As reactions continue to trail the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal judgement in favour of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former Senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District, Alex Usman Kadiri has urged critics of the judgement to leave the five justices out of their dashed expectations.

He said the justices were not to blame, but the system, describing as awkward the swearing in of political office holders before their cases are decided in court.

The former lawmaker in the upper legislative Chamber between 1999 to 2003 while speaking journalists in Abuja posited that the perceived compromise by the Honourable justices of the Court of Appeal in the judgement were out of place as “the Nigerian justice system is structured in such a way that the cart is put before the horse whereby the winner of an election is sworn in before the election petition cases are determined.”

“I have no confidence in what the tribunals have done, not because I believe in the theory that they were bribed, since I have no proof, but the truth is that the judges were put in a very perplex situation where they now have to judge and remove a sitting President or a sitting governor.

“Like in Kenya where Uhuru Kenyatta can be removed by a tribunal, Nigerians are not that honest.

“Tinubu was declared winner, he was sworn in, and moved into the presidential villa. He has appointed service chiefs, he has nominated the ministers, they have been screened by the Senate and have been sworn in, then you assemble five judges to see whether or not he ought to be president? We are asking for too much; why are we pretending?”

He advised the National Assembly to amend the Constitution and the Electoral Law in a manner that all election cases must be exhaustively adjudicated before the winner is sworn into office.

“Nobody must be put in a situation where he will have the upper hand in determining the outcome of any election petition tribunal.

“The man you are discussing has already been sworn in and he has taken the oath of office. He has started making contacts with world leaders, he had spoken to Joe Biden, spoken to many western World leaders, spoken to all African leaders and he has even been made chairman of ECOWAS and was threatening to take war to Niger and then you put five judges there that his election was fraudulent and therefore he is going to be removed?

“So, we are expecting too much from these judges. All cases about election should be terminated, all the final matters about the elections should be fully settled before any person is sworn in to any office at any level. That is when we will know whether the judges are independent or not, whether they are corrupt or not.

“The way it is today, whatever they do, if really Tinubu is the true winner and the judges say Tinubu is the winner they would be accused of taking a bribe, no matter what.”

The elder statesman also took a swipe at some lawyers “who are at the tribunal in a case as important as a Presidential Election petition, yet left loopholes, the way the judges were pointing out, it is a shame.

“Now we have almost 100 senior advocates in court. If all these loopholes were there, why did they put Nigerians through the expectation of getting a verdict different from what they got?”

On the hardship being presently experienced by Nigerians, he said:

“I have said it that every result of every election has repercussions and implications.

“If you elect idiots, you will end up getting idiotic senators, members of the House of Reps, State Assembly, councillors and chairman of local government councils

“If you elect intellectuals based on what they know and what they are likely to contribute to the system, you will get an intelligent legislature and executive.

“But the situation in our country today where the leadership recruitment method is bad and faulty, we will continue to be backward as we are now.

“I was in Botswana about four years ago for a while and I studied their system. They pay no fees, and get their children into school. They are given uniforms. Their boys and girls go to Europe but as soon as they finish their studies, they return to the country because there is nothing attractive in Europe or America or the UK for them to hang there.

“That is not the situation in our country. Why can’t we as a nation copy a tiny country like Botswana at the edge of South Africa here. Why is it difficult for us to get one honest leader that we can all defer to his leadership?”

He blamed the legislative arm of government for not living up to expectations.

“The last Senate in their attempt to please the executive passed the electoral law in a manner that even the senators denied themselves of the right to vote at primaries.

“I did not believe that 109 senators would be in a room debating and not one of them could realise that the law they were passing, they were excluded, about 360 members of the House of Reps not one noticed that the law they were passing excluded them from participation.

“It is a shame and that was how the law was passed and implemented. They were all sitting at the conventions like ghosts because they did not know what was going on.

“Their election having taken place, my worry is even more. All the fellows who came out through the crooked routes to become candidates of course fought to win the election and when they won they asked their opponents to go to the courts.

“Some went to the tribunal and had their elections upturned, some of them had their petitions approved, but why do we have to even go to the tribunal if things were done properly?”

He lamented that in 21st century Nigeria, election materials will not come on time on election day despite all the money invested in the electoral process.

“Late arrival of electoral materials, non-arrival, police brutality, issue of thugs hired by the strongman who wants to win election at all costs and you are asked to go to the tribunal to fight your case, what case? What proof?

“Are you going to take the photo of a thug shooting at a voter to the tribunal before a tribunal can believe that you have proved a case, what case are you proving?

“So I think the National Assembly should go back, put their tongues in their cheeks and review the Electoral law in such a way that all those who ought to participate in the primaries are included.

“Secondly, INEC hasn’t told us why they did so badly in the 2023 general election. They did not complain of funds because I think Buhari gave them more money than they ever asked. So what happened?

“The question is as an adult I sat and saw the way the conventions of the parties took place in Abuja here, it was a disgraceful jamboree. Nigerians were being paid dollars at the convention to vote for particular candidates.

“Those who do not have enough dollars lost out. So our conventions were dollarised in a country where we use the Naira and the government looked the other way.

“I saw through this mess and I was an eyewitness to all the rubbish. It was he who paid more that got the ticket of all the parties except people like Kwankwaso and his NNPP and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.

“But for the APC and PDP it was a cash and carry matter, it was he who paid more that got the votes.”

On the issue of marginalisation, he accused the three major ethnic nationalities of Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba for decimating the minorities, especially in the middle belt.

According to him, “they have monopolised the power since the time of creation from Balewa to Obasanjo to Aguiyi Ironsi to Muritala, Buhari, Babangida, Abdusalami and all the rest, Shagari, Yaradua and now Shettima.

“Where is the position for the Igala man here? It means that I can never be president of my country by virtue of where I came from.

“Look at the US from where we copied their democracy, Joe Biden is from Delaway, one of the smallest states in the US. He is bidding for a second term. Do you envisage the situation in this country the way we are today when an Igala man or Birom man will aspire to be President of Nigeria?

“Let us be honest to ourselves, there is no way except through a military coup when the minority will seize power and subdue all the other soldiers and take power for some few months and then ECOWAS will come up and start protesting against his leadership.

“So the idea that I am cut off from the possibility of governing my country or my state as the case may be did not go down with me at all.

“It is a recipe for violence. I looked right and left, forwards and backwards, I cannot see any way an Igala like me will become the President under the present situation.”