By Musa Adamu and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has urged Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of love, fairness, selfless service, and commitment to public good as exemplified by Christ in order to ensure hitch-free conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Ekweremadu gave the charges in his goodwill message to Nigerians at Christmas, explaining that the National Assembly had amended the Constitution to quicken the dispensation of justice in pre-election disputes.
He said: “The forthcoming general election is critical for the survival and deepening of democracy in Nigeria. So, I believe that embracing the christlike virtues of love, peace, fairness, and selfless service to fatherland is key to eschewing the desperation and pursuit of narrow interests that fuel vote-buying, intimidation, and other electoral manipulations that in turn trigger electoral violence.
“Slow pace of justice delivery has been an incentive for ills. Therefore, just as we amended the Constitution in 2010 to prescribe a timeframe for the conclusion of election petitions, the current National Assembly has further amended Section 285 of the Constitution to set timeframes for the conclusion of pre-election disputes such as issues arising from primary elections. The President has also assented to this particular amendment to make it part of our Constitution.
“Going forward, every pre-election matter must be filed not later than 14 days from the date of the occurrence of the event, decision or action complained of in the suit.
“Judgement shall be delivered within 180 days of institution of the suit. An appeal from a pre-election matter shall be heard and disposed within 60 days.
“That way, every aggrieved persons can rest assured that they don’t have to wait forever again to get justice. Every wrong done before or during elections will now be remedied speedily.”
Ekweremadu further wished Nigerians a merry Christmas, urging them to also continue to pray for the country.