Conceding of defeat positive development for Nigeria’s democracy — NBA, others

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Lagos – Some lawyers in Lagos on Tuesday lauded conceding of defeat by politicians in the recently conducted general elections, describing the trend as a positive development for Nigeria’s .

The lawyers, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), hailed the decision of some of the politicians to shun the Elections Petitions Tribunal.

NAN reports that President Goodluck Jonathan set the pace when he called the President-Elect, Gen. , to concede and congratulate him on his victory at the Presidential Election.

Mr Dele Adesina (SAN), a former General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said there was relative across the country after the elections.

Adesina said: “Whatever the inadequacies, people are and willing to overlook them and I think that is very significant for political development.
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“Let me say that conceding of defeat is a good and welcome development. Election petitions are usually fraught with a lot of acrimony and enmity.

“Elections are like sports and people have to act in the spirit of sportsmanship.

“Once you lose, there is always another time and so people readily conceding defeat is a positive development on not just the electoral process but also on our political development’’.

He said that in the past, some persons had fought election petitions for over three years which had a lot of disadvantages.

“The person sitting on the seat who is being challenged has no concentrated attention to govern because he does not know what will happen tomorrow and the electorates are not sure of what will become of their mandate.

“So, generally, it affects governance but with the kind of congratulatory messages we are reading about and hearing about, it gladdens ones heart,’’ Adesina said.

According to him, sovereignty belongs to the people and sovereignty resides with the people and not with the court.

Also speaking, Mr Yinka Farounbi, the Chairman, NBA, Ikeja branch, said the issue of election should not be settled in the courtroom but on the field.

Farounbi said: “ The trend we are having now is strange to us, but that is how it ought to be naturally.

“The reason we are having it now is that we have seen that the elections were transparent to an extent.

“So, that is why we are seeing the congratulatory messages even before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declares the official result.

“It is telling us that we have arrived and are marching forward and I pray that the trend will continue’’.

According to him, the decision of some contestants not to approach the Election Petitions Tribunal will not affect lawyers negatively.

He said: “Don’t say because they are not running to tribunal now that it will affect us. It will not.

“Let me tell you, even lawyers are not happy that issues degenerate to that level because it usually draws back the system and creates acrimony.

“We are happier with the trend because there are other things we can do without appearing before the tribunal for election matters’’.

On his part, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), said the nation’s democracy was approaching maturity.

“For somebody to concede defeat in an election, the person must first of all have the feeling that he was defeated fair and square.

“That means the process that led to the loss was credible and transparent.

“With that trend, you can see that our democracy has started growing.

“I am pleading for further reforms so that in future elections, the candidates will not have any option than to congratulate the winners,’’ Mummuni said. (NAN)