Nigeria Is Firmly Under State Capture, Says PGGSJ

Professionals for Good Governance and Social Justice, PGGSJ, have joined voices to the growing condemnation of the recent Judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPT, on 26, September which affirmed President Bola Tinubu as duly elected despite alleged irregularities that attended the election.

Speaking via a press release signed jointly by Dr Ben Chukwu, convener of the group and Dr Emmanuel Ugorji, head of the group’s media department, PGGSJ contended that the judgement clearly showed that the country has come under state capture.

“State capture as defined by the World Bank in 2000, is the systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes to their own advantage.

“This is where Nigeria, as a country, is today,” explained the converters in a release.

PGGSJ is made up of Nigerian professionals at home and largely abroad.

According to them, the election held over six months ago held out the promise of a paradigm shift from a perennially corrupt electoral umpire.

“Nigerians, young and old alike, desperate to participate in transparent, free and fair elections since the last one in 1993, believed in the promise and mobilised to campaign and to vote like never before.

“But alas, it all turned out a charade; an electoral body that never meant to be true to themselves, and without a sense of history, simply sabotaged themselves, got lilly-livered as the vultures that have held generations of Nigerians captive for decades, swooped on them, and they ended up betraying Nigerians,” the group said.

The group further characterized the six months of judicial deliberation as “gerrymandering”.

“A tribunal, of five Justices, four men and one woman – all of whom we thought would be concerned about their place in history; each of whom must be either a grandfather or a grandmother, chose to leave the substance of the issues before them and tried hiding behind a litany of technicalities that made a mockery of their persons and the profession they represent,” Dr Chukwu added.

The group further raised 16 posers they considered should be answered by the PEPT and the Judiciary in the country.

“How could you sit for six months and at the end use 10 hours to read a judgement without any tinge of justice?

“On almost every issue raised by the petitioners, including issues with precedence and already decided on by their superiors, they had their own ideas.

“They didn’t only tear apart key portions of the electoral act and the constitution, but also literally made great efforts to legalise and institutionalise criminality.

Making specific reference to the perjury aspect of the judgement, the group asked, “when is a man guilty of perjury.”

“Or is it a crime for everyone else but Tinubu? What of others, including a Bayelsa governorship pair, who were disqualified on the eve of their swearing-in?

“What makes Tinubu different,” PGGSJ asked.

They also raised posers on another aspect of the judgement like the inconsistencies in Tinubu’s certificates; Shettima’s double nomination and Tinubu’s dual nationality, which, according to the group, Tinubu lied about and many others.

CAPTURED STATE: OUR CONCERNS ON NIGERIA, PEPT JUDGEMENT AND INEC
BY PROFESSIONALS FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, PGSSJ

State capture, as described by the World Bank in 2000, is the “systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes to their own advantage”. The International body went on to specifically describe situations where “small corrupt groups used their influence over government officials to appropriate government decision-making”.
This, unfortunately, is where Nigeria, as a country, is today. A State, whose critical institutions have been captured by criminals of different hue, is bound to be on the throes of death!

Over 6 months ago Nigerians went into a general election in which they were promised a paradigm shift because a perennially corrupt electoral empire, in desperate need of self-redemption, promised and made motions of doing things differently this time.

Nigerians – young and old alike, desperate to participate in a transparent, free and fair elections since the last one in 1993, believed them and mobilised to campaign and to vote like never before. The world even believed them and mobilised billions of Naira as encouragement for the technological innovations needed.

But alas, it all turned out a charade! An electoral body that never meant to be true to themselves, and without a sense of history, simply sabotaged themselves, got lilly-livered as the vultures that have held generations of Nigerians captive for decades swooped on them, and they ended up betraying Nigerians – a larceny committed without shame or remorse!

For their act of treachery and betrayal, a captured national institution claimed a phantom technical glitch that would only affect the transmission of the presidential results without affecting the National Assembly results! A remorseless and treacherous institution asked the aggrieved to go to court.

After 6 months of gerrymandering at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, a panel of 5 Justices – 4 men and 1 woman – all of whom we thought would be concerned about their place in history; each of whom must be either a grandfather or a grandmother, chose to leave the substance of the issues before them and tried hiding behind a litany of technicalities that made a mockery of their persons and the profession they represent.

(1) How could you sit for 6 months and at the end use 10 hours to read a judgement without any tinge of justice? A judgement where the Justices were more adversarial to the petitioners and obviously advocated more for the respondents than their hired senior advocates could have done for them?

(2) On almost every issue raised by the petitioners, including issues with precedence and already decided on by their superiors, they had their own ideas!
(3) They didn’t only tear apart key portions of the electoral act and the constitution they earn their living interpreting, they literally made great efforts to legalise and institutionalise criminality – if further endorsed by the highest court in the land.

(4) When is a man guilty of perjury? Or lying on oath is a crime for everyone else but Tinubu? Others, including a Bayelsa governorship pair, could be disqualified on the eve of their swearing in, but not Tinubu, with his serial perjuries about his age, his academic qualifications, NYSC etc, because he’s Tinubu or because he had the wherewithal to capture the institutions of state – including the judiciary?

(5) Shettima’s double nomination was not intentional? Was that argument from Tinubu’s Lawyers or the 5 unbiased Justices?

(6) Tinubu’s dual nationality, which he lied about, meant nothing to those 5 Justices too?

(7) Did the world actually hear Abba Mohammed read that the petitioners ought to have gotten witnesses from every polling unit, or even collation centre, where electoral heist took place for their claim of electoral manipulation to be proven? Was that meant to be a joke to relieve tension in the hall?

(8) Or he actually meant they would have done all of that within 21 days? With an obviously biased and adversarial INEC who stone walled the petitioners for almost 14 days of the 21 days?

(9) Did they say whatever made Tinubu forfeit 460k USD almost the same time Buhari would have had him face a firing squad if it was in Nigeria wasn’t a crime? Wouldn’t he have been jailed if he didn’t flee the US? Did the Justices’ APC informants tell them Tinubu did ‘sadaka’ to the Illinois City authorities?

We wait to hear what the CJN, who earlier in his career, defined what leads to forfeiture, would say this time that Tinubu is the one in the box!

(10) Did they say FCT is not different from the other states? Really? And that in spite of previous rulings?
(11) The 5 wise men in their definition of INEC’s independence want the world to believe that INEC’s independence grants them the power of impunity to decide which particular results to upload electronically and which one an orchestrated technical glitch can stop from transmitting electronically.

(12) With their gerrymandering, serial distortions and deliberate obfuscation of the issues brought before them by the petitioners, those 5 Justices do not think they have almost accomplished incalculable damage to the already defective Nigerian constitution and the rule of law in a country already suffering from executive lawlessness where court orders are often obeyed in the breach?

(13) One would want to nurse a modicum of hope that, somehow, a supreme court that is in dire need of self-redemption, would, at least, make some effort at dispensing justice for a democracy on the throes of death. It would be most unfortunate if history records them among those who effectively buried Nigeria’s constitution and democratic governance.

(14) In ending this Press Release, we would want to register our disgust and disappointment in the flagrant injustice we have suffered in the hands of the 5 Justices of the PEPT, who while even reading their judgement, that was devoid of any attempt at justice, came across as a people under duress!

(15) We would urge the Justices at the highest court in the land, to whom our appeal must now come, to think of their place in history; and to think of the kind of Nigeria they want their children, greats and grandchildren to inherit.
(16) We do not seek unmerited favours; we simply want a jurisprudence that does not make a mockery of us as a people, and one that would not do permanent and irreparable damage to our attempt at constitutional democracy.

Finally, we urge a reminiscence on that ever-green and famous quote of John F. Kennedy in 1962, where he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

We finally call on Nigerians to be alert to the strategies being used by the gang to completely consummate the capture and stand up for their lives and future.

Nigerians should note that if NURTH Abuja falls, that of other states will also fall, and Market unions will crash under the forces that seized state rule. NLC and Trade unions will definitely. If the NBA succumbed, other professional bodies will definitely be seized. This is how gangs operate. Lagos is a case study. If we allow this to continue, four years is more than enough for them to perfect their agenda.

Irrespective of what happens at the apex court, Nigerians know what they ordered at INEC shop and should insist on that in a very civil way.

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