Given the momentum that had built up in the lead-up to the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s mandate as the authentic winner of the February 25 elections was pyrrhic or confirmed, it ultimately turned out to be much ado about nothing.
This is because the Chicago State University (CSU) certificate which the election petitioners alleged was forged by the ruling APC candidate for the 2023 presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which had been presented as a silver bullet of sorts, proved to be nothing but a farce.
The reason for this lies either in omission or commission by the attorneys of Wazirin Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, in the United States of America, USA who, according to Justice Inyang John Okoro, failed to exercise due diligence by not validating the deposition made by CSU registrar, Mr. Caleb Westberg, in the USA so that it could be considered valid evidence in Nigerian courts.
In the reckoning of Tinubu’s attorneys and as affirmed by the Supreme Court it needed to be signed or certified by the court that authorized it,but that did not happen.
In his announcement of the judgment on October 26, Justice Okoro, representing his six colleagues, namely Uwani Abba-Aji, Lawal Saulawa, Garba Ibrahim, Adamu Jairo, Tijani Abubakar, and Emmanuel Agim, maintained a restrained and respectful demeanor.
But that did not stop the eminent jurist from expressing his surprise at the negligence displayed by the senior members of the bar who were representing the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, the runner-up in the presidential contest. In his ruling, they had presented a rather inadequate document from the United States and wanted it admitted when it was clearly out of time to submit new evidence based on the provisions in the Electoral Act 2022. Here is how the learned jurist put it:” l wonder how the appellants planned to use the Chicago documents from Chicago university “
What’s even more concerning to Justice Okoro, was their unreasonable demands in their other pleas because many of their requests were time-barred, as they fell outside the timeframe specified by the 1999 Constitution and the 2022 Electoral Act for such claims to be considered by the apex court when they were not presented or considered at the lower court.
The knowledgeable jurist proceeded to delineate the legal challenges as follows:
Supreme Court section 22 cannot be activated after 180 days which elapsed on September 17. And the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits amendment of the pleas 21 days after the filling of a petition.
Initially, the Supreme Court faced a dilemma regarding how to convince Nigerians of its fairness and steadfastness in determining the legitimate winner of the 2023 presidential election.
This was due to the highly charged political atmosphere in Nigeria, saturated with insinuations, speculations, and outright disinformation, which had rendered the political landscape toxic, stifling, and volatile.
That stems from the fact that opposition parties and election deniers had engaged in potent psychological warfare, creating much tension such that any misstep or verbal slip could trigger a social crisis.
However, the remarkable transparency displayed by My Lordships in revealing the winner, along with the comprehensive explanation of their decision based on objective legal principles and a commitment to equitable justice, managed to quell the political turbulence that had been brewing for the past eight months since the presidential election took place on February 25.
Justice Okoro literally ended the anxiety that had gripped politically conscious Nigerians since the 25 February presidential polls which is eight (8) months ago this way:
“Atiku and Obi failed to prove that there was non compliance in the February 25,2023 presidential election…their witnesses were collation officers not polling agents.It is the agents that can attest to any anomaly in an election because they were the ones who witnessed election at polling units. The testaments of their witnesses were mere hearsay. The below court is right in its decision. The findings of the lower court can not be faulted “
The judge was so brutally frank, so clear and unambiguous in his pronouncements that there was no wriggle room for election deniers to twist the judgement.
The judgement of the Supreme Court this time is so transparent that it was unlike in the past when it got into trouble with Nigerians and attracted opprobrium to itself owing to verdicts in the past that were so opaque. Some of such are the decisions to award the governorship of Rivers state to Mr Rotimi Amaechi in 2007 when he did not campaign and his name was not on the ballot. Although the decision may be in accordance with the laws of our land, it was puzzling to most Nigerians because the Supreme Court failed to justify the legalese behind the decision. Equally perplexing was the award of the governorship of lmo state to incumbent governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma in 2020. That too was intriguing because the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC had placed him in the fourth position with three other contestants ahead of him. But relying on legal principles that defy logic, number four (4) became number one (1) with no explanation.
It was unsurprising that the two (2) referenced judgements became the butt of jokes in the political space. There were similar rulings by the Supreme Court in the current dispensation with the immediate past senate president Ahmed Lawan and current senate president Godswill Akpabio which generated public odium towards the Supreme Court and the benefactors of the rulings. Perhaps if the verdicts were explained in the way that the PEPT and Supreme Court decision to validate President Tinubu’s elections was done by adducing the legal principles and authorities relied on, the resentment could have been avoided. And that window is still open.
Arising from the above , through numerous media Interventions particularly in my article titled:”PEPT Verdict From Points Of View Of Emotions And Intimidation “published in this column on 19 September ,one has been in the forefront of imploring our courts, particularly the Supreme Court to explain to the masses how they arrive at their decisions because they deserve to know, more so because the court system which is the third arm of government, owe the masses that duty. It is in a situation where there is no clear explanations that the populace becomes vulnerable to exploitation by mischief makers. And that had been the case in the past, but currently not the situation because rigorous efforts were made by both the PEPT and Supreme Court to carry the masses along.
So, it is gratifying that the reason that we are currently experiencing calm after the storm over a bitterly contested presidential election is that the Supreme Court jurists heeded our humble advice by putting themselves through the rigor of explaining the granular details to anxious Nigerians, hence most of them have acquiesced with the verdict of the just concluded 2023 elections without further rancor.
One is never in a more challenging situation than when confronted with a dilemma where taking action leads to condemnation and inaction leads to the same fate. This implies that regardless of your actions, be it moving or not moving, you would face equal condemnation.
The assertion above is a consequence of an increasingly restless public that had been inundated with disinformation and misinformation from the opposing parties in the 2023 Nigerian presidential election struggle.
And it is the predicament that the justices of the Nigerian Supreme Court had found themselves in on the 26th of October, last Wednesday when they had to announce that they were prepared to give the verdict of the appeal filed by both Wazirin Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP, and Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the LP, against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling APC.
By way of putting things in context, it may be recalled that the Supreme Court served as the appeal court for the presidential election that took place on February 25, of which victory was on the 1st day of March awarded by the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as he was declared the winner of the presidential contest.
Thereafter the Court faced a dilemma stemming from the ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) on September 6 which affirmed INEC’s declaration of Asiwaju Tinubu as the president-elect against the contention and petition filed by the presidential candidates of the main opposition parties, the PDP, LP, and APM.
The five-man panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammami and comprising Steven Adah, Mondurat Bolaji-Yusuf, Moses Ago, and Abba Mohamed, ruled that the petitions lacked merit and upheld the victory of the APC candidate in the February 25 election.
Unsatisfied with this decision, the three candidates sought further adjudication by taking their appeal to the Supreme Court. Among numerous reasons, the PDP based its case on the necessity for the Supreme Court to consider new evidence.
This new evidence alleged that Mr. Tinubu falsely claimed to have attended Chicago State University, CSU, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America (USA), while in reality, according to his accusers he presented a forged certificate to that effect INEC, thereby violating the Electoral Act of 2022.
The case took place on Monday, October 23rd. Subsequently, the apex court reserved its judgment, which it did not disclose at that time. The court later provided notice for the judgment date on the 25th and it was to hold within 24 hours on the 26th.
Following this,many observers of the court proceedings speculated about when the verdict would be announced because they were mindful that November 6th was the deadline, as per the 60-day provision in the Electoral Act 2022, for the verdict on the presidential election appeal to be concluded since the PEPT judgement was given on the 6th of September.
The Supreme Court found itself in a dilemma due to the petitioners’ supporters filling the political landscape with all manners of claims. The election deniers were asserting that, apart from the evidence obtained through the court-compelled deposition by the CSU registrar, Mr. Caleb Westberg, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States also possessed an incriminating report on the APC candidate, President Tinubu. They further alleged that the FBI had been compelled by the Freedom of Information (FOI) rule to release this report to the public in October.
It was such an antithesis that the claim turned out to be mere hoopla. Instead, the reality is that the opposition, in collaboration with some activists, filed a lawsuit against the FBI in a US court to obtain reports on President Tinubu. And the court, on Tuesday, October 25, ruled against their request.
Prior to this, supporters of the opposition parties had been confidently claiming that the ‘bombshell’ FBI report, when combined with the CSU discovery and deposition, would enable them to remove President Tinubu from Aso Rock Villa and replace him with their candidate.
Therefore, if the Supreme Court were to deliver a verdict before the highly anticipated FBI report arrived, it might be perceived as influenced by President Tinubu.
In the event that the verdict is issued shortly after the much-anticipated FBI report, which has turned out to be a disappointment, the Supreme Court could still have been seen as under the influence of President Tinubu, particularly if it failed to consider the new evidence regarding the alleged forged certificate that had to be put in the crucible of truth through a court order leading to the deposition provided by CSU regarding President Tinubu’s academic records.
Typically,the political atmosphere in Nigeria is marked by an exceptionally high level of toxicity. This was vividly illustrated by a baseless accusation that then-president-elect Tinubu had clandestinely met with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, in London, UK. This accusation lacked any supporting evidence and was promptly refuted by both Asiwaju Tinubu and CJN Ariwoola.
Prior to placing their faith in a fictitious FBI report, the opposition had contended that the Supreme Court should not solely rely on technicalities that grant the judges the discretion to decide whether to admit new evidence or reject the evidence presented by the first runner-up petitioner.
Ordinarily, at the appellate level, litigants are not permitted to introduce new evidence after 21 days of filling . However, the Electoral Act of 2022 includes a provision that allows for the admission of new evidence under specific circumstances. But not when it is outside the 180 day when election litigation must be wrapped up and 21 days within which amendments of petitions can be accommodated which applied to the case a issue.
The opposition parties erudite attorneys had contended that the court should not rigidly enforce its rules, including technicalities like disallowing the introduction of new evidence. They argued that to do so and prevent them from presenting their substantial evidence would be unfair.
This was puzzling to me, as these same opposition parties lawyers had previously asserted that the reason they rejected the declaration of President Tinubu as winner was based on the claim that INEC had failed to follow its rules and processes such as passing the election result through BVAS and IReV as it had promised which incidentally is not in breach of any statute as it is not mandatory to do so,but failure to keep a promise which at best is a moral issue . It is unphantomable to me that the same lawyers were making the case for the Supreme Court not to follow its own rules, the provisions in the electoral Act 2022 and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended . It appeared to me like they were blowing hot and cold at the same time.
Having failed to persuade the PEPT panelists with their claim, which was centered on technicalities (BVAS and IReV) not being utilized, and as the eminent jurists concluded that their petition lacked merit, as the referenced technological
platforms are officially not collation tools, they had to resort to relying on another technicality which is that President Tinubu presented a forged certificate.
To have its way,the opposition appeared to have attempted to influence the judiciary by invoking the power of manipulating public sentiment through misinformation and disinformation, which they had weaponized.
It is as if they aimed to intimidate the judges by inciting public outrage against them, alleging that they relied excessively on technicalities when declaring that the petition lacked merit due to insufficient evidence supporting their claims of election rigging.
In my view, the opposition’s rejection or resistance to the use of technicalities is comparable to insisting that football match officials should not employ the new technology, known as Video Assistance Referee,VAR, to determine infractions such as penalties or goals during a tournament.
This strikes me as quite a good comparison because VAR has significantly enhanced the clarity of officiating in football games. Previously, football tournaments were marred by highly controversial rulings from referees, often leading to riots among spectators who disagreed with the officials’ decisions, resulting in violent confrontations and loss of lives.
By and large the introduction of VAR has effectively addressed the issue of human error by referees and linesmen. In the same manner observing the rules and regulations set out as the guardrails in the dispensation of Justice in society as contained statutes book is sacrosanct.
The key point being made here is that observing technicalities and adhering to the rules are crucial in any game, whether it’s in the realm of politics or football.
The Supreme Court must have taken into consideration the consequences of jettisoning its own rules and swaying to public opinion which is emotion driven.
So, why would anyone choose to employ the strategy of pressuring the Supreme Court through a meticulously orchestrated public uproar driven by the opposition, with the aim of compelling the apex court to deviate from the strict application of its own rules and regulations clearly expressed in the Electoral Act of 2022 when determining a matter as crucial as the presidency of Nigeria? Such a notion would perplex any rational individual.
It wasn’t until the day of the judgment, when Justice Inyang John Okoro explicitly pointed out that the petitioners’ legal team must have been well aware of the impossibility of having their requests granted, as it would have amounted to a violation of the rules outlined in the Electoral Act of 2022, that I realized the possibility that the petitioners may have been complicit in the psychological warfare waged in the media against the judiciary, particularly targeting the judges in both the appeal court and Supreme Court.
Having lost the February 25 presidential elections by receiving fewer votes than the winner, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the resort of the opposition PDP and its candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to a sudden claim that the APC flag bearer Tinubu submitted a forged academic certificate to INEC raised the question of whether or not they were relying on technicalities to deny the rightful winner of his victory.
In any case, the Supreme Court justices, in their wisdom, demonstrated that the appeal would lead to a regression to the pre-Electoral Act 2022 era, marked by endless litigation of election matters in courts for several years, thereby disrupting governance. This decision was based on the multiple legal hurdles outlined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, and the Electoral Act 2022 .
They succinctly articulated the contraventions in such a clear manner that it became readily apparent to everyone that the petitioners had spectacularly failed to meet the criteria required for the much-vaunted evidence from Chicago State University (CSU) to be admitted in the ongoing appellate case.
This situation is not unique, as all the other pleas according to the ruling also breached the regulations set forth in the Electoral Act of 2022, specifically regarding the 21-day and 180-day time frames for amending a petition and the conclusion of election petitions in court .
This rule, a refinement of the former electoral act, addressed the issue where, in the years following previous elections, most of those elected, including presidents, legislators, and governors, remained entangled in court cases, sometimes enduring throughout their four-year terms in political office.
At the conclusion of the 2023 election, there are valuable lessons to be gleaned. Firstly, the Electoral Act of 2022 recommends itself for further refinement. It should either mandate that election results must be processed through BVAS/IReV or clarify that these technological tools cannot replace the original Form EC 8 used for recording election results.
Secondly, the Electoral Act of 2022 has brought about significant improvements, notably the requirement that elections and related litigations must be concluded within 180 days.
However, a future enhancement to our country’s electoral process could be achieved by incorporating the condition that winners would only be sworn into office after the litigation is over which should be within the 180 days window for concluding all court cases.
Otherwise it could decide to extend the litigation window beyond the current 180 days to perhaps 210 days to give ample for the accommodation of both litigation and swearing into office of the ultimate winners . Basically this would mean that INEC-declared winners would not assume office until the extended litigation period is completed. It is one of the conditions that the opposition candidates, particularly LP vice presidential candidate, senator Datti Baba-Ahmed were clamoring for.
In the US, it take’s between 73 to 79 days from when a president is elected to when he is sworn into office on January 20 or 21 if 20 falls on a Sunday.
Thirdly, it’s noteworthy that leading countries in the world, such as the US, UK, and France amongst others , do not require minimum educational qualifications for their presidents, unlike our country where the minimum requirement is first school leaving certificate, it’s equivalent or even being deemed to be literate by the electoral umpire .
This makes it remarkable how the issue of a certificate has turned politically aware Nigerians into makeshift lawyers, with impromptu ‘courts’ sprouting up in various corners of our nation, including marketplaces, beneath bridges, motor parks, places of worship, and barbershops, all to pass judgment on the legitimacy of President Tinubu’s degree certificate from CSU.
It’s important to remember that the political landscape had remained relatively stable until the main opposition candidate, Wazirin Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, began to question the validity of President Tinubu’s credentials following his defeat in the polls, making an otherwise a pre-election matter a post-election development.
The PDP candidate had subsequently through a court process acquired a discovery and deposition from the CSU regarding the academic records and the authenticity, or lack thereof, of the certificate presented to INEC.
Keeping in mind that then ruling APC’s flag bearer, Bola Tinubu, had previously stated that the original copy went missing during the struggle to remove the military from political governance and return power to democracy advocates, with the ex Lagos state governor Tinubu leading the charge, it was surprising that the enquiry was not front loaded to save the nation the anguish and anxiety that we were subjected to while the legal battle in the US ragged on.
As President Tinubu’s lawyers had emphasized well before his announcement to run for the presidential contest last year, he had misplaced the original copy of his certificate during his persecution by the then-ruling military junta under the leadership of Gen. Sani Abacha,(1943-1998) who served as the military head of state in Nigeria, 1993-1998.
Consequently, he had obtained a replacement copy of his certificate which he had declared missing along with other personal belongings.
Incidentally,former lagos state governor Tinubu had accomplished all of this through an affidavit that he had previously submitted to a competent court of law several years before 2022 when he entered the race for Aso Rock Villa.
In response to candidate Asiwaju Tinubu’s assertion, Wazirin Atiku Abubakar refuted the claims by alleging that his certificate was forged, and he had not attended CSU.
After an extensive legal battle that extended from Nigeria to the United States, it became evident that the highly-touted deposition from the CSU registrar had not been properly registered in the United States, as it should have been, as such it did not meet the criteria for being accepted as admissible evidence in Nigeria.
This could be attributed to either negligence or a lack of coordination between the U.S. lawyers Ms Angela Liu representing the petitioner, and the Nigerian legal team, which comprised of some of Nigeria’s brightest legal minds.
Several popular aphorisms hold true in this context: “what it is,is what it is,” “practice makes perfect,” and “Rome was not built in a day.”
The fourth demand by the petitioners, which the Supreme Court dismissed, pertains to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Going by the ruling of the apex court, we now understand that the FCT is not politically unique in the way the LP and its candidate, Mr. Obi, had argued. They had contended that President Tinubu did not meet the criteria to be declared president because he did not secure a 2/3 majority of votes cast in the FCT which the LP won.
When they settle down to work, I firmly believe that the 10th National Assembly (NASS) will incorporate these rulings into the anticipated new rules governing elections in Nigeria , commonly referred to as the Electoral Act.
In conclusion, Nigeria is actively constructing its own democratic foundation through unwavering persistence and consistency. This endeavor resembles the building of Rome, where each brick represents a policy crafted based on our collective experience. The ultimate aim is to cultivate a robust democratic culture within a reasonable timeframe.
In simpler terms, we are diligently learning from our mistakes and embracing the lessons derived from rectifying past political errors and addressing observed shortcomings. As we navigate the intricate realm of politics, our societal landscape is gradually taking shape, inching closer towards the realization of an egalitarian society that we all aspire to create.
In its 24th consecutive year of practice since 1999, marking the return of multi-party democracy to our country, Nigeria’s political evolution is commendable. That is because Democracy in Nigeria is rapidly transitioning from being merely an event to becoming a deeply ingrained culture, following the military’s interference in politics in 1966 and usupation of political power over an extensive period,beginning a mere three years after gaining independence from British colonial rule.
Before 1999, a period that spans barely two and a half decades till date, military rule had become the norm in our nation. Now, as the intense political battle waged by the presidential candidates of the first and second runners-up, Wazirin Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Mr. Peter Obi of the LP, subsides, it is doubtless that there has been a positive side to the legal wrangling as it has enriched our political experience by deepening it in many respects.
Since the Supreme Court has had the final say, it is now time for our nation to heal.
It is quite commendable that, despite the prior exchange of vitriol and the resultant acrimony among supporters of the three main political parties in the race, which transformed what was traditionally a two-horse race in Nigeria into a three-horse race due to the unexpected success of the LP and its presidential flag bearer Mr Peter Obi, whose electoral fortunes were boosted by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s influence as the wind beneath the sail of the LP.
Although the polarizing political dogfight that defined the 2023 general elections campaign had created considerable tension in the country, however the verdict was delivered and accepted by the candidates and their supporters with equanimity and a spirit of sportsmanship.
This positive turn of events can largely be attributed to the adept manner in which the eminent jurists in the Supreme Court conducted the trial. They went above and beyond regular call of duty to rigorously explain their decisions based on points of law, making them comprehensible even to those not well-versed in legalese.
Justice Nyang John Okoro’s explanation in the judgment, which emphasized that ruling otherwise would reverse the electoral changes introduced by the Electoral Act of 2022, resonated with all the candidates, parties, and their supporters. This resonance is responsible for the relative peace and tranquility that have greeted the judgment. In any case most Nigerians have come to the realization that the failure of the PDP , LP or NNPP to achieve victory at the polls is not necessarily because lNEC rigged for APC as some had alleged or that the Appeal Court and Supreme Court judges might have been bribed by the ruling party and its presidential candidate Tinubu. Such assumptions have been proven to be pedantic and mainly shadow chasing.
The reality is that the PDP which is the only party that had the good chance of successfully challlenging the APC was the architect of its own misfortune as it was wracked by an internal schism that it failed to manage in the manner that the APC did not allow the cracks on the wall of the party degenerate into wide gulfs that could have led to its collapse. Bluntly put, PDP’s failure at the polls is a combination of multiple factors including the poor management of its internal crisis arising from jettisoning its presidential power rotation formula that favored an lgbo candidate, but the ticket was given to another Hausa/Fulani as flag bearer after president Buhari’s reign which did not seat well with some PDP faithfuls and a pitfall which APC cleverly avoided. Also, Pussy-footing with the choice of its vice presidential candidate which did not truly balance the ethnic calculus of the nation and the inability of the leadership to assuage the anger of the five (5) aggrieved PDP governors who remained in the party with the sole mission to destroy it even after its splintering into three PDP, LP and NNPP had left hemorrhaging supporters profusely.
The party had enough time to mend the cracks during the run up to the general elections last year, but it failed to do so.
Consequently, there was a manifestation at the polls of the wise crack: A house divided cannot stand”.
It is such an irony that the leader of the main opposition PDP, former vice president Atiku Abubakar was fondly referred to as the UNIFIER by his supporters, whereas in reality the party was in total disunity as it was being dismembered by the actions and inactions of its leadership.
And the former president of Nigeria on the platform of the PDP, 1999-2007 Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who had in anger publicly torn his membership card of PDP signifying and symbolizing his parting of ways with the party that gave him the opportunity to be president of Nigeria twice (1999-2007) is manifestly the chief architect and prime culprit of the demise of PDP and her presidential candidate, Wazirin Atiku Abubakar at the polls. The assertion above is underscored by the fact that he is the wind beneath the sail of LP that took away most of PDP’s in the south-east, and south -south, while it also gave the NNPP the impetus to deny the main opposition PDP of votes in north-west as the new party funded by another PDP alumni garnered over one million votes in that axis that should have been in PDP’s kitty.
Deservingly, President Tinubu is currently riding the wave of his triumph, as evidenced by a trending video clip on social media. In the video, he can be seen quipping to his staff, including his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelali, who was present in his Aso Rock Villa office, that their jobs are now guaranteed following the Supreme Court victory for him.
Despite the jubilation, the administration must be mindful of the extensive work that still needs to be accomplished. As such, it must not indulge excessively in celebrating this victory.
Instead, President Tinubu should endeavor to justify his victory with further positive policy actions aimed at relieving the substantial burden currently being borne by countless Nigerians who have been identified in a recent government authorized research /study as multi-dimensionally impoverished. Although it is a situation inherited by the incumbent administration from its predecessor, former President Mohammadu Buhari (2015–2023), and exacerbated by president Tinubu’s twin policies of subsidies removal on petrol pump price and the naira exchange rate with foreign currencies, Mr President must do all he can to pull Nigerians out of the current unprecedented misery by harnessing all the resources available as well as inviting the opposition parties to join him in the arduous task of nation building. And commendably he seems to already be on that mission as can be gleaned from his victory speech: “We are all members of one household, and this moment demands that we continue to work and build our country together”
It is in that spirit that one expects that the president would redouble efforts to ease the burden on the masses which he has already commenced with direct cash payments to the poorest of the poor which he has increased the amount to be disbursed from N8,000 that was initially earmarked to N25,000.
Another imminent development that could significantly reduce the hardship being endured by the masses is the anticipated income from the proposed securitization of the federal government’s investment in the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) with which Mr Wale Edun, finance and coordinating minister of the economy has baited the breathe of Nigerians by promising during a recent parley with the media that the funds to be in flowed into the treasury shortly would be applied in reflating our ailing economy. For the reason of clarity, the NLNG which is a natural gas company is a joint venture, with our country holding a 49% equity stake and international oil companies owning the controlling 51% equity.
Throughout the years, NLNG has proven to be a lucrative asset for our country. Its success can be attributed to its management’s independence from government interference, in stark contrast to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC Ltd. The latter has been plagued by corruption and inefficiency, primarily due to the bureaucratic nature of its government involvement, rendering it a breeding ground for financial misconduct.
It is expected that the $7 billion to be sourced from the NLNG and the $3 billion loan from Qatar, making up the promised $10 billion that Mr. Edun pledged to inject into the economy to alleviate the pressure on the naira/dollar exchange rate, which has spurred galloping inflation, will come into fruition in the nearest future.
Should this transpire, on an optimistic note, Nigerians will soon find relief as they patiently await the renewed hope that President Tinubu pledged during his political campaign and has continuously vowed to fulfill. This hope, which the electorate has been waiting since they trooped to the polling booths to vote for him eight months ago, should at this point in time be within their reach. So, President Tinubu’ must ride the wave of the current affirmation of his victory at the polls and validation of his mandate by the apex court of our land to do more to lead more Nigerians into prosperity and justify the confidence reposed in him.