Amidst eager anticipation of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal’s verdict, Nigerians find themselves embroiled in an array of controversies stemming from various sources.
Both Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) are presently in court aiming to overturn the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the All Progressives Congress.
After receiving final statements from all parties involved, the PEPT has adjourned the case for judgment, with the date to be communicated.
The events leading up to the culmination of arguments at the tribunal have brought to light a succession of revelations and unsettling developments.
These unfolding issues have sparked heightened political awareness and engagement among Nigerians, including those previously disinterested in the political process.
Consequently, the tribunal’s matters have riveted Nigerians, intensifying their concerns and expectations with each passing day.
In response to the mounting tension and unease, certain Nigerians launched a campaign titled “All Eyes on the Judiciary.”
Initially trending on social media, the “All Eyes on the Judiciary” campaign soon extended its influence by placing billboards bearing the phrase in major cities, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The intention behind these billboards is to consistently remind the judges that Nigerians demand nothing but justice. These billboards serve as a constant prompt for the judges to remain resolute and steadfast, delivering a just judgment devoid of bias or intimidation.
Nonetheless, the ruling All Progressives Congress-led federal government reacted negatively, issuing an order for the complete removal of such billboards through a governmental agency. This decision was attributed to the billboards’ alleged attempt to blackmail the presidential election petition tribunal.
This directive came from the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), which was also instructed to penalize those responsible for the billboards.
Subsequently, the council disbanded the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP), a regulatory body within the agency responsible for ensuring advertisements adhere to legal standards and ethical codes. The council also suspended the Director and Deputy Director of ASP due to perceived negligence in executing their duties as advertising gatekeepers.
In a statement, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the Director-General of ARCON, announced the council’s intention to investigate the circumstances leading to the approval of the controversial advert and the violation of vetting guidelines.
Fadolapo stated, “The advertisement is controversial and capable of instigating public unrest and breach of public peace. It is considered as blackmail against the Nigerian Judiciary, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, and particularly the Honourable Justices of the Tribunal…”
This action by the government has sparked diverse reactions. While some believe the government has something to hide, others view the billboards as a threat and an act of blackmail against the judiciary.
Critics argue that this move carries undertones of authoritarianism and dictatorship that should be resisted.
Among those challenging the government’s actions is Phrank Shaibu, the Special Assistant on Public Communications to Atiku Abubakar. He perceives these actions as evidence of President Tinubu’s authoritarian tendencies and an assault on freedom of speech.
Shaibu contends that the billboards simply encourage vigilance on the judiciary, a vital aspect of social justice. He emphasizes that their message of “All Eyes on the Judiciary” is not a threat but an essential part of accountability.
Human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong supports this viewpoint, asserting that the billboards’ message does not incite unrest and criticizing the government for stifling freedom of expression.
In response to the government’s actions, the sponsors of the billboards assert their right to free speech and insist that their message is not blackmail. They maintain that Nigerians have a constitutional duty to hold government officials accountable.
Nevertheless, labor activist Chief Frank Kokori supports the government’s stance, asserting that such billboards amount to blackmail against the judiciary, a sacred institution.
Kokori contends that the government’s actions align with protecting the sanctity of the judiciary and preventing potential abuses against it.
As the debate rages on, Nigerians continue to grapple with the delicate balance between freedom of expression, accountability, and the responsibilities of a just judiciary.
The provided information is intended for general awareness and may not be entirely accurate or up-to-date. The post disclaims any warranties regarding the completeness, accuracy, or reliability of the content, services, or graphics on the website. It advises caution when using the information for any purpose.