Following the conclusion of the 2023 general elections amidst lingering issues that claim the process was filled with irregularities and the petition filed against the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Labour Party Candidate, Peter Obi, in an effort to retrieve the mandate it claims was stolen from him, Olisa Agbakoba, a Nigerian human rights activist and former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, recently shared his thoughts on the subject, stating that a petitioner does not necessarily need to wait for 180 days as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution and the Judiciary before getting justice for an election petition.
The lawyer made this known while speaking during an interview with the Arise News, stating that, if the LP presidential candidate does not want the President-elect to be sworn in on May 29, he shouldn’t wait for 180 days but to file an application for a summary judgment.
According to him, “nothing stops justice from prevailing, though 180 days is the timeline given, but he can go, even on the first day.” If Peter Obi is pushing his petition and does not want the president-elect to be inaugurated, why does he have to wait for 180 days? If he files a petition, he ought to put in applications for a summary judgment.
For instance, Kenya has a 30-day timeline for an election petition, but nobody waits till the end of that 30 days. So, once you file your petition, you should be ready to make a pre-entry strike. If I were the one who filed a petition on Monday, by Tuesday I’d file all my papers and request the court determine certain jurisdictional questions. The fact that I have 180 days does not mean I have to wait until the 179th day before taking action.”