June 19, 2024

As Nigeria’s judiciary gears up to render its verdict on the 2023 presidential election, Wale Igbintade highlights the unprecedented strain the third arm of government is currently experiencing.

The eagerly anticipated decision of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPT) has prompted recent government actions aimed at alleviating the mounting pressure on the judiciary. The dissolution of the Secretariat of the Advertising Standard Panel (ASP) is one such move, driven by the government’s concerns about billboards bearing the title “All Eyes on The Judiciary,” which it deemed a form of judicial coercion.

These billboards, displaying the hashtag “All Eyes on The Judiciary,” appeared prominently on major roads in Abuja last week. They were orchestrated by a group called Diaspora’s for Good Governance, coinciding with the upcoming verdict of the presidential election tribunal challenging President Bola Tinubu’s electoral victory.

The intention behind these billboards was clear—to exert influence on the esteemed judges presiding over the panel, with the aim of ensuring their impartiality.

The ASP, a component of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), is tasked with ensuring that advertisements adhere to national laws and ethical codes within the advertising field.

Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Director-General of ARCON, confirmed the dissolution of the panel in response to this incident. He announced the suspension of the Director and Deputy Director in charge of regulations, pending an investigation. The billboards were also ordered to be taken down.

Fadolapo stated, “The Advertising Standards Panel of the Council also erred in the approval of one of the concepts as the advertisement failed to vet guidelines on the following grounds: The cause forming the central theme of the campaign in the advertisement is a matter pending before the Presidential Election Petition Court.”

Furthermore, the general elections of 2023, with their outcomes declared, directed aggrieved parties to seek legal recourse. With the battle for the elections’ validity shifted to various Election Petitions Tribunals, public scrutiny of the judiciary has intensified. There is a collective insistence that justice be served without prejudice.

Despite the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enhance the credibility of election outcomes, the presidential and gubernatorial elections continued to be disputed. Opposition parties alleged that INEC disregarded BVAS rules, generating controversial results that became subjects of legal proceedings.

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has often invalidated governorship elections but has never altered the outcome of a presidential election. This raises questions about whether the irregularities causing gubernatorial election annulments were not also present on a larger scale in presidential elections.

As the pressure on the judiciary persists, various individuals and groups have taken different approaches to influence its decisions. From subtle appeals to direct messaging, the focus is on ensuring that the judiciary delivers justice transparently and impartially.

However, these efforts have been met with criticism, with some arguing that they undermine the independence of the judiciary. One ministerial nominee condemned these attempts, stating that any endeavor to compromise the judiciary could lead to national unrest.

In the midst of these developments, Nigeria’s judiciary stands at a crossroads, facing intense scrutiny and the imperative to uphold justice, credibility, and the rule of law.

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rephrase: The Kaduna State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) Hassan Taura said that the Federal Government has approved an upward review of feeding allowance for corp members. The coordinator who made this known while fielding questions from journalists, shortly after the opening/swearing-in ceremony for the 2023 batch B stream 2 orientation course did not specifically disclose which of the corps member’s allowances was reviewed. When asked what plans were made for the corps members in terms of welfare while in the orientation camp and beyond, he said “first, the federal government in its wisdom has reviewed the feeding allowance of the corps members.” The coordinator who promised to prioritize corps members’ welfare in his state said, “I told them (corps members) I’m going to make their food of good quality and quantity. “I told them I will ensure that they won’t spend their money in the camp market. This is the promise I made to them and I’m fulfilling them. “I’m going to feed them in such a way that they will not spend from their pocket. They don’t even have the money, so it is our duty to ensure we feed them well. On arrangements by the state government and private organizations to ensure timely payment of stipends of corps members posted to them for Primary Assigment, he said, “In line with our operations of the monthly stipend we pay corp members, we expect their employers, be it state goverment, private organization we post corps members to pay them some little stipend in addition to what Federal Goverment sends them. This employers should be able to fulfill that.”ChatGPT

Hassan Taura, the Kaduna State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has revealed that the Federal Government has granted approval for an increase in the feeding allowance provided to corps members.

Taura shared this information during an interaction with journalists shortly after the commencement and swearing-in ceremony for the 2023 Batch B Stream 2 orientation course. However, he did not specify which specific allowance for corps members had been adjusted.

When inquired about plans for the welfare of the corps members during their time in the orientation camp and beyond, he stated, “Firstly, the federal government, with its discernment, has augmented the feeding allowance provided to the corps members.”

As the coordinator expressed his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of corps members in his state, he reiterated his commitment to ensuring the provision of quality and sufficient meals. He assured, “I assured them that I would enhance the quality and quantity of their meals. My pledge was that they would not need to spend their funds in the camp market. This is a commitment I’ve made, and I’m fulfilling it. I will ensure they receive nourishing meals without incurring personal expenses, as they lack the means to do so.”

Addressing arrangements made by the state government and private organizations to ensure punctual stipend payments to corps members assigned to them for their primary assignments, Taura explained, “In line with our established practice of disbursing monthly stipends to corps members, we anticipate that their employers—whether state governments or private entities we’ve assigned them to—will provide a supplementary stipend in addition to the amount sent by the Federal Government. These employers should be able to fulfill this responsibility.”

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