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PAACA: Attacks on INEC, judiciary over 2023 polls pose danger to democracy

PAACA: Attacks on INEC, judiciary over 2023 polls pose danger to democracy
November 28
18:08 2023

Ezenwa Nwagwu, chairman of Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), a civil society organisation (CSO), says incessant attacks against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the judiciary over the outcome of the 2023  elections and tribunal judgements “do not portend well for the country’s democracy”.

Nwagwu spoke on Monday when he addressed journalists in Abuja.

Nwagwu said after the exercise, the narratives shifted from not just criticizing the outcome, but to delegitimising the elections and the institutions involved.

“A lot of people are done with INEC and have moved to the judiciary,” he said.

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“Now it is about the judiciary is a scam, it is corrupt. That is for those who the judgments didn’t favour. Those the judgments favoured say it is the last hope of the common man.

“But there’s a difference between criticism and attack. An attack is meant to actually bring those institutions into opprobrium, into a place where a lot of people do not have confidence in INEC, do not have confidence in judiciary.

“And most of the people who do this, do it not out of patriotism, not out of the need for improvements, but a veiled attack on democracy in my view.”

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Nwagwu added that  “it is important that those of us who invest in confidence building for these institutions remain steadfast because democracy cannot be compared in any way to any form of dictatorship”.

“The fact that this meeting can hold is because we have a democracy. If it was military rule, we will be called disgruntled elements, we will be called all kinds of names,” he said.

“And then people say oh, what you guys do is that you are supporting INEC, you are supporting these institutions. And I say yes. if I don’t support these institutions, who will?

“The current attack on the judiciary, the excoriation of INEC in my view, does not portend well for the consolidation of democracy.

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“And we must do all that is necessary to make sure that there are challenges, we deal with those challenges with the aim of improving, not to decimate and destroy confidence in those institutions.

“There is no other place to go to. Judiciary is a part of the electoral process. It is not an invention outside of the electoral process.

“By the time you have finished all that you have done, the judiciary will have to sit back and say did you follow the constitution. Did you follow the Electoral Act. Did you follow the INEC guidelines?

“If you did not follow it is not an emotional issue. It is not whether you like it or you don’t like it, they will have to make a call.”

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