What to Expect If Court is Not Able to Give Judgment Before May 29 – Bode George

Former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bode George, exclusive chat with EMMANUEL OJO of the PUNCH about the party’s chances at the Presidential Election Petition Court and why the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, should not be sworn in on May 29

In the chat, the PDP’s Chieftain, Bode George expressed optimism that his party will be victorious at the tribunal, while citing various facts against the upcoming inaugural ceremony of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

George also stated that if the court couldn’t pass judgment before May 29th, 2023 there would be no inauguration.

He, however, affirmed to pray and support whomsoever that would emerge victorious in the Tribunal for the redemption of the country from the current omens.

The chat read in part:
You recently stated that you refused to visit the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, because your party is in court to challenge his victory. Was that the only reason why you made that decision?

Well, what will my visit add or subtract from him? If my party is in court with him, contesting the result of the last presidential election, and I am a life member of the board of trustees of the party and one man representing the whole of the South-West in the national caucus of the party, what other level of respect and regard could they (the PDP) have given me? If the court decides that he (Tinubu) is the winner, we will still do a post-mortem analysis and at that time, we will pray for Nigeria that God will lead this country right. I remember when President Muhammadu Buhari was coming. There were certain definitive statements that he made, that he would fight corruption, among many other things and we were all praying for him.

Once anybody emerges, all we can do is call the grace of the Almighty to take control of this country to be peaceful. Forget about the individual. Our political differences are as different as day and night, so, what will I say I am going to do (by meeting Tinubu)? To look for (a political) position or what? All we will do is wish them well, that the Almighty God will bring peace to Nigeria using them, but the experience we had here in Lagos is that my state is in dire need of leadership. Nigeria is in dire need of leadership, no doubt about that. We are drifting like a ship at sea, with hurricane storms increasing; so, we need a lot of prayers. After praying, if I’m not satisfied, I have the option of getting out. I’m almost 80 years old. What else am I looking for? I want to spend the rest of my life in peace, not with these character-ravaging guys on the streets; the ‘agberos’ (louts). They left them on the street when they could have organised skills acquisition programmes for them to acquire skills. We have a big issue ahead of us in this country.

Are you very optimistic that your party will win in court?

Yes, that’s why we are there. We have made presentations to the court and all the other political parties have also tendered their reports there. I am hopeful that the judiciary will remember their oath of office and that lady of justice, the stature you find in all law courts that is blindfolded with a sword and a scale, saying that she will dispense justice irrespective of colour, name, or race, will dispense justice based on the fact before it. So, we are praying for it.

Some have called for the inauguration of Tinubu to be placed on hold. What’s your thought on that?

I completely disagree.


We have a process. The electoral law also accepts that process. The contest is not complete until you have finished with the judiciary. So, what is that hurry? I also remember that to meet up with the deadline of May 29, the court came up with a concept called frontloading. I’m not a lawyer but they said those of us that are not lawyers are not learned, but I still went to school and did well with my English and literature. They told us that all petitions and all documentation for and against must be frontloaded. In other words, they must be delivered to the court. On the very first day they want to start to sit, the judges must have read all those petitions for and against so that they can just come in there to ask for clarifications of those documents that have been read adefensedefence lawyer can add other important information, if there is, then, they will rise for a minute and re-converge, and the judges will then give the judgment, the written judgment. So, there is still time between now and May 29 to look at the petitions before the Judges to clearmindsir minds. They should not allow the devil to drive us.

What if the court is not able to give judgment before May 29?

That is a monumental crisis if we don’t meet it. As they are saying that we must inaugurate, look at the temperature of the country right now from the North to the South. It’s graveyard silence. Where is the jubilation? What is that hurry? Whoever becomes the President will spend the next four years in office, so a few more days to allow justice to be dispensed is not too much.

Are you saying that if the hearing at the tribunal is not concluded before May 29, there should be no inauguration?

Yes. They should hold on. My question is: what is the hurry? Buhari also said he would move to Daura or run somewhere.

Won’t suspend the inauguration contraveConstitutionitution?

No. What I am saying from my layman’s view, because I’m not a lawyer, is that if there is supposed to be a hand-over on a particular date because the constitution says so, the national leadership, because it has the peace of this nation at heart, can stay on, not because really want to, but for the peace of the nation. They can make an immediate arrangement for somebody from the National Assembly to be sworn in. At least, there are no questions and queries about their election.

Aren’t you suggesting an interim government?

Not necessarily an interim government; somebody can be there. You have the President, the Vice-President and if all these people are not there, you have the Senate President. There are three arms of government: the executive, the legi, the stature, and the judiciary. They are independent and if we cannot form a (new) government, what is wrong with them telling the President to stay on for some more days? That can be for peace.

The inaugurations of former presidents on the platform of your party were not suspended because their victories were challenged in court. Why do you think such should be done now?

Do you know why? At that time, the results were clear. They met the required number in specific state-percenter cent in two-thirds of Nigerian states and Abuja. The results are not clear now because apart from (Peter) Obi, who percenter cent, including in Abuja, who else won in Abuja? I’m arguing here as an engineer because in engineering, if you are building up a structure and a part of the structure is not okay and you are saying that it should be managed, the building will collapse.

At those times you are referring to, it was clear and definite and there was no argument about the number of votes that were won and percenter cent won in the required number of states. So, it got to the judiciary, it didn’t take a long time to reach a decision and get a written judgment, but in this case, there are grey areas on percenter cent and people are defining it in several ways. Some are saying that they take Abuja as a state, not part of the 36 states, and so on. You can listen to these arguments and I wonder where they are coming from. At least, I went to school. I’m not a lawyer and I wished I was but I’m a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. The judiciary must also make sure it has all the documents, reads them, and dispenses the right judgment.



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