Tonye Cole, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state, has reacted to the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal’s ruling.
The tribunal, on Wednesday, threw out cases by Peter Obi (Labour Party) and Atiku Abubakar (PDP) against President Bola Tinubu’s election.
Speaking in Lagos, Cole said cases of electoral manipulation can be difficult to prove in court.
Cole described the current situation where election matters are decided by the courts rather than ballots as unfortunate.
“All those things that seem important on that (election) day have very little relevance in court,” Cole said.
“As a result, by the time you get to court to defend what happened, the things you thought were important hold no water. And so, they throw out most of what you brought as evidence. There is so much emotion because of what happened on election day: you hear, ‘we saw what happened; why is the court looking the other way?’”
The APC went further to state that: “The problem is that we have not fully understood the art of getting the right evidence, or the right process on election day, which can be used in court. That has been a major lesson. I’ve watched it unfold. As a result of that, a lot of the outcome of the judicial process has not been surprising. It’s been annoying, but not surprising. Annoying because those who know the politics know where the loopholes are. They know exactly what will not hold in court. And so, with impunity, they do whatever they like, knowing that by the time you go to court, it will be difficult to prove anything.
“There are a lot of complaints in Nigeria of electoral violence, rigging, ballot box snatching; all those kinds of things. On the day of an election, you will see a lot of WhatsApp pictures and messages flying all over.
“When you get to court to present evidence that these things happened, which were widely reported either on social media or on mainstream media — if the pictures you are showing do not have a date stamp, location stamp, plus almost a voiceover as to where it happened, identifying specific people and what happened there — then it’s inadmissible,” he added.