A pro-democracy group, Coalition for the Protection of Democracy (COPDEM), has insisted that going ahead to swear in the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would have grave consequences for the nation’s democratic practice.
COPDEM which is a coalition of civil society organisations, told journalists during a peaceful protest in Asaba, Delta State, that swearing in the former governor of Lagos State as president without resolving all the litigations particularly the issue of securing 25% votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), would mean turning the constitution on its head.
Spotting black attires, the coalition said the mood of the nation does not depict the imminent change of government.
Speaking with journalists on behalf of the coalition, Mr. Ken Pela, said the nation was mourning.
“We have not had a situation where in the process of changing government, the mood was like this. For the first time, it does not look like there is going to be a new government, it looks like and feels like death.
“We have a situation where truth is being suppressed, our values are being killed, and this has nothing to do with the fact that we supported Peter Obi and he was not declared winner.
“It has to do with the fact that the process has been destroyed, it has to do with the fact that for the first time, we are going to swear in a president that does not meet the requirements of the constitution,” he said.
Pela said the demand of the group was that Tinubu should not be sworn-in unless the constitution is met, adding that there were choices before the nation.
“We could have done a fresh election. Datti Baba Ahmed said the other day that they have manufactured results, let them go and manufacture 25% in the FCT.
“Even if you say the man is qualified but the minute you go ahead and swear him in without meeting that constitutional requirement of 25%, you are saying that constitution is dead. We cannot determine the consequences of what they want to do by swearing him in,” he contended.
According to him, the court has not helped matters, pointing out that judge who was supposed to adjudicate on the issue of 25% in FCT did not show up in court on the last two adjourned dates.
“The judge who was supposed to listen to the case and give judgment on the issue of 25% on Wednesday did not show up. They said he went for conference and that they should come back on Friday.
“On Friday, he did not show up in court. If he had even come and said you did not win, that 25% is not the constitution, then they can go ahead while we go on appeal. But we have that matter pending and they want to go ahead? They are saying that that constitution is useless,” Pela added.
Coordinator of the coalition, Mr Benok Nwanji, in his remark, clarified that the group has no issue with the swearing-in of governors-elect, adding however that the case of the president-elect was a peculiar one.
“There are a lot of cases instituted against him (Tinubu) and the election in which he was declared winner. We are praying that those processes should be looked into and handled well before you swear him in. If the processes were right and the election had gone well, I don’t think we would have gone to court,” Nwanji stated.
Contending that the morale of Nigerians had been dampened by the outcome of the February 25 presidential election, Nwanji argued that going ahead with the ceremony on Monday would confirm the fear that Nigeria’s democracy has been hijacked by political cabals and mafias.