Olisa Agbakoba, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has said that there was no constitutional process to delay the inauguration of the president-elect on May 29, 2023.
Agbakoba made the observation in a statement he personally signed, which was sent to BusinessDay Monday night.
According to him, “It is important to state that the inauguration of Mr. Bola Tinubu on 29 May 2023 is bound to happen under our constitutional process. While the election tribunal deals with the petitions there is no constitutional process to delay the inauguration on 29 May.
“We need to obey the rule of constitutionalism.”
In a recent exclusive interview with BusinessDay, Agbakoba, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), had wondered why the petitions at the tribunal would not be concluded before the inauguration. He had blamed the lawyers representing the parties and the judges handling the cases. He also went ahead to suggest how it could be handled.
He said: “But I have a simple solution which is to say why is it that the legal teams of all the petitioners are not active? I don’t understand it; why is it that the Tribunal is not active? I don’t understand it, because the elections took place almost two months ago.
“Kenya takes only 14-day cycle to finish their petition, but we take 240 days; why? If the Kenyans can do it in 14 days what’s wrong with us? We need to be pro-active. You see the problem with the Nigerian judiciary is that they are still steeped in the theory of 100 years ago, when the judge sits and does nothing unless counsels make an application. Now the judges are pro-active.
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“So, in Kenya; the Kenyan Judiciary Motto is ‘Sustaining Judiciary Transformation.’ They are proactive. If it were in Kenya, the judges would have said No, No, No, we can see the potential of Mr. Tinubu becoming president when the petition is still pending; let us hear it. There are not too many issues to hear; complex as they are the question whether you need to win Abuja is one, the question whether you can be vice presidential candidate and senatorial candidate is another one, the question whether Mr. Tinubu’s qualifications are dated; these can be decided in one day. All that the court does in case management theory which is to allot time, say – Mr. Obi, your lawyers one hour; Tinubu, your lawyers-one hour; this might be 9.O’cloclk in the morning; by 6pm they deliver a decision. Why can’t it be done?”