election petitions, Azu said the Independent National Electoral Commission must be ‘more accountable,’ which will help solve the problem.

“The problem is that INEC believes its role is just to supervise the process and then declare results.

“You have to be accountable all through the procedure. This is where they are getting it wrong, and they have to work on it to ensure that the money they are being given is used; How was the monitoring for the primaries done? Who were the officials? Where were they posted to? How did they monitor? The election proper, the budget for technology, the funding for materials, how did you utilize them? Why didn’t you get the outcome that is generally accepted?

“So they have to be up to task in terms of accountability. That’s how to build confidence,” Azu stated.

Recall that Governorship and State Assembly elections, earlier slated for March 11, were rescheduled for March 18, 2023, after the court granted INEC permission to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.

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Oluwakemi Areola’s Vivacity Development Pioneers Youth Empowerment for a Sustainable Future

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Abuja based organization,Vivacity Development, has reaffirmed its commitment to nurturing the potential of young individuals for a sustainable future.

Vivacity Development is strategically directing its efforts towards capacity development initiatives meticulously designed to equip young individuals with the essential skills necessary to flourish within the green economy. Simultaneously, the organization is harnessing the power of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Research and Development (R&D), with the overarching goal of driving innovation and sustainability.

Founder and CEO of Vivacity Development, Oluwakemi Areola, underscores the paramount role of youth in shaping a sustainable future. By prioritizing capacity development, the organization aims to arm young people with the expertise required to excel in the dynamic landscape of the green economy.

The organization has delineated four key initiatives aimed at facilitating the achievement of these objectives:

Green Economy Training Programs: Vivacity Development is spearheading specialized training programs focusing on the green economy. These initiatives encompass crucial areas such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and environmental conservation, thereby empowering young individuals to make meaningful contributions to a greener world.

ICT Integration for R&D: Recognizing the transformative potential of technology, Vivacity Development is fully embracing ICT for Research and Development endeavors. By integrating cutting-edge technologies, the organization aims to catalyze innovation in sustainable practices, environmental conservation, and eco-friendly solutions.

Collaborations with Industry Leaders: Vivacity Development is actively fostering strategic partnerships with industry leaders in both the green economy and ICT sectors. These collaborations will provide young participants with invaluable real-world insights, mentorship, and opportunities to engage in impactful projects.

Youth-Led Initiatives: The organization is championing youth-led initiatives by offering a platform for young innovators to showcase their ideas. Vivacity Development firmly believes in the potential of the younger generation to drive positive change and, through mentorship and support, aims to amplify their impact.

Areola expresses profound enthusiasm about the initiative, emphasizing Vivacity Development’s unwavering belief in the power of youth to shape a sustainable future. She reaffirms the organization’s commitment to investing in capacity development and leveraging ICT for research and development, thereby nurturing a generation of environmentally conscious and innovative leaders.

The company’s dedication to the green economy is seamlessly aligned with its steadfast commitment to utilizing technology for research and development.

On February 22, 2024, Vivacity Development will hold its first event of the year at the University of Abuja, with the primary objective of inspiring transformative actions that promote sustainable development, enhance workforce readiness for the digital age, and accelerate the transition to a green economy.

By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, promoting best practices, and facilitating capacity building, Vivacity Development is poised to create tangible impacts that contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous future.

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