Catholic coalition urges 2023 presidential tribunal to weather external influence
By Bridget Ikyado
A coalition of Catholic organisations has urged the 2023 Presidential Tribunal to be guided by fairness and truth in delivering judgment on the 2023 presidential electoral petitions.
The coalition which included Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Catholics in Politics and Business Leaders Forum and Catholic Action Nigeria, made the call in a joint news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Chairman, Catholics in Politics and Business Leaders Forum, Prof. Pat Utomi who spoke on behalf of the collation said that all eyes are on the judiciary.
“As representatives of the Catholics in politics, industrialists, and entire Laity of the Catholic Church, we are here to remind the honourable Justices that all eyes are on the judiciary, and that the nation eagerly awaits their judgement on the presidential election petitions before them.
“We implore the Honourable Justices to consider their role in safeguarding our democracy and ensure that the verdict is not tainted by any external influences or personal biases.
“We emphasise the need for justice to prevail without fear or favour, guided solely by the principles of fairness and the truth.
“We unequivocally state that Nigerians expect justice to be served in a manner that reflects the will of the people and that the honourable Justices should acknowledge the weight of their responsibilities and understand that their decision will shape the course of our nation’s future,” he said.
Utomi said that coalition firmly believe that there will not be anarchy, and heaven will not fall when a just and transparent judgement is served.
The professor said that the coalition strongly condemn any form of threats against the Justices in an attempt to influence the judgement.
According to him, we want to send a clear message to politicians that no amount of threats or intimidations will weaken the determination of Nigerians across ethnic and religious backgrounds who are united in their pursuit of a new Nigeria.
“We urge all politicians to respect the integrity and independence of the judiciary and allow justice to be served without intervention.
“We urge the Honourable Justices to recognise the historical significance of their decision as a fair and just judgement will emancipate Nigeria from its present hardships and the burden of bad fiscal and monetary policies,” he said.
On the hardships and economic challenges currently faced by the common Nigerians, Utomi urge politicians across party lines to put aside partisan differences; collaborate in the best interests of the Nigerian people.
He urged political leaders to take swift and decisive action to address the prevailing economic crisis.
Utomi said that the coalition strongly condemn “the holiday prayers in monetary values sent by the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio to the inbox of the federal legislators.”
According to him, in a country where millions of our fellow citizens struggle to provide basic necessities for their families, it is distressing to witness our representatives indulging in such extravagant practices.
On the military junta in Niger Republic, Utomi said that the coalition is calling on the ECOWAS Heads of State to lend an attentive ear to the multitude of voices that have expressed opposition to military intervention.
He urged the ECOWAS Heads of State to recognise the importance of engaging with stakeholders who advocate for peace, reconciliation, and respect for the will of the Nigerien people.
“We call upon the ECOWAS Heads of State to leverage the diplomatic avenues at their disposal and engage in dialogue, mediation and negotiation to find a way forward that is acceptable and truly represents the wishes of the Nigerien citizens.
“Now is the time for them to demonstrate their commitment to the values of regional cooperation, inclusivity, and respect for sovereignty,” he said. (NAN)